PostgreSQL vs SQL Server: 9 Critical Differences

Isola Saheed Ganiyu • Last Modified: March 20th, 2023

Feature Image - PostgreSQL vs SQL Server

Despite the fact that PostgreSQL and Microsoft SQL Server come with different database editions, which are usually dependent on the developer’s specifications, these two softwares are widely used in relational database management systems. They are also compatible with numerous small and large enterprise applications.

Relational Database Management System allows users to work with back-end data using a variety of commands such as creates, updates, deletes, and reads. This is because when developers build software projects, they often use an RDBMS. They can also choose from a variety of database applications based on their requirements. A commercial or open-source database may also be chosen by the programmer. Even so, most developers opt for a commercial database because it offers more sophisticated functionality than free software.

In this article, you will learn the key differences between PostgreSQL and SQL Server database systems. The article draws out the notable differences in terms of their respective features, platform support, performance, and scalability.

Also you can check our article on PostgreSQL vs MySQL.

Table of Contents

Introduction to PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL logo - PostgreSQL vs SQL Server

PostgreSQL server is a widely known open-source database platform that expands the SQL language. It is furnished with unique features that enable the storing and scaling of some very difficult data workloads. The history of the PostgreSQL server can be traced back to 1986 at the University of California, Berkeley. The university’s POSTGRES the program inspired the decision to build the server, and the program has racked up over 30 years of active use.

Official documentation of the PostgreSQL sever can be found here.

Introduction to SQL Server

SQL Server Logo - PostgreSQL vs SQL Server

The SQL server, in contrast, is a Microsoft product. It is a relational database management platform. It is a software developed for storing and retrieving data when required by other software applications. Its first launch was recorded in 1989, 32 years ago. The SQL server is written in C and C++ programming languages. 

Official documentation of the SQL Server can be found here.

Factors that Drive the PostgreSQL Vs SQL Server Decision

Many factors cause the PostgreSQL server versus the SQL server situation. This portion of the article sheds light on things to consider when choosing between the two products.

PostgreSQL Vs SQL Server: Platform Support 

Users eager to learn which operating system will effectively run the PostgreSQL server can now check the eligible OS: Windows Win2000 SP4 and later versions, Mac OS X, AIX, IRIX, Solaris, Tru64, Unix, UnixWare, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD. 

The SQL server is not left out of the picture as the compatible operating systems are Linux, Microsoft Server, and Microsoft Windows.

PostgreSQL Vs SQL Server: Programming Language Support 

There is a large difference between the programming languages that the PostgreSQL server supports and that of the SQL server. The programming languages supported by the PostgreSQL server are Python, Tcl, Net, C, C++, Delphi, Java, JavaScript (Node.js), and Perl. 

With regards to the SQL server, the various programming languages supported by the server are JavaScript, PHP, and C#. 

PostgreSQL Vs SQL Server: Features 

Features of PostgreSQL Server

Features of PostgreSQL - PostgreSQL vs SQL Server
  • There is no cost for downloading the program as it is open-source and can be gotten from the PostgreSQL website.
  • Numerous operating systems can effectively run the program. A number of these systems are Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, UNIX (AIX, BSD, HP-UX, Solaris, etc.
  • Several of the existing programming languages can run on this server. They include Python, Tcl, Net, C, C++, Delphi, Java, JavaScript (Node.js), and Perl. 
  • This server is a perfect fit for data integrity and supports Primary Keys, Secondary Keys, UNIQUENOT NULL, EXPLICIT LOCKS, Advisory Locks, and Exclusion Constraints.

Features of SQL Server

Features of SQL Server - PostgreSQL vs SQL Server
  • The SQL server is characterized by its high-performance ability, especially in dealing with the great workload. It proffers multiple ways to interpret data more analytically.
  • High availability is another feature associated with the SQL server. The server accepts databases like Microsoft SQL Server, MS Access, Oracle Database, SAP HANA, SAP Adaptive Server.
  • This server offers scalability and Flexibility. It is truly simple to build new tables, and recently built or not operated tables can be dropped or eliminated in a database.
  • SQL Server can manage big records and handle various transactions.

PostgreSQL Vs SQL Server: Scalability 

The capacity to scale up a database to allow it to contain growing sums of data without cutting short performance is scalability. For both servers, the provision for scalability varies and are as follows: 

PostgreSQL offers several features that assist the building of a scalable solution. But, although the scalability of the server can be questioned, it can adequately employ the tools of a machine. It employs several CPU cores to enforce one query quicker with the parallel feature. 

