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What Is SQL And How Can It Help Your Website?

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June 28, 2017

Elena has written 13 articles for DomainInformer.
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In this quick guide, we’ll be discussing what a database is, how SQL works, and the programs you can use to manage SQL. This article is aimed at people with no knowledge of databases, and so we’ll start off with a brief discussion around those, followed by a quick SQL overview. We’ll be writing from a MySQL perspective, and we’ll try our best to avoid any technical language – essentially keeping things in Layman’s terms.

What is a database?

In the simplest of terms, a database is a place where data is stored – a collection of any data your website holds. With specialized programs such as MySQL, you can retrieve and store that data in the most efficient way possible.

Think of it this way – imagine all the documents on your computer. If you decided, for some reason, to save your files in a specific way, such as: 1001.doc, 1002.doc, 1003.doc, etc. all the way up to 10000.doc, you’ll eventually come to a sticking point – finding a specific file. Say you’re looking for a novel you wrote to send off to a publisher; the only way you’ll find it is by searching through every file. This isn’t very efficient. All because of your rather illogical method of naming files.

Well, database software such as MySQL, is designed to save all your files in a logical order. This ensures you can find and locate information straight way, regardless of when you entered the details into the system. Finally got your millionth customer? Finding their information won’t take any more time than, say, your first.

But what is SQL, and MySQL?

Websites need ways to manage the data that they hold. Photo galleries, blogs and content management systems need ways to manage and manipulate the data that they hold. Blog software will, of course, need a way to manage any posts that you write; galleries will need a way to manage the information held on your pictures – this is the role of SQL – the language your website understands to manipulate this information.

This language is read by a program called MySQL (there are others), which can categorize your information into databases. These databases then allow you to pull data out rather quickly. All the program does is allow you to view the information any website holds, such as customer details, website visitors, blog posts, etc. clearly and efficiently.

Pros and cons of using SQL

One of the major benefits of using MySQL, is the ability to retrieve any data that otherwise may have been corrupted. While data loss can occur randomly, such as from hardware failures, RAID rebuild failures, or accidental file deletion (note, all human errors) then specialists are available to restore MySQL data.

Sadly, SQL can be quite complicated and might take a lot of your time to learn how to manipulate it around your needs. You also need a firm knowledge of RDBMS – or Relational Database Manage Systems. For more information of RBMS, please check out this guide. Otherwise, MySQL is a fantastic database management system.

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