SQLite pros and cons: a short overview

SQLite is a software library that provides an embedded SQL database. It’s a relational database engine that’s designed to provide a way for software applications to manage data on their own. It’s also the most widely deployed database engine in the world today.

But there are plenty of database management systems to choose from. Do you go with SQLite or a dedicated system? Is SQL the type of database you need? What works for others might not be what works for you.

With all this in mind, knowing the benefits and drawbacks of SQLite is handy. So, we’ve outlined some of the headline SQLite pros and cons.

A few terms before we begin:

Software library: a collection of pre-written resources used by/in the creation of computer programs

Embedded database: a database management system that gets embedded into application software

Relational database: a.k.a. SQL database. A database that allows you to show the relationship between data points

SQL: Structured Query Language, a programming language used to execute queries, retrieve and edit data, etc.

SQLite pros

The first stop on our list of SQLite pros and cons are the positives of choosing and using SQLite.

  • It’s serverless

SQLite is serverless, meaning that it doesn’t require a server to run. This is a positive on the SQLite pros and cons list. Being serverless means no server processes need to be configured for the database to be usable.  

  • ‘Lite’-weight

SQLite is a lightweight, simple option. It isn’t weighed down by extraneous features. It requires no configuration (thanks to being serverless). And, it doesn’t require a lot of database admin, and it’s also light on required resources.

In short, it’s simple and easy to start using.

  • Self-contained performance

SQLite is (usually) faster than a server-based counterpart or a file-based system. This is because it only loads needed data, rather than entire files.

Due to being self-contained, SQLite also doesn’t require much support from the operating system or an external library, etc., which helps to boost its performance efficiency.


So far, it’s all sounding pretty good. But the other side of the coin holds some negative entries for our list of SQLite pros and cons.

  • It hasn’t got network access

One of the pros in our SQLite pros and cons list is that it’s serverless, boosting speed and lowering complexity. However, it also means that the database is confined to the machine it’s stored on only. It doesn’t allow for remote work on another PC, for instance.

  • It’s not suitable for large scale apps

SQLite is light, it’s small, it’s great for a desktop or a phone — local storage with a small footprint. When it comes to bigger apps with lots of concurrent users and lots of data, SQLite is less optimal. These uses require a much more heavy-duty, server-based DBMS.

  • It has a limited database size

This brings us to the next consideration in our list of SQLite pros and cons. That is, it has a limited data size. Because SQLite stores the entire database in a single disk file, the size of the file is restricted to what the system you’re using can allow. So, if you want an expansive database, you probably want to look at a client/server DBMS.

SQLite pros and cons

TL;DR: SQLite is a lightweight embedded relational database. It’s strong at keeping track of localised data and it doesn’t require a lot of configuration or resources. The payoff for this is that it’s not suitable for bigger database needs.