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Firebase Vs MongoDB: Battle of the Best Databases For 2021

Krunal Shah

Aug 20, 2021

11 min readLast Updated Apr 27, 2023

Firebase Vs MongoDB

The realm of mobile app development is expanding at the ‘speed of light’ because of technological innovations. With the rapid advancements, it has become inevitable for businesses to keep pace with the changing trends. But in the quest of keeping pace, they are prone to committing some bad mistakes which could be dreadful. One such mistake is choosing the right database for mobile app development.

Businesses need to understand that the technical usage of every app development database is different. As every database has something different to offer, it is essential for the organization to understand its utility.

In the app development realm, Firebase Vs MongoDB has been ruling the roost since its inception. Moreover, the fact being both databases are NoSQL databases makes the rivalry even more interesting.

Therefore, in this blog, we will understand all the shades of Firebase Vs MongoDB. Along with it, we’ll also look into the factors that define the databases and give them an edge over each other.

So, let the batter for the best app development database for 2021 begin!

But in the beginning, let us understand what is the actual need for a database.

What is a Database and why is it necessary?


The basic purpose of a database is to store data in many different scenarios. It allows simpler data storage through spreadsheets and text files. In addition, it is very secure and is easy for the developers to access the data.

The necessity of a database

There are various reasons why databases are important. We have listed a few of them below for your convenience:

Managing large data

It becomes easier for the developers to store large amounts of data in a database in a synchronized order. Since the data is kept in an orderly fashion, it is easily accessible making it simpler to analyze the data.

Ease of update

With the help of Data Manipulation Languages (DML), it becomes easier to update the data. One of the leading DML is SQL.

Pinpoint accurate

A database consists of all the checks and built-in constraints which makes it pretty accurate. Thus, the information present in the database is correct in the majority of the cases.

Data Research

The process of data research is very easy in a database with the help of Data Query Languages (DQL). Be it performing computation on the data or searches, DQL has got all bases covered.

Data integrity and security

With different types of constraints for the data, the database ensures that the integrity of the data remains intact. In addition, it only allows authorized users to access the database, thus keeping a check on security as well.

What is a NoSQL Database?

NoSQL Database

It is easier to retrieve and store the data in a NoSQL database as it is a non-relational database. NoSQL databases are best suited for apps that handle big data and real-time data. Some of the leading NoSQL databases are as follows:

  • Firebase
  • MongoDB
  • Couchbase
  • Cassandra
  • HBase
  • Redis
  • CouchDB
  • Memcached
  • Neo4j
  • Oracle NoSQL
  • Elasticsearch

Now after understanding the database, it is time to dive deep into the Firebase Vs MongoDB battle.

Read More: Best Databases to Use for React Native Mobile App Development

What is Firebase?

what is firebase

In a nutshell, the Firebase database is nothing but a real-time engine with background connectivity. The database is presently acquired by Google and is an entire ecosystem for building mobile and website applications. Google Firebase has many offerings such as cloud function, storage, hosting, machine learning, and much more. Moreover, with respect to the Firebase Vs MongoDB saga, Firebase is an effective and more complete solution than MongoDB.

If you are from a non-technical background, consider Firebase as Backend-as-a-service. Firebase has all the characteristics of being a leading NoSQL database as it is best suited for handling real-time apps. Moreover, the database works consistently and perfectly fine across multiple devices.

Firebase offers extensive support for online mode, robust client libraries, comprehensive security rules, etc. In addition, it has an easy-to-use data browsing tool as well. As Firebase works pretty well in real-time, it is easier to fetch changes for the database as it happens.

The app data remain synchronized across all the user devices as Cloud Firebase allows to store the data in the cloud. As the data is in sync, the database is perfect for gaming apps, chatting apps, trading apps, etc.

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Advantages of Firebase

Firebase has many high-flying advantages that make the BaaS platform best suited for many businesses. Some of them are:

Safe hosting

One of the major ‘USPs’ of Firebase databases is that it renders safe and fast hosting services. Be it static or dynamic content, web application, etc. Firebase hosting supports all types of content. In addition, the non-zero configuration SSL plays a major role in enhancing the security levels.

