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Top 5 Free Database Software in 2021 (Features, Pricing)

Database Software ClickUp

Numbers, images, texts… we deal with massive amounts of data regularly. 

No wonder it’s essential to have some way to manage it. 

Not just to store it, but more importantly, to secure your precious data from prying eyes. 👀

And that’s what database software does. 

But which free database software should you go for?

In this article, we’ll explore what database management systems are and how you can choose the right one for your needs. We’ll also highlight the five best free database software to help you out.  

Let’s dive in. 

What Is Database Software?

A database is an organized collection of related data, and database software helps you manage that database appropriately. 

Also known as a database management system (DBMS), these tools help you create databases, maintain them, and control who has access to the data. 

You can also use search queries to find any data you need, and the DBMS will automatically fetch it for you.

Sorta like asking Google, “why is my cat acting all crazy?”

a black and white cat falling off of the kitchen counter

(Could be paranormal “cativity” 👻 for all we know)

So essentially, any software that lets you store data and access it securely can be called a database management system.  

But is that all you can do with database software? 

Nope, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

Why use a DBMS? 

To better understand the power of a database system, let’s say you run a business, and you need to keep track of customer data, sales, inventory, etc. 

While your first instinct would be to use Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheets, it opens the door to a whole load of trouble. 

It is tedious and time-consuming, can result in duplicate and inconsistent records, poor data security… the list goes on.

Spreadsheets are just stress sheets!  🤕

Instead, database software can store all your information in a structured and secure manner. 

It also helps you:

  • Share data with your team using different access levels
  • Search for relevant data quickly
  • Reduce data redundancy
  • Automate data backup and recovery 
  • Maintain data consistency and security

Note: to keep things simple, we’ll only cover the basics of database software in this article. If you want to dive into the technicalities, feel free to check out this article

How To Choose the Right Free Database Tool for your Business

Choosing the right database solution can be as tough as deciding which Netflix show to binge on. There are just so many options to choose from! 

But don’t worry. 

Here are some filters you could apply to narrow down your search:

  • Complexity: some database tools can be really complicated and would require some technical know-how. On the other hand, some project management software helps you manage project-related data with ease
  • Security: don’t want your data to fall into the wrong hands? Then, go for software that uses the latest data security techniques  🔐
  • Integrations: integrations help you manage data across your favorite apps, be it your CRM software or your communication app
  • Pricing: while we’ll be covering some of the best free database software, some tools will have paid plans that offer additional functionality, storage space, etc. So ensure you pick a database solution that gives you the best value for money 

Now that we’ve completed our crash course on database software, let’s get down to business. 

Top 5 Free Database Software

Here are the five best free database software available today:

1. ClickUp

Download ClickUp

ClickUp is one of the highest-rated project management software in the world, loved by super-productive teams from startups to large corporations. 

Wait… why is a project management tool on the list?

Remember, any tool that lets you store and manage data can be called database software. 

Project management tools, like ClickUp, help you manage all the data related to your projects and tasks with ease. 

And when it comes to project data management, ClickUp isn’t your average Joe. 😜

It offers the highest number of unique features in the industry, releasing awesome stuff every week!  

ClickUp key features

Here’s a quick look into how ClickUp helps you become a data ninja:

  • Hierarchy: break down your project and organize it into Workspace, Spaces, Folders, and more for effortless management
  • Lists: list out your tasks with different tags, statuses, and Custom Fields to enhance clarity
  • Docs: create all sorts of documents and store them alongside your projects for easy accessibility 
  • Table view: use simple rows and columns to arrange, navigate, and export data in a flash
  • Form view: collect customer feedback, client requirements, or any data you need with beautiful forms 
  • Relationships: link similar tasks and ideas, or even create an advanced database 
  • Dashboards: see what’s happening in your projects with a quick glance
  • Resource management: use Workload view, Pulse, Profiles, and more to manage your resources efficiently
  • Embed view: embed apps, websites, videos, or any content you need alongside your tasks 
  • Gantt chart: track your project progress using intuitive Gantt charts
  • Views: Board, Box, Calendar, Timeline… open your eyes to unique work perspectives with ClickUp
  • Custom Item Types: store, visualize, and present information any way you prefer, and add a layer of structure to relational databases
Chelsea Handler saying your perspective changes

