Your Beginners Guide to PostgreSQL

Is your business or organization looking for a database management tool to keep your files, apps, websites, and software all synced?
If you’ve been looking for this kind of solution, then there is a good chance you have heard of PostgreSQL. But you are probably still wondering exactly what it is and how it works. 
Well, that’s what we’re here to help you out. PostgreSQL may seem like a bit of a complicated subject, but it doesn’t need to be. 
We are going to take you through the background of PostgreSQL, how it works, and what its primary uses are. 

What Is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is what is called a relational database management system (also referred to by the acronym DBMS). A DBMS is basically a piece of software that is designed to store data and allow it to be accessed and managed easily. 
If you are operating an organization or business that uses data in the form of files, software, and apps, you can use PostgreSQL to fully integrate all of that information to create a complete system. This setup is the opposite of manually storing data across different locations and servers. 
What it does is improve efficiency and performance for digital performance. It also makes it easier to backup data and guard against breaches. 
This is particularly important if you are worried about data law compliance (which you should be). These days, different governments and jurisdictions have implemented harsh penalties for not storing and retaining data properly. 
This is mostly the case if you receive data from customers or other people who use your digital interfaces. Having a solid system in place to organize this data and keep it secure is essential.

How Do I Access PostgreSQL?

One of the best things about PostgreSQL is that it is what’s called open-source software. What this means is that it has been developed for use by anyone for free. Yes, that means you can install PostgreSQL for free!
The reason for this is that PostgreSQL has actually been developed collaboratively by a lot of intelligent people from all across the globe for about 20 years. With lots of people contributing little bits of work, it’s made it possible to keep the software open for everyone. 
The easiest way to get PostgreSQL is to go to postgresql.org and find the file you need. The PostgreSQL download you need will depend on your operating system (i.e. Mac, Windows, etc.). 
One of the major benefits of PostgreSQL is that it is available for virtually all interfaces, so you won’t have an issue with compatibility. 

What Are the Main Features of PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is not a one-trick pony. Its list of features covers a lot of functions that you will need to run a good digital operation. Here are the main ones.

Large Array of Data Types

PostgreSQL is quite remarkable in the full range of data types it is capable of storing and integrating. It covers primitive data types including integer, numeric, string, and boolean. But it also covers a range of structured and geometric data types, while also allowing for customization of data.

Data Security and Recovery

PostgreSQL includes a number of features that make it easy to backup data and restore it quickly in case of disaster. These include data replication features as well as point-in-time recovery options.

Performance and Extensibility

Since it has been developed by so many people over so many years, the number of performance features is pretty exhaustive. It covers all of the major features you would expect from a DBMS, but it also includes key extensibility functions. 
This means you can integrate your database into other databases and software. Also, PostgreSQL comes with a number of custom-made extensions like geo-location API compatibility. 

Security

You can keep your data system locked tight with a range of authentication measures. You can also make it so that different people in your organization have different levels of clearance. 
This is what integrated data management is all about—a total system for storage and management, not just an empty storage space.

Which Languages Does PostgreSQL Support?

A further feature that makes PostgreSQL valuable is its compatibility across so many different coding languages. The essential languages it supports include:

  • PHP
  • C
  • C+
  • Python
  • C#
  • Java
  • Perl
  • Ruby
  • Tcl
  • Go
  • JavaScript (Node.js)

There are a lot of PostgreSQL tutorials available to help you integrate your system using your desired coding language. For example, you can check out this tutorial for setting up PostgreSQL with PHP Language

PostgreSQL vs MySQL

You might have heard of MySQL and be wondering why to choose PostgreSQL over it. The essential difference between the two is that MySQL is a relational database system, whereas PostgreSQL is what is called a relational database system
What this means in practice is that PostgreSQL has much greater functionality. It allows for processes such as inheritance, function overloading, and PostgreSQL CASE. What this means is that your data is going to be much more integrated and dynamic. 
Even if you don’t know exactly how to perform these functions, it is a good idea to leave yourself open to them. Your developer or future developer may be able to optimize your system a lot more by employing them—so don’t cut yourself off from that opportunity.

Sometimes You Get More than What You Pay For

You might be a little bit worried about the fact that PostgreSQL is free—what about that old adage, ‘You get what you pay for’? Well, in this case, that’s not really true. 
PostgreSQL has been built by developers and is continually trusted by developers worldwide. Not only that, but it is continually being updated and strengthened, meaning your software is never going to become obsolete. 
In sum, there is no need to go and waste your money on expensive software that developers may leave undeveloped in five years’ time. If you are building an organization or business, you want to make sure that you are going to get durability out of your data system.
PostgreSQL is hard to beat in that regard. 
If you’ve found this information useful, check out some of our other great articles on IT and tech solutions.