When it comes to storing data online, spreadsheets and databases are two possible options. Understanding the differences between them is crucial to find the best tool for your task.
Spreadsheets (Excel and Google Sheets) are easy to use and inexpensive. They are the go-to solution when it comes to simple analytics and data manipulation. For example, spreadsheet tools offer analytics features to display charts or create pivot tables.
Databases are designed to handle larger datasets and structured data. They offer built-in data constraints to force field format or to avoid duplicate information. Databases have powerful query languages to search and filter their data. These features are powerful but add complexity compared to spreadsheets. As a result, databases have a steep learning curve.
If you need to connect to your data programmatically, databases are the go-to solution. Thanks to its data structure, a database ensure the data is valid before saving it.
If you need to store less than 1 million records and don't need to connect your data to an application, spreadsheets do the job.