The Best SQLite Hosting: Who's The Best For Your Site? [Updated: 2018]

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What You'll Learn

If you've already checked out our MySQL hosting comparison piece, you will be familiar with what's about to come. On this page, you'll learn about why SQLite is worth using, how it's best to use it and where it's best to make use of it.

Furthermore, you'll be offered a list of healthy alternatives, since not everyone has the same needs.

An Introduction to SQLite

When a website needs to store large chunks of data that can be arranged into a table or graph, most developers turn to databases. It's a simple concept, as old as programming itself. The SQL interface and management programs allow you to create, access and manage this data.

What is SQLite and How Are Databases Used?

Databases have many uses, from organizing user accounts to keeping track of sales data, and many websites contain them. However, MySQL and related programs can be confusing, difficult to set up, and too complex for a start-up project.

SQL is the Structured Query Language, a programming language that is used to communicate with a relational database system. It is not the only language for doing so, but it (by far) the most popular.

SQL Helps Manage Data

MySQL Screenshot
MySQL Homepage

It is comprised of a data definition language that specifies the overall structure of data to be stored, and a data manipulation language that can be used to add, edit, or retrieve data.

SQL is implemented by a number of popular database systems, such as MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL. It does not specify a way to build a database, only how to interact with it. Each database system's developers choose how to implement the SQL standard.

What is SQLite?

Should you run into issues, consider using SQLite instead. It's faster, more versatile, and can be easier to work with. In addition to being relatively simple to install, many apps like sudo apt-get for Ubuntu and NuGet for Windows can handle the packages for you. It's like a mini-MySQL without a headache.

SQLite screenshot
Screenshot of the SQLite homepage.

Lightweight, Relational Database

SQLite is a lightweight relational database system based on the SQL standard. It is used primarily for local and embedded storage, and also early development and prototyping. A handful of advanced features are not included, but it is otherwise a fully-functioning database system.

Open Source

SQLite is Open Source software, and the code is in the Public Domain. By some estimates, it is the most widely deployed database system in the world. Even though the software is open-source and can be used as many times as needed with a single license, it is not open-contribution.

Find The Best SQLite Hosting For You

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SiteGround screenshot
SiteGround Entry Cloud plan
20GB 5TB
  • Support 5 stars
  • Features 5 stars
  • Uptime 5 stars
  • Value 4.5 stars
5 stars
1867 user reviews
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$60.00/mo
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A2 Hosting Entry VPS plan
20GB 2TB
  • Support 4.5 stars
  • Features 4.5 stars
  • Uptime 4.5 stars
  • Value 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
229 user reviews
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$5.00/mo
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HostGator Linux Hatchling plan
  • Support 3 stars
  • Features 3.5 stars
  • Uptime 3.5 stars
  • Value 3 stars
3.5 stars
569 user reviews
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$2.75/mo
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GreenGeeks EcoSite Starter plan
  • Support 4.5 stars
  • Features 4.5 stars
  • Uptime 4.5 stars
  • Value 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
348 user reviews
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LiquidWeb 2 GB VPS plan
40GB 10TB
  • Support 4.5 stars
  • Features 4.5 stars
  • Uptime 4.5 stars
  • Value 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
62 user reviews
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WebFaction Webfaction Plan
100GB 600GB
  • Support 4 stars
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  • Uptime 4 stars
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Hostwinds Budget VPS plan
  • Support 3 stars
  • Features 3 stars
  • Uptime 3 stars
  • Value 3 stars
3 stars
23 user reviews
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FastComet Single Website plan
  • Support 4.5 stars
  • Features 4.5 stars
  • Uptime 4.5 stars
  • Value 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
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Dreamhost Shared Web Hosting plan
  • Support 3.5 stars
  • Features 4 stars
  • Uptime 4 stars
  • Value 4 stars
4 stars
238 user reviews
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$6.95/mo
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What is a Relational Database System?

