SQLite Tutorial: What is SQLite?

An RDBMS or Relational Database Management System indicates a group of programs used by IT teams to design, update and administer relational databases. While choosing relational databases, there are multiple options like Oracle 12c, IBM, MySQL, SQLite, etc. This article talks about SQLite, built with C language. SQLite is not an isolated application but a library that the developers incorporate into the applications.

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Explore this piece on what SQLite is and learn about its features, uses, and benefits.

What is SQLite?

It is a database engine enabling an interaction scope with a relational database. SQLite stores the database in a single file, a unique feature distinguishing it from others. SQLite code stays in the public domain, making it free to use for various purposes.

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A brief history of SQLite

Users can understand SQLite designing and development from the following timeline:


SQLite was designed to operate programs irrespective of database management installation or without a database administrator.

August 2000

SQLite 1.0 was released in the market, the storage of which was based on GNU database manager or gdbm.

September 2001

SQLite 2.0 was released, where custom B-tree implementation substituted gdbm and further added transaction capacity.

June 2004

SQLite 3.0 was released with improvements, like manifest typing, internationalisation, etc.


Hipp declared his plans of incorporating a NoSQL interface to the SQLite database, thus creating UnQlite.

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Exclusive features of SQLite

Now that you know what SQLite is, let’s discuss a few of its features. Some of the fantastic features of SQLite are given below:


SQLite is considered ‘self-contained’ because it doesn’t have many dependencies and can run smoothly in any operating system. Furthermore, it doesn’t use any other external library or interface apart from a C-library.

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SQLite is entirely free and requires no additional license to operate.


Any RDBMS, in general, demands a separate server to function, which is not the case with SQLite. Its database is combined with applications that have access to the database.

Allows multitasking

Another feature of SQLite is its flexibility. It provides an opportunity for the user to work simultaneously on multiple databases, at the same time and same session.

Zero configuration

There isn’t any additional ‘installation’ or ‘set-up’ procedure with SQLite before using it. Furthermore, there isn’t any requirement for any action after the system has crashed or after any case of power failure.

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Every SQLite transaction is ACID-compliant, which simply means each query or change in SQLite is Atomic (A), Consistent (C), Isolated (I), and Durable (D).

Where is SQLite used?

Over time, SQLite has made its way to an array of fields, which are:

Operating Systems

SQLite is built-in in these Operating Systems:

  • MeeGo
  • Android
  • Tizen
  • BlackBerry
  • iPhone
  • webOS
  • Mac OS X 10.4 and above

Web Browsers

  • Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, Android Browser (uses SQLite database for storing and retrieving information)
  • Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird (SQLite databases used to store data like cookies, contacts, bookmarks, etc.)

Some well-known SQLite users

Here are some of the tech giants well known to be SQLite users:


SQLite is used as an application file format for Photoshop Lightroom and in AIR or Adobe Integrated Runtime.


The services like file archiving or synchronisation in Dropbox utilise SQLite.


Apple uses SQLite for most of its native applications, iPhones, iPods, and iTunes.


For multimedia system installation on Nissan, GM, and Suzuki automobiles, Bosch also utilises SQLite.


Windows 10 Microsoft is built with SQLite as its pivotal component.

McAfee: SQLite is used by MacAfee in its range of antivirus products.

When should you use SQLite?

Certain scenarios are perfect for using SQLite, which are:

  • You are developing small, autonomous applications.
  • If reading and writing are required from the disk directly.
  • Projects are small and don’t demand scalability.

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What are the pros and cons of SQLite?

Like any other database engine, SQLite also has certain advantages and disadvantages.


  • It is a lightweight database and thus has ease of use.
  • The operations, writing, and reading are fast. Thus, SQLite has a better performance.
  • SQLite doesn’t demand a separate installation process, and simply downloading it is sufficient.
  • SQLite isn’t prone to bugs and continuously updates the content you’re working on. Thus, SQLite is reliable.
  • An array of third-party tools have accessibility to SQLite databases, which makes chances of data recovery higher.

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  • The size of the database is restricted, in most cases, to 2GB.
  • SQLite can only handle medium to low HTTP traffic requests.
  • SQLite lacks user management.
  • SQLite isn’t suitably built for any large-scale app.

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What is the difference between MySQL and SQLite?

There are quite some distinctive differences between MySQL and SQLite. These are: 1)Data Types: MySQL can support more data types, like Float, Read, Numeric, Decimal, Char, etc. On the other hand, SQLite only supports Integer, Null, Blob, Text, Real. 2) Storage: SQLite library is approximately 250 KB only, while MySQL is heavier, requiring nearly 600 MB storage. 3) Scalability: SQLite has limited scalability and is better for smaller apps. MySQL has greater scalability and is tuned to handle more extensive databases.

What are the data types available in SQLite?

SQLite provides four data types. These are: INTEGER REAL TEXT BLOB NULL

Is SQLite single user or multi-user?

SQLite has a range of features, and supporting multiple users at a time is one of them. However, SQLite locks the entire database while the users are writing, but it doesn’t cause major issues because the lock-in period remains only for a few milliseconds.

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