Database 101: What Is a Database?

Posted on by Patrick Hawkins
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Computers have been built to enhance the way we store, retrieve, and process information since their original invention. While initially designed to perform mathematical calculations, their power and capabilities grew along with the desire to more efficiently process different types of data. In order to harness this burgeoning capability for data storage and retrieval, computer scientists developed databases.

While it is possible to store a wide variety of information in a file such as a Word document, this method is not designed to efficiently add or retrieve data. For the most part, files are meant to be displayed. The data inside such a document is free-form and not structured enough to cater to a variety of needs. Databases take your data and structure it in a way that lets you and your programs quickly insert, change, and retrieve the specific piece of data you want.

There are many scenarios in which databases are currently used. In web hosting, they provide an ideal place for a site’s Content Management System (CMS) to store data. The ability to quickly retrieve data from a database lets the CMS compose web pages on the fly, and facilitates substantially richer web applications than simple HTML websites would.

The most popular database in web hosting is MySQL. MySQL is a relational database, which stores data as a collection of tables, columns, and rows. Some of the most popular CMS’s use MySQL to store their data, including WordPress.

Liquid Web fully supports MySQL on all of our managed servers. We have written previously about MySQL, on how to back up MySQL databases from the command line and on enabling remote MySQL connections in cPanel. If you have further questions about using MySQL on your server, do not hesitate to contact our Heroic Support team.


Liquid Web’s Heroic Support is always available to assist customers with this or any other issue. If you need our assistance please contact us:
Toll Free 1.800.580.4985
International 517.322.0434

About the Author: Patrick Hawkins

Patrick Hawkins is a former Test Engineer and Managed WordPress admin with Liquid Web

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