A relational database system is a data storage program that stores information in a series of interrelated tables. These systems are widely popular, although are being replaced by hierarchical databases and network databases in many use cases.

Are There Other Types of Database Systems?

While there are other non-relational forms of databases (such as so-called "NoSQL" systems like MongoDB), relational database management systems (RDBMS) have become the most commonly used. Generally, the most popular systems used of 2018 are:

You have a ton of viable options to choose from as a user. Having a reliable RDBMS is absolute key, seeing as important, often sensitive data is involved.

How is SQLite Different from Other RDBMS Programs?

Most database systems run in a client-server configuration. The database system and its data are separate from the program using it for data storage. The client sends SQL queries to the RDBMS server, and the server returns the data (after carrying out any commands to add, edit, or delete something).

What Are The Advantages of SQLite?

There are a number of advantages to this client-server model of database management. For example, multiple applications can read and write to the same database.

However, there are disadvantages as well. Setup can be complicated. Coordinating communication between the application and the database server can be difficult. The overall memory and storage footprint of the database system is fairly high.

How SQLite Stands Out

SQLite is different in that it is not a separate application. Rather than running a database server that an application has to call as a client, SQLite is a programming library that can be included in an application. Database queries are then run as internal function calls, rather than server requests, and the data storage itself is a single file that sits in normal file storage.

This approach makes SQLite fast and portable, with an obvious trade-off in features and power. For these reasons, it is often used for applications like embedded storage and rapid prototyping.

SQLite Features

SQLite Features

SQLite is a feature-rich, lightweight, and portable RDBMS. While there are some things missing from this small-scale SQL framework, it comes with a few nifty features other databases don't support.

  • ACID-compliant
  • Single file data storage
  • Support for large data
  • Small code base
  • Fully supported on most OS
  • Fully self-contained
  • Public domain

ACID

Transactions on SQLite are atomic, consistent, isolated, and durable. This helps guarantee validity of database transactions. Even if the transaction is interrupted by a crash, or there's a system failure, the system will do well to persevere.

Single File Storage Data

Single file storage data means that the system stores one file that multiple users may access.This helps to eliminate data duplication and also increases worker efficiency. Data duplication can cause tedious tasks to clean up a database, dreaded by us all.

Supports Large Data

Trying to store massive amounts of information? SQLite has you covered with support for databases up to a terabyte in size. Many websites and businesses have extensive data, whether it's resources or simply essentials.

Having the ability to store copious amounts of data is an upside, eliminating worry and extra costs.

Small Code Base

The includable library is less the 500 KiB. The small code base makes it easier to learn and for newbies to use.

Fully-Supported on Most OS

No matter what operating system you use, SQLite will likely work. The system is fully supported on Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, Android, and iOS. This is a massive upside, eliminating a huge number of compatibility issues.

Fully-Self Contained

SQLite is a self-contained system and has no dependencies an no external database. This makes it easy to download and simple use the system on nearly any operating system. In fact, the source code is contained in just a single source code.

Public Domain

SQLite is Public Domain
No premium licensing needed, SQLite explains it themselves.

This means no licensing needed at all to use for any purpose. According to their website: "Anyone is free to copy, modify, publish, use, compile, sell, or distribute the original SQLite code, either in source code form or as a compiled binary, for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and by any means."

Features Not Included in SQLite

It's important to realize that SQLite is not a fully compliant implementation of the SQL standard and that not all features are included.

Most of these are either unnecessary for the typical SQLite user, too complex, or simply haven't been implemented yet.

SQL Actions Not Supported

Here are some commands which are not supported by SQLite:

  • RIGHT OUTER JOIN and FULL OUTER JOIN
  • DROP COLUMN, ALTER COLUMN, ADD CONSTRAINT, and most other ALTER TABLE commands
  • FOR EACH STATEMENT triggers
  • Write to VIEW (they are read-only, though this can be hacked with triggers)
  • GRANT and REVOKE, because permission is meaningless (there is no client).

