Database: top 8 free or open source software

In the digital age and in the era of Big Data, computer databases have become essential tools for the majority of companies and organizations that store and use a large amount of information on a daily basis. The management of these databases requires specific software generally intended for IT managers.

But for a small business, having database management software can be an excessive expense. Often, IT departments with small budgets need to reduce the costs they incur in order to keep their business running while remaining efficient.

Here is a list of 8 free and/or open source database software products chosen based on the following criteria:
  • Having a minimum rating of 4 stars out of 5 on
  • Offering a free and/or open source version
  • Having obtained the highest number of reviews on
They are presented here in alphabetical order.

1. Airtable

Airtable is a flexible relational database under the interface of a spreadsheet. It combines the collaborative features of a spreadsheet and a database, adapted to the needs of small and medium businesses. The application allows you to add fields for attachments, text notes, checkboxes, drop-down lists, among other features.

Offered in desktop, browser and mobile versions, the platform lends itself to teamwork and has a marketplace of click-to-add applications and predefined templates. It is available on Windows, macOS, iOS and Android.

The app is available in a free version and a paid version starting at $12 (about €10) per user per month.

2. Amazon RDS

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) is a database manager distributed by Amazon Web Services. It allows the installation and scaling of relational databases in the cloud. It also provides mobile access.

Amazon RDS offers automation of time-consuming administrative tasks such as database setup, hardware allocation, patching and backup. The software supports six database engines, including Oracle Database and SQL Server.

Amazon RDS offers on-demand pricing with no upfront costs, based on resources used. A free trial is also available.

3. Caspio

As an application development platform, Caspio handles database creation, analysis, deployment and integration without coding.

The software features an intuitive application builder that allows non-professional users to create custom web applications. It also provides pre-built templates and ready-to-use applications that can be deployed instantly on any website without customization. With Caspio, users can create forms, reports and specific applications.

Users can start with the free trial and then sign up for a paid subscription starting at $100 per month, billed annually. Features and storage capacity increase with each subscription.

4. Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a cloud computing platform composed of a set of modular applications on the cloud allowing to create all types of programs, from simple websites to complex applications. Based on Google's core infrastructure, GCP provides a secure service and functionality to collect, store, manage, process and visualize data. The platform provides access to relational and non-relational databases for offline distribution and synchronization.

Google Cloud Platform also includes data migration services and a rack-mountable storage server. In addition, it enables the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning into existing applications.

This Google database tool offers a limited free version and a free trial; pricing then varies based on usage.

5. Microsoft SQL Server

SQL Server is a database management software published by Microsoft for Windows and Linux platforms. It allows you to store and share information within a database while ensuring its durability and confidentiality. It is a multi-database and multi-schema system offering a series of tools for managing databases hosted locally or in the cloud. Microsoft SQL Server processes computer transactions, regardless of the type of database (relational or not, structured or not).

Available in desktop, cloud and browser versions, SQL Server is Windows, Linux and Docker compatible.

Each edition, including the free Express version, includes a wide range of features. The paid version is available from $930 (about €785) as a one-time payment.

6. MongoDB

Aimed at start-ups as well as small and large companies, MongoDB is a document-oriented open source database; it is usually used for mobile applications, product catalogs or content management.

Data is stored in JSON documents. The software supports sorting and filtering in any direction, document validation, geo-location search, as well as graph and text search. The system allows for live viewing of data from any of the active instances.

MongoDB also incorporates security and privacy controls. MongoDB supports arrays and nested objects as values and allows for flexible and dynamic schemas. The software is compatible with various programming languages.

This database software is available on computer (Linux, Windows, macOS), cloud and mobile.

MongoDB offers a free version and then a paid version starting at $57 per month (about €48).

7. PostgreSQL

The software allows customization of data types and query methods. Executes stored procedures in over a dozen programming languages.

With over 30 years of active development, PostgreSQL offers an environment supported by an active community that provides extensive support for learning about the technology. The software's features range from performance analysis to data replication, search and filtering, data import and export, access control, synchronization, and more.

The software is compatible with Windows, iOS, Linux and UNIX (AIX, BSD, HP-UX, SGI IRIX, Mac OS X, Solaris, Tru64). PostgreSQL is also compliant with ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, durability) properties.

8. QuintaDB (MyTaskHelper)

QuintaDB is an online database service and software that allows you to create custom forms to collect data and exploit them in various ways: integration with websites, creation of graphs, Google maps reports...

Thanks to the built-in rule generator, users without programming knowledge can create databases that include search capabilities. QuintaDB users also have the ability to create custom forms with multiple field types. The software supports importing CVS and Excel files as well as exporting data to Excel and PDF.

A free version is available for up to 3 users; paid versions start at $5.83 per month (billed annually), for an unlimited number of users and an increasing number of features and storage capacities.