If your business offers services online, you need a reliable database that can keep all your data secure and accessible. At Penji, we’re well aware of the value and convenience of one. It is a necessity in our development and operations. To help you decide on yours, here are the top 15 free cloud databases you can try now.

What are cloud databases?

First, let’s look into what a cloud database software is and how it can be beneficial for your startup. A cloud database is a storage system that lets you save files and data on a server that is connected to the internet. With a cloud database service provider, all the info stored in your company’s computers is transferred to the database, which you can access anywhere with an internet connection.

You no longer have to worry about storage space, weather damage, or hiring a technician every time your computer conks out. All your data is stored in the “clouds” somewhere in the wide, wide world of the internet.

As a startup, getting a cloud database service provider can be costly, but there are options out there to get it done absolutely free… with some limits.

Top 15 free cloud databases

Here are 15 of the best and free cloud databases you can try:

1. MySQL

MySQL free cloud database logo

The most popular open-source database, MySQL, has been around for more than 30 years. It has evolved and is known to be the best database for web-based apps such as Trello and Gmail. It uses the Structured Query Language (SQL) which lets you store data in tables, create indexes on the data, and query the data.

Facebook and Twitter are some examples of websites that use MySQL to store backend data. It supports a wide variety of systems and has a very low chance of getting your data corrupted. One of its low points, though, is that you need someone who is proficient in the SQL language for you to use it.

2. PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL elephant logo

PostgreSQL has also been around for a long time, but not as long as MySQL. Its more-than-20-year history has earned it the trust of major companies like Cisco and IMDb, to name a few. It can handle the storage, processing, and extraction of datasets—spatial and non-spatial—remarkably well.

PostgreSQL can manage a huge amount of data and a large number of users all at once. It can run on all major operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, and UNIX. It is somewhat lacking on the documentation side, but help is easy to find on the web.

3. NuoDB

NuoDB free cloud database logo

NuoDB is a database company founded in 2008 and its database tech is known to be highly scalable, ACID compliant, and efficient in hybrid workloads. It is easy to install and even easier to manage, with an affordable Enterprise edition for growing businesses.

This company claims that its free cloud database can handle a load of 1 million transactions per second that runs on just 20 servers. It can also work with other scripts of MySQL and other web development tools. While its interface may not be as appealing as other providers, its features can’t be beat.

4. MariaDB

MariaDB seal logo

MariaDB is the fastest-growing open source database available. It’s also one of the most stable and offers a flexible architecture that allows you to match your tools with your needs. MariaDB is optimized to increase query performance and processing.

This comes from a relatively new company but has the ability to adapt to your startup’s growing needs, as it also offers a paid version. Unfortunately, support isn’t free even if the software is.

5. Oracle Database XE

Oracle XE cloud database logo

One of the best tried-and-true relational databases, Oracle Database XE, is suitable for large installs. It performs well even when handling huge amounts of data. Its powerful architecture lets you develop and deploy apps with ease, but it’s still easy to install and manage.

One caveat, though: it can cost a lot if you want to go pro with the software. If you are on a limited budget, you may have to check the others before you look into this one.

6. MarkLogic

MarkLogic text based DB logo

MarkLogic provides you with 1TB of storage space for free. It has a feature that supports ACID transactions that you can rarely find in a NoSQL system.

While other software offers poor documentation, MarkLogic’s stands out as one of the best. However, upgrading can prove to be too costly for startups—even the hardware for it can be expensive. But for your first terabyte, this cloud-based database can suit your needs.

7. Azure SQL Database

Microsoft Azure logo

If you’re a startup that needs a flexible free cloud database solution, Azure SQL Database should be on your shortlist. It can easily be scaled without the need for more memory or new servers.

Since it’s already managed, you don’t have to worry about keeping up with infrastructure or upgrading. Migration from on-premise hardware can be difficult, though.

8. Google App Engine

google app engine free cloud database logo

Google App Engine lets you build web apps and mobile backends that are fully scalable. It comes with built-in services such as Memcache, No SQL datastores, and user authentication APIs. This is perfect for startups, as it allows for automatic scaling depending on the amount of traffic it receives.

It is offered free for a one-month trial period only, but you’ll only pay for the resources you use. In the long run, it’s still cheaper than others; you no longer have to worry about paying for the maintenance of servers.

9. MongoDB

MongoDB free cloud database green logo

MongoDB is a next-gen database software—and it’s notched over 30 million downloads since its founding in 2009. MetLife and Expedia use it for their storage needs.

Its document model allows you to develop software ideas in Java quite easily. It runs on multiple platforms and provides drivers for most languages, such as Python, C++, and Java. They’ve also got indexing, data replication, and ad hoc querying. However, setup can be a long and hard process.

10. Apache CouchDB


If classic SQL isn’t for you, Apache CouchDB is the database you should go for. You can store serialized objects as unstructured data in JSON formatted documents, ideal for web and mobile apps. The response time for queries is amazingly quick. It’s fully schema-free and can work efficiently on just one machine.

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11. Orient DB

OrientDB free cloud database logo

OrientDB is an excellent resource if you need a tool that can share data using clusters, do multi-master replication, and automate transactions and queries. This open-source NoSQL multi-model database works with various platforms –  Linux, Windows, Solaris, Mac OS X, and HP-UX. 

The database allows you to unlock graph databases without needing to deploy multiple systems that would handle other data types. This results in increased security and performance while still giving your business room to scale.

12. SQLite

SQLite logo

Consider SQLite if you want a C language library that provides you with a reliable, self-contained, and full-featured SQL database engine. SQLite prides itself on being the most used database engine in the world. In fact, it’s built into all mobile phones as well as most computers.

As the name suggests, this free cloud database is very lightweight compared to others. The in-memory library also allows clients to use it directly, even without having to install or configure anything. In the same vein, it doesn’t need its own server to store a database. 

13. Cassandra

Cassandra free cloud database eye logo

If you’re looking for a free tool that can manage a huge amount of data across a wide range of servers, Apache Cassandra is an excellent option. This cross-platform tool, available for SQL, Go, C++, Python, and Node JS, allows users to replicate across multiple data centers. 

This tool is extra useful for businesses needing a super available and scalable database without losing performance. The ventures that choose Cassandra do so because it allows data to be copied to numerous nodes, thus offering a fault-tolerance system. It also provides support for contracts and third-party services, making it a flexible, free cloud database.

What to Look for in a Cloud Database

Free does not always mean low in quality. To ensure that you get the best cloud database, here are a few things you need to look for:

  • Database type: Does your business require a related or structured database for customer information? Or does it need a non-relational database for flexible schemas? Make sure to get a cloud database that matches your needs.
  • Storage and performance limitations: Free plans typically offer limited features. When choosing a cloud database, check its storage capacity, query throughput, and concurrent connections. This will ensure its features align with your project’s requirements and demands. Check for scalability, too, for your company’s growth in the future.
  • Security and backup: Don’t compromise security by choosing a cloud database that offers strong encryption, access control, and backup options. These will protect your valuable data.
  • User-friendliness: Consider the technical expertise of the one who will handle the database. If you’re going to do it yourself, make sure that it is easy to use and manage. Choose one that needs no coding skills or complicated management tools.
  • Exit strategy: If your business outgrows the free plan, your cloud database should offer easy migration to its paid tier to avoid complicated data transfer.

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