SQLite Common Uses

Common Uses of SQLite

Being such a versatile yet easy-to-use program, SQLite is used in a ton of situations. While its predecessors MySQL and PostgreSQL may be more powerful, SQLite holds up and is often the better choice for certain developers.

5 Reasons Developers Often Choose SQLite:

Here are some of the main factors developers take into account when taking the leap with SQLite:

  1. Application data storage, instead of writing to things like XML, JSON, and CSV
  2. Internal storage of devices and gadgets
  3. Content storage for small websites
  4. Rapid prototyping
  5. Data analysis with SQLite3 command-line shell
  6. Server-side data storage

While these upsides may seem minor, they certainly eliminate a ton of small, annoying issues for technologists and database experts.

SQLite vs. MySQL/PostgreSQL

If you're still not sure whether SQLite is the right choice for you, take a look at this quick table that compares the three's basic features. There are, of course, more differences in function and technology than those listed below, but this should point you in the right direction.

Features

SQLite

MySQL

PostgreSQL

Ease of Use

Easy for beginners to set up and use; no configuration required

Intermediate; some advanced programming knowledge needed

Advanced; should only be used by proficient programmers

Performance

Lightweight

Standard

Can be taxing

Popularity

High and rising in popularity

Extremely popular

Somewhat; is used by many major companies, but not as popular due to its complexity

Scalability

Limited (data must fit on one drive)

Highest scalability

Moderate (performance issues)

Operating Systems

Linux

Windows

Mac

Android

iOS

Solaris

BSD

VxWorks

*Easily port to other OS

Linux

Windows
macOS/Mac OS X

Ubuntu

Solaris

Debian

Red Hat

SUSE

IBM AIX
FreeBSD
HP-UX

Linux

Windows

Mac OS X

FreeBSD

OpenBSD

NetBSD

AIX

HP-UX
IRIX

Solaris

Tru64 Unix

UnixWare

Object-Oriented?

Somewhat

No; relational

Somewhat

User Management?

No

Yes

Yes

Self-contained (file-based)?

Yes

No

No

Concurrency

1 writer; unlimited readers

Limited; issues with concurrent read-writes

Yes

Open Source?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Suitable For

Local applications, testing, video games

When you need more power than MySQL, website development, fast-scaling websites or apps

When you need the most robust SQL database out there, high-power applications, big data, write-heavy operations

SQLite Pros and Cons

SQLite Pros and Cons

Still conflicted on whether to pick SQLite or a client-server database engine? This list should help you decide if it is right for your needs.

SQLite Pros

  • Works great on most small- to medium-sized websites
  • Straightforward, painless installation
  • Server-less, unlike client-server processes
  • Faster and lighter than client-server directories
  • No administration or configuration required
  • Great for single-person projects

SQLite Cons

  • Limited scalability
  • Not suitable for high-traffic websites
  • One writer per file; limited concurrent writer support
  • Missing some advanced features
  • Not great for large, quickly-growing project

SQLite Conclusion

Final Roundup: Will SQLite Meet Your Needs?

The majority of sites will integrate well with SQLite. While large projects and ones that grow quickly will need the scalability and power an RDBMS like MySQL provides, most websites will do just fine on the compact, efficient SQLite.

Unless you're planning on using shared hosting, finding a host that supports it shouldn't be too difficult. At the very least, you should be able to locate one that lets you install your own applications.

SQLite Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is SQLite?

    SQLite is a programming library used to create, query, and update a self-contained, serverless, lightweight database that requires no configuration. SQLite databases are relational and are a nearly-complete implementation of the SQL database query language.

  • What is a relational database management system (RDBMS)?

    SQLite databases are relational and SQLite can be described as a relational database management system (RDBMS). Relational databases store information in tables, where each table row contains related data. An RDBMS is a database management system designed to create, query, and edit a relational database.

  • How is SQLite different from MySQL and other RDBMSs that use SQL?

    The biggest difference between SQLite and other RDBMSs such as MySQL, MSSQL, and PostgreSQL is that SQLite does not store the database on a database server.

