With our love of, and reliance on, information technology, we humans have accumulated a whole lotta data. So, it only makes sense to have a place to house some of it. Enter web databases.
Designed to hold a large collection of organized information that can be accessed by multiple users with optimal speed, and minimal processing expense, we already know that a database is a handy way to store information. But what exactly is a web database?
Web database definition
A web database is essentially a database that can be accessed from a local network or the internet instead of one that has its data stored on a desktop or its attached storage. Used for both professional and personal use, they are hosted on websites, and are software as service (SaaS) products, which means that access is provided via a web browser.
One of the types of web databases that you may be more familiar with is a relational database. Relational databases allow you to store data in groups (known as tables), through its ability to link records together. It uses indexes and keys, which are added to data, to locate information fields stored in the database, enabling you to retrieve information quickly.
To paint a picture, just think about when you online shop and want to have a look at a specific product. Typing in keywords such as “black dress” enables all the black dresses stored on the website to appear right on the very browser you are looking on, because the information “black” and “dress” are stored in their database entries.
Some advantages of using a web database include:
- Web database applications can be free or require payment, usually through monthly subscriptions. Because of this, you pay for the amount you use. So whether your business shrinks or expands, your needs can be accommodated by the amount of server space. You also don’t have to fork out for the cost of installing an entire software program.
- The information is accessible from almost any device. Having things stored in a cloud means that it is not stuck to one computer. As long as you are granted access, you can technically get a hold of the data from just about any compatible device.
- Web database programs usually come with their own technical support team so your IT department folks can focus on other pressing company matters.
- It’s convenient: web databases allow users to update information so all you have to do is to create simple web forms.
Something you’ll see commonly attached to the topic of web databases, and also worth noting due to its use in many high profile websites, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress, is MySQL. Based on Structured Query Language, MySQL is a relational database management system (DBMS).
Just so you know, a database management system is the software that manages moving data in, out, and around the database. The term ‘database’ refers to the actual data that is being stored.
MySQL isn’t the only database management system, but it is one of the more popular types. Reasons for this are:
- It is an open-source relational database management system, which means that it is free to use and to modify.
- It is compatible with multiple platforms, making installation a breeze.
- It is known to be user-friendly, promising that even the most inadequate technology users will find the initial setup, and use, relatively straightforward.
As mentioned, web databases can be used for professional and personal purposes. Common ways businesses use web databases are for customer feedback forms, website polls, and inventory lists. Personal web databases are a useful way to store email addresses, or even for a home inventory list.
Have you used a web database for purposes that weren’t tied to your job? (Hint, you probably have!) We’d be curious to know other ways people have adopted them for personal use. Let us know in the comment section below!
Dinnie and the Zenkit Team