Everything is moving to the cloud.
Music, photos, video, and even virtual high-powered computers are all accessible without the need for local storage. What used to be a server rack in an IT closet, is now secured access to a database stored far away in a data center. That’s where SQL comes in.
SQL, an acronym for Structured Query Language, is the standard method for storing data. Data stored in SQL databases is formatted in tables with columns and rows similar to a spreadsheet.
Each column in a table can store data in a variety of formats including decimals, integers, strings, paragraphs, and more. Each row in a table is a considered a record, and tables can have thousands or millions of records.
SQL databases come in a handful of flavors. The most popular variants include Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft SQL.
|Oracle||A paid database developed by Oracle Corporation ideal for large organizations that want the latest technology.|
|MySQL||A free and open-source database developed by Oracle Corporation used by organizations and individuals who want a free and reliable database.|
|Microsoft SQL||Another paid database maintained by Microsoft for organizations ideal for those who are accustomed to using Microsoft products.|
All SQL databases, regardless of type, must be hosted. While many companies offer cloud database hosting including Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, few hosting companies offer completely free hosting solutions.
GearHost offers 5MB of completely free MySQL hosting. Now, you may be thinking, “What can I store with just 5MB?” but remember data stored in SQL is comprised of many small data points in the form of text and numbers which take up bytes of storage at a time.
With that being said, this is a great way to practice with a SQL database on the cloud, just don’t expect to store all of your life’s work.
Getting started with GearHost is easy.
Step 1: Set Up an Account
Start by making an account on gearhost.com. Once logged in, you will have access to your dashboard where you can set up your database from the Databases tab. Click on Create Database to get started.
Step 2: Select a Database
Select MySQL with a 5MB storage limit to start building your database. Then click Create Empty Database. Fill out the required fields to obtain your database login credentials.
Step 3: Obtain Login Credentials
Once your database has been set up, make note of the login credentials used to access your database. You will need the server, username, and password to login.
Step 4: Login to Your Database
Using your database credentials, login to MySQL Workbench, the official visual database design tool for MySQL databases. You can download MySQL Workbench for Mac or PC here.
It is that simple! You are now ready to start building a SQL database and practice writing SQL queries.