    Instead, SQLite creates a database file that is stored locally, right alongside the rest of the application files. This makes SQLite somewhat easier for a developer to interact with since database access is managed with file permissions and the database is stored locally (on the same server or computer as the application files).

    Other SQL databases use a client-server model where the database is contained on a database server and accessed by one or more applications that are not on the same server. Think of SQLite as a lightweight SQL implementation for local storage rather than a traditional RDBMS.

  • Why should I use SQLite?
    1. SQLite is really easy to use. You don't have to install it. You just download SQLite, run it, and use it.
    2. It actually performs quite well, even under pretty heavy use.
    3. The source code is in the public domain – meaning your concerns about running afoul of the law are extremely minimal.
  • Are there downsides to using SQLite?

    Since an SQLite database is a file, it can only be changed by one user at a time. While the system is very fast, if you must have concurrent users editing the database without having requests waiting in line, you'll need a different system.

    Also, SQLite does have an size limit, and as such may not suitable for big data applications.

    Finally, the developer recommends using it for websites that see fewer than 100k pageviews per day – although the SQLite website itself uses SQLite, runs just fine, and sees 500k+ hits per day.

  • Is SQLite a "lite" implementation of SQL?

    The "lite" in SQLite means that it is a lightweight RDBMS (small in size and requiring minimal server resources), it does not mean that it is a limited or "lite" implementation of SQL. While SQLite is not a complete implementation of SQL and does lack a couple of advanced SQL features, the same is true of many other leading SQL implementations including MySQL.

  • Can I use SQLite with WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla?

    Drupal can use SQLite right out of the box. There's a free plugin available that makes it possible to use SQLite databases with WordPress. While some community interest has been expressed in adding support for SQLite to Joomla, at this time it does not work with SQLite.

  • What apps use SQLite?

    SQLite is used for sever-side storage by many web applications. It is used for client-side local storage as well. For example, most major browsers enable SQLite as a format for web application local storage, web application frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Django work with SQLite, desktop applications including Skype and Adobe products use SQLite, and most major computer operating systems include SQLite.

  • What web programming languages provide bindings for SQLite?

    Most major programming languages providing bindings for SQLite. For example, SQLite can be used with all of the following programming languages: PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, JavaScript, Swift, C, C#, Haskell, Smalltalk, Perl, and many more.

  • How do I get SQLite?

    If you're trying to get SQLite for your local development environment or to run on a private server (VPS or dedicated server), you can download SQLite from the official project website. If you want to use SQLite on a shared server, your host will need to add support for it. Get in touch with your host to discuss the possibility or pick a host that already supports it.

  • Do all hosts offer SQLite databases?

    Most hosts do allow for the creation and use of SQLite databases. However, not all hosts offer SQLite, and those that do may not offer support for the specific programming language or framework you plan to use.

    The best thing to do is to check with your host (or the hosts you're considering) if you want to use SQLite and aren't certain that it's available.

  • How will I know if a host offers SQL databases?

    Most hosts don't advertise the fact that they support SQLite databases because they just aren't as popular as other database systems such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, MariaDB, and so forth.

    If you want to find out if a specific host supports SQLite, first make sure they support the programming language or framework you plan to use. Next, have a look at their support forum and knowledgebase to see if they've indicated that they support SQLite. Finally, you will want to check directly with the hosts customer support techs to verify that they do offer SQLite support before signing on the dotted line.

  • Is SQLite free?

    Yes. SQLite is completely free. The source code is in the public domain. This means that you can use SQLite for any purpose, even commercial, without a license.

  • Do I need an SQLite license?

    In general, no, you don't need a license. The code is the public domain and free to use for any purpose. You may have noticed that the SQLite website does offer rather pricey licenses, however. These are offered to corporations who feel that they need something called "warranty of title." If you aren't concerned about such things, then you can use SQLite for free for any purpose.

    Note: this is not legal advise. If you have any questions about this issue, you should consult with a lawyer.

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