Along with the safety, Firebase hosting is fast as well. With the Firebase CLI, the programmers can make the app live and run within seconds. Moreover, the Firebase hosting also renders the preview of URLs and the content.

Best for beginners

If you are a newbie programmer finding your feet in the app development realm, the Firebase database is best for you. Yes, the database allows the developers to develop the app for free. Thus, it becomes easier for the developers in the real environment through Firebase.

Moreover, the paid packages of Firebase are also user-friendly. It allows the developers to use the pricing calculator to estimate the cost of the project.

Magic of ML Kit

With the inclusion of the machine learning kit and dedicated APIs, the process of barcode scanning, text recognition, etc. becomes easier. Firebase ML renders cloud-based APIs which work well with the Google Cloud ML technology.

The usage of the ML kit enhances the user experience of the app and ensures perfection in performance as well.

Better revenues

As Firebase is backed by Google, it is easier for businesses to promote their product. Moreover, the Firebase App Indexing tool improves the search rankings of the app and provides the desired content to the users. This is where Firebase goes miles ahead in the Firebase Vs MongoDB battle.

The improved search rankings play a pivotal role in enhancing the overall app revenue as well. Moreover, Firebase App Indexing is a better monetization option than AdMob.

Improved app quality

This software development platform has some of the better app testing services. This is why it is preferred by the majority of software developers. Firebase, instead of offering a single testing service, offers a full range of services to the users.

Some of the leading testing services of Firebase are:

  • Firebase Test Lab
  • Firebase Crashlytics
  • Firebase App Distribution
  • Firebase Performance Monitoring

Read More: Integrating Firebase push notification in Android Application using Ionic

Disadvantages of Firebase

Like it is the case with every database, Firebase has some downsides as well. Let us have a look at them one by one.

Unpredictable pricing

There are two versions of Firebase:

  • Base Plan: ‘Pay as you go’ option for the application at scale
  • Spark Plan: 100% free

Now, there is no issue with the Spark plan, Base plan is where the problem area begins. There is no way of knowing the rise in price in advance. Therefore, business companies cannot decide on a budget for app development. Moreover, since there is no fixed price, the Base plan can become both a boon and curse for your business.

Not enough support for iOS features

Despite being tipped as a cross-platform app development solution; Firebase is more inclined towards Android. Also, it makes complete sense as the database is backed and powered by Google. But on the flip side, it does not have enough support for iOS.

Moreover, the version of Firebase constantly keeps changing. Thus, it is not possible to have enough support for certain IOS features.

Data migration issues

Firebase uses JSON which has zero SQL features. Because of this, it becomes a task to migrate the data when the product grows. Firebase does not allow written queries in SQL if you wish to move large amounts of data. Thus, data migration is way more complicated in Firebase as compared to other SQL databases.

When to use Firebase?

Another parameter to judge the fierce battle of Firebase Vs MongoDB is based on their usage. Below are the situations where you can use Firebase:

  • If the app needs real-time data and if you are short on the application development time
  • According to your requirement, you are planning to scale the mobile app frequently
  • If you need intuitive API with a view to having seamless third-party integration
  • Need of real-time synchronization between browsers and devices
  • If you are building apps such as social media apps, messaging apps, gaming apps, etc.

When not to use Firebase?

Now there are situations where businesses should refrain from using the Firebase software development platform. They are:

  • If you are building an iOS app
  • If you are willing to own your user data
  • Firebase is not a cheap option when your monthly plan exceeds the time limit

List of Leading companies using Firebase

There are a bunch of market leaders who prefer Firebase a lot. They are:

  • Shazam
  • Venmo
  • The New York Times
  • NPR One
  • The Economist
  • Duolingo
  • Lyft

Read More: Full Stack Developer VS Mean Stack Developer

What Is MongoDB?

what is mongoDB

In simple words, MongoDB is a database document with plenty of flexibility and scalability required for indexing and querying. In addition, the document model of MongoDB is simpler for the developers to learn and use. Despite having an easy learning curve, it renders all the capabilities to meet the complex requirements.