ClickUp pros

  • Intuitive and sleek user interface
  • Free Forever Plan that offers a wide variety of powerful features
  • Access tasks even when your internet’s down with the Offline Mode
  • Automate 50+ processes to save time and effort 
  • Sort, filter, and search through your tasks in a snap
  • Use the Multitask Toolbar to manage tons of tasks with one click
  • Streamline data flow across Slack, Salesforce CRM, and all your favorite apps with powerful integrations
  • Uses 256-bit SSL and AES-256 encryption standards for top-notch data security
  • SOC 2, Privacy Shield, GDPR, and HIPAA compliant
  • Manage all your project data using the feature-rich iOS and Android Mobile Apps 
  • Supports Linux, Windows, and macOS operating systems

ClickUp limitations

  • No Table view on the mobile app (yet)

Check out ClickUp’s roadmap to see how we’re fixing such minor issues, and explore all the amazing features that this free database software has in store for you. 🤩

ClickUp pricing

ClickUp offers three pricing plans to suit various user needs:

  • Free Forever Plan:
    • Unlimited users
    • Unlimited tasks
    • 100MB storage
    • 24/7 support
    • And more
  • Unlimited Plan ($5/month per user)
    • All Free Plan features
    • Unlimited views
    • Unlimited file storage
    • Custom fields 
    • Portfolios 
    • And more
  • Business Plan ($9/month per user)

ClickUp user ratings

  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (2130+ reviews)
  • G2: 4.7/5 (2670+ reviews)

2. MySQL

My SQL home page

MySQL is an open source relational database management system from Oracle. Users can use the Structured Query Language to access and manage data in MySQL. 

Wait, what’s a relational database?

A relational database management system stores similar data in tables, using rows and columns. It’s like an advanced evolution of your spreadsheets (minus all the stress.) 

Fortunately, you don’t need an oracle to see if the MySQL database is truly yours.

We’ve read the cards for you…  ✨

MySQL key features 

  • Data dictionary keeps a uniform record about database objects like tables  
  • Roles let you easily set privileges, like read-only access, to multiple user accounts 
  • Group attributes help a database administrator control the hardware consumption 
  • MySQL Workbench allows people like a database administrator, database architect, and developer work together  

MySQL pros

  • Suitable for open source ecosystems
  • Flexible and secure password system  
  • Supports the Windows operating system, macOS, and Linux platforms

MySQL limitations

  • Can perform poorly with larger datasets
  • Server crashes can corrupt the system
  • Outdated UI

MySQL pricing

Here’s a quick look at some of the pricing plans of this open source database tool:

  • Community Edition (free):
    • MySQL Workbench
    • Transactional Data Dictionary 
    • Performance Schema 
    • And more
  • MySQL Standard Edition ($2000)
    • All Community Edition features
    • MySQL Database Server
    • Knowledge Base
    • Oracle Product Certifications
    • And more

MySQL user ratings

  • Capterra: 4.6/5 (1400+ reviews)
  • G2: 4.4/5 (1480+ reviews)

3. Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft SQL home page

Microsoft SQL Server is a popular relational database tool that helps you store and retrieve data using SQL queries. 

It also has its own version of the SQL language called T-SQL (Transact-SQL) that provides additional functionality like error handling. 