SQL Server is scalable, but its ability to be scalability is dependent on what is being used. Scaling the server is doable, but the infrastructure required for this action is to be in place. There is also a Hyperscale feature, which means the upper and lower limit can be included and can therefore scale upwards and downward per your taste. 

SQL Schema Illustration - PostgreSQL vs SQL Server
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PostgreSQL Vs SQL Server: Performance 

Performance Tuning in PostgreSQL - PostgreSQL vs SQL Server

In tuning the PostgreSQL server for a heightened performance rate, the developer must be careful about writing queries in the application. Paying heed to performance while writing database queries is very necessary.

Analysis - PostgreSQL vs SQL Server

However, the tuning process of the SQL Server is normally the responsibility of a Database Administrator and, sometimes, developers. The tuning process is in place to ensure the smooth running of an application in the shortest possible period.

Performance Requirements - PostgreSQL vs SQL Server

PostgreSQL Vs SQL Server: Query Language and Syntax 

PostgreSQL server performs a list of SQL statements, replacing the sum of the previous query in the list. In the simple case, the initial row of the previous query’s sum shall be reinstated. However, if the previous query does not bring back any row, the last sum will appear in its place.

An SQL statement is made up of tokens, and every token signifies a keyword, identifier, quoted identifier, constant, or special character symbol. The table below adopts a simple SELECT statement to demonstrate a basic but complete SQL statement and its components.

Some of the PostgreSQL SQL commands include: 


Abort the current transaction.


Change the definition of an aggregate function.

ALTER AGGREGATE name ( type ) RENAME TO new_name
ALTER AGGREGATE name ( type ) OWNER TO new_owner

Change the definition of a conversion.


Change a database specific parameter.

ALTER DATABASE name SET parameter { TO | = } { value | DEFAULT }

With regards to the SQL server, the SQL or Structured Query Language is a language for programming the data kept in relational databases. SQL functions in easy, declarative statements, and this ensures the accuracy and integrity of databases, no matter the size.

A show of the common commands used for this server is below: 


ALTER TABLE table_name 
ADD column_name datatype;

ALTER TABLE lets you add columns to a table in a database.


SELECT column_name(s)
FROM table_name
WHERE column_1 = value_1
AND column_2 = value_2;

AND is an operator that combines two conditions. Both conditions must be true for the row to be included in the result set.


SELECT column_name AS 'Alias'
FROM table_name;

AS is a keyword in SQL that allows you to rename a column or table using a moniker.


SELECT AVG(column_name)
FROM table_name;

AVG() is an aggregate function that returns the average value for a numeric column.


SELECT column_name(s)
FROM table_name
WHERE column_name BETWEEN value_1 AND value_2;

The BETWEEN the operator is utilized to filter the result set within a specific range. The values can be numbers, text, or dates.

PostgreSQL Vs SQL Server: Connectors and Integration Support 

The PostgreSQL connector demands an ADO.NET provider. The minimum PostgreSQL database version that is supported is version 9.4. 

On the other hand, the SQL server accepts both trusted and untrusted operating systems, file systems, and other hardware architecture that comply with the product’s documentation. Little or no technical support will be provided for SQL server software used in unsupported operating systems, file systems, and other hardware platforms. 

PostgreSQL Vs SQL Server: Security Features 

The PostgreSQL server provides encryption at various levels and provides flexibility in protecting data from disclosure due to the case of an insecure network. 

Meanwhile, the SQL server is built to be a safe database platform. To this effect, it contains numerous features that can encrypt data, reduce authorization and safeguard data from unscrupulous activities.

PostgreSQL Vs SQL Server: Pricing 

The PostgreSQL server is published under the OSI-certified PostgreSQL license. Hence, there is no fee for the use of this product. This, however, is not the case with SQL Server. SQL is a premium database product. Since the SQL Server 2012 went to a core-based licensing model, its price set by Microsoft remains constant. Currently, the SQL Server Enterprise Edition is valued at $7,128 per core. 

Problems Encountered in the Use of PostgreSQL Server

  • Primary PostgreSQL Node Failure
  • PostgreSQL Replica Node Failure
  • PostgreSQL Replication Failure
  • PostgreSQL Data Corruption

Problems Encountered in the Use of SQL Server

  • Poor Design Decisions
  • Indexes
  • Bad Code
  • Object Relational Mapping


In conclusion, it must be acknowledged that both servers are quite efficient, and will be found useful by developers and program users alike. Now that we have established the dissimilarities between the two servers, you can choose the one whose features align with your needs. For any information on PostgreSQL Full Text Search, you can visit the former link.

For any information on the comparative study of PostgreSQL vs MySQL, you can visit the former link.

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