This document-oriented NoSQL database is used for storing very high volumes of data. In contrast to the norm, MongoDB uses documents and collections to store the data. The Documents here are basic units of data in MongoDB. While on the other hand, Collection is a set of documents equivalent to relational database tables. This feature keeps it a step ahead in the neck-to-neck Firebase Vs MongoDB battle.

Despite being not a complete app development ecosystem like Firebase, MongoDB is adopted widely worldwide. This is because it can power different app categories and focuses only on data storage.

Advantages of MongoDB

MongoDB has very notable advantages that make it a leading NoSQL database. We have listed some of them below:

Access to code-native data

Unlike other databases, MongoDB does not use heavy wrappers like Object Relational Mappers (ORM). Instead, it stores and represents the data in document format. Thus, the structure of the data is native to that language and it can be accessed from any language.  For example Maps in Java, dictionaries in Python, associative arrays in JavaScript, etc.

Flexible Document Schemas

It is easier to manipulate the document model data structure in MongoDB. The database has a BSON format that allows it to include objects of different sets of fields in one collection.

In addition, MongoDB creates explicit schemas so that nothing gets out of control. Moreover, its flexibility is incredible in handling real-world data and manages the change in the environment.

Easy Horizontal Scale-out

Here MongoDB tips out Firebase in the Firebase Vs MongoDB battle for supremacy. It is a distributed database that is designed from the ground. Moreover, here the developers can create clusters with real-time replication and fragment large collections across multiple structures.

Better Analytics

The prime objective behind designing the MongoDB database was to make data analytics easier. Moreover, if you need to do complex querying, MongoDB is more than up to the task.

MongoDB has a powerful MongoDB Query Language (MQL) that is fully featured and allows the query deep into documents. Moreover, you can also perform complex analytics pipelines with JSON-like MQL.

Read More: What is MEAN Stack? MEAN Stack Components and Benefits

Disadvantages of MongoDB

We are all aware of the fact that nothing is fully complete or perfect. So with the advantages, MongoDB has its own set of perils as well. They are:

High memory usage

MongoDB has no functionality of joins which creates data redundancy. Moreover, it also stores key names for each value pair. Therefore, all this results in large usage of memory.

Joins not supported

Unlike a relational database, MongoDB does not support joins. This is a huge setback for the database in the closely fought Firebase Vs MongoDB battle. Although, you can use the joins by adding and coding them manually. But it can also slow down the entire execution process.

Limited data size and nesting

The developers cannot have a document size of more than 16 MB in MongoDB. While they cannot perform the nesting of documents for more than 100 levels.

When to use MongoDB?

There are certain situations where using MongoDB is preferred as compared to Firebase. They are:

  • When the app has evolving data requirements
  • MongoDB is preferred for large enterprise data management
  • The app requires high-speed logging and real-time analytics
  • There is a need to maintain location-based data
  • Requirement of high scalability and better caching

When not to use MongoDB?

On the positive side, there are times when businesses should refrain from opting for MongoDB. They are:

  • If there is a need for complete ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) compliance
  • If you are planning to build a detailed design system
  • If the system is highly transactional
  • When the data model is designed upfront

Read More: How to use Docker and Docker Compose with NodeJS (NodeJS + Mongodb + Elasticsearch)

Leading companies using MongoDB?

Below is the list of leading business organizations that we have reaped rich benefits of MongoDB

  • Adobe
  • eBay
  • Coinbase
  • SEGA
  • EA
  • Verizon
  • eharmony

Finally, who has the upper hand in 2021?

After understanding different parameters that impact the Firebase Vs MongoDB battle, it is time to see which platform is better. Both the technologies have their own perks and perils. Firebase is designed for real-time updates while MongoDB is best for quick data handling.

Thus, it is important for the businesses to first understand its requirements and then opt for the database. Look at all pros and cons before you make the final decision


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No matter what database you choose for app development, you will need an experienced app development firm. Thus, it is advised to consult the best mobile app development company to leverage the benefits of Firebase and MongoDB.

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Krunal Shah

Krunal Shah is the CTO and Co-founder at Third Rock Techkno. With extensive experience gained over a decade, Krunal helps his clients build software solutions that stand out in the industry and are lighter on the pocket.

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