Sounds cool, but can this server juggle all your needs efficiently?

a waiter in a suit dancing and holding serving trays

Microsoft SQL Server key features

  • Built-in data classification, data protection, and monitoring features
  • Enable customized data access based on user roles
  • Power BI (Business Intelligence) Report Server to manage reports and KPIs 
  • Connector library helps you combine data from any data source 

Microsoft SQL Server pros

  • Can query across other databases like PostgreSQL without replicating or moving any data 
  • Supports fast database recovery
  • Available for Linux and Windows operating systems 

Microsoft SQL Server limitations

  • Limited data partitioning capabilities 
  • Complicated licensing process that you’ll have to go through each time your license expires 
  • Can be expensive for small companies that want to scale up quickly

Microsoft SQL Server pricing

Here’s a quick look at some pricing plans of this database solution:

  • Developer (free)
    • For use in a non-production environment
  • Express (free)
    • For development and production for desktop, web, and small server applications
  • Standard – Client Access License ($209)
    • Lets a user access the database server from any device when the SQL server is deployed in the Client/Server mode

Microsoft SQL Server ratings

  • Capterra: 4.6/5 (1450+ reviews)
  • G2: 4.5/5 (20+ reviews)

4. Airtable

Airtable home page

Airtable is a hybrid spreadsheet and database software that lets you manage data across tables. You can track customer data or even create a makeshift CRM solution with Airtable. 

But should you really go for this software mishmash? 

Moira Rose Schitts Creek saying I don't like the sound of that

Airtable key features

  • Bases act as relational databases that can store all your project information 
  • Tables help store a list of similar items 
  • Flexible views, like kanban and calendar views, to visualize data from different angles
  • Dashboards with custom reporting options

Airtable pros

  • Automations help you save time and effort
  • Integrates with Slack, Zendesk, and Google Calendar
  • Works with the Windows operating system, macOS, iOS, and Android platforms

Airtable limitations

  • Free plan only supports 1200 records/base (a record is like a spreadsheet row)
  • Has a steep learning curve
  • Lacks advanced formulas to let users work on the data 

Airtable pricing

This online database software offers three pricing options:

  • Free plan
    • Unlimited bases
    • 1200 records/base
    • 2GB of attachments/base
    • Multiple views
  • Plus plan ($12/month per user)
    • 5000 records/base
    • 5GB of attachments/base
    • Automatic table syncing
    • And more
  • Pro plan ($24/month per user)  
    • 50,000 records/base
    • 20GB of attachments/base
    • Personal & locked views
    • And more

Airtable user ratings

  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (1100+ reviews)
  • G2: 4.6/5 (950+ reviews)

Check out other Airtable alternatives in this article.

5. MongoDB

MongoDB home page

MongoDB is a NoSQL database management software that stores data in the form of documents.  

We’ve mentioned SQL, so what’s NoSQL?

A NoSQL database stores data in non-tabular forms, such as a document database, graph database, etc. This makes it a suitable platform for managing unstructured data. 

And while the ‘mongo’ in MongoDB refers to humongous data storage, their free plan only supports 512MB storage space. 

a blonde man blinking his eyes

MongoDB key features

  • Real-time triggers for creating an event-driven data app
  • Rich and expressive query language 
  • Integrated full-text search functionality
  • MongoDB charts for data visualization and real-time business intelligence

MongoDB pros

  • Allows for flexible database schema design (database schema is a logical representation of a database’s structure) 
  • Advanced data privacy protection with client-side encryption
  • Patches and minor version updates are applied automatically 

MongoDB limitations

  • User reviews report that data duplication occurs as data scales
  • Can have a steep learning curve 
  • Can be difficult to merge documents

MongoDB pricing

This document database management tool’s cloud model offers a free plan with 512MB storage space for developing small applications. 

For more functionality, you’ll have to contact support for paid plans.  

MongoDB user ratings

  • Capterra: 4.6/5 (300+ reviews)
  • G2: 4.5/5 (380+ reviews)

Data Management Made Easy! 🗄️

Whether you’re creating software wonders or managing marketing campaigns, you need database management software to store and manage all that valuable data.  

And while we’ve covered five great free database software to help you out, what you need ultimately boils down to your requirements.

For instance, if you want a no-fuss tool to house all your project data, go for ClickUp. 

With a whole lotta awesome features like Docs and relationships, ClickUp is the best database software for project data management. 

So why not join ClickUp for free today to become a project data wiz? 

Harry Potter holding a wand

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