Small businesses have many pieces of information that can be stored in a computer. There are many options available to store this data. This data can be stored in a spreadsheet or a database. Microsoft Excel is an excellent choice for storing and maintaining spreadsheets such as tables of sales data, or demographic data.
A SQL database would be a better choice for dynamic websites. There are many options available for free. MySQL and PostgreSQL are the two most popular and are available with many web hosting services. Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server are also excellent database management systems (DBMS). They are not free however.
What is a Database?
A database is a collection of information. Data is information. It can be names, addresses, locations of other information such as URLs. This website uses a database to store all the information you see, including the links.
Which Database is Best for Small Businesses?
If you are looking for a database to run on your PC and have no plans on sharing it online you are limited to a few options. Microsoft products pretty much answer most database questions well. Microsoft Access is my choice for storing data that is only used on my PC. It is able to be very simple or as complex as I need.
Sharing data from a database on a network or via the internet opens your choices. There are excellent options available for a high price such as Oracle, but small businesses don’t have the resources or need for this much power. I suggest using one of the free options.
What Are the Free SQL Database Options?
MySQL is very common and free. There are many applications that have been developed to use MySQL such as WordPress and Moodle. It runs on Windows and Linux servers, which are the two most common and popular servers.
If you will be developing your own database applications MySQL will be great for simple applications and environments. There are some problems when you get more complex. One issue that you may run into is that you need to lock tables when you add a new column. This is not a problem if you don’t need to add new columns while your database is in production.
PostgreSQL seems to be able to handle more complex environments, but also seems to be more difficult to use. You don’t need to lock tables to add columns for instance. The interface resembles Oracle more than MySQL’s does.
The best database for small business depends on what you want the database for. The best database for a standalone windows PC is Microsoft Access. The best database for a larger corporate environment would be Oracle. The best database for the most common web applications is MySQL. The best free SQL database for your own complex web applications would be PostgreSQL.
I use a database for this website. Since I run WordPress that database is MySQL. The web host I use is BlueHost. They provide more options for hosting websites than I need. This means I can grow as my needs grow. To find out more about why I chose BlueHost click here.