Building a Free Database

Databases create structure for all your stored information in a way that is easily accessed, managed, and updated. Building the right database from scratch can be complicated and expensive. Fortunately, there are solutions that allow you to build your own database for free.

To learn how to do more with your database, register for our free online courses on MongoDB University.


What is a database and do I need one?

Integrating a database into your business is a highly technical process that requires significant planning, creation, and management. While some organizations may have a team dedicated to managing a database if you’re working on your own project and need a database, the best option is to use a database service that allows you to build a platform for your unique data collection. In a world where big data dominates, data storage is a major consideration for businesses of all sizes.

Incorporating a powerful, flexible database into your business will improve the quality of data by providing a disciplined approach for managing and accessing data. Whether you’re an eCommerce store and want to organize inventory, a sales and marketing team tracking the customer journey, or you want to build custom app solutions, a fast, secure database is a necessary tool for your business.

Should I create a database online or locally?

Building a database on your own infrastructure typically requires more resources and can be very time-consuming. It also becomes more difficult to scale, and migrate over to the cloud. If you can start on the cloud, with a cloud database, it's typically the best option and will avoid extra stress and work later on. Cloud databases offer the flexibility to deploy a product or process data transactions anywhere in real-time. They offer more opportunities for growth. However, if you’re just testing out your options or learning, you can build a free database on the cloud or on your own server, and there are benefits to both.

On the cloud – MongoDB Atlas

You can deploy a MongoDB database in the cloud with just a few clicks. With best-in-class automation and proven practices that guarantee high availability, elastic scalability, and optimal performance, MongoDB Atlas is the easiest way to try out the database for free on AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud.

On your infrastructure (locally) - MongoDB Community Server

MongoDB offers a Community version of its powerful distributed document database. With this free and open database, download the MongoDB server to secure and encrypt your data and gain access to an advanced in-memory storage engine.

When should you use free database solutions?

Free and open-source database tools are most appealing to small businesses and individual developers, or app creators. When you’re in startup mode, you need to prioritize your resources. Building a database from the ground up is an unnecessary entanglement and expense. You can also use these solutions to test the features and functionality of a specific database, such as MongoDB Atlas, or MongoDB Community.

A free database service offers opportunities to build data models and data access patterns that address common applications while you determine your best path forward. If you use a cloud database service, you’re better positioned to scale out your database across multiple instances and geographic locations.

Using the MongDB Atlas free tier, you can explore a pet project, test new ideas, and run models on 500MB of space before committing to a larger, long-term solution. MongoDB provides an open-source database solution, which follows a document data model. This is especially useful for building new apps and updating the existing ones.

Once you’ve established your proof of concept, MongoDB Atlas continues to support your growth by managing nearly all the overhead administration such as configuration, infrastructure provisioning, running patches, scaling events, ensuring security, and guaranteeing backups.

How can I create an online database for free?

You can sign up for MongoDB Atlas and create an online database for free here.

To get started, you will need some basic knowledge of programming concepts such as command line or Unix shell commands, functions, variables, and boolean operators.

Step 1: Ask the right questions for your business needs

Before you build your database, you want to make sure you answer primary questions about how the database will best serve your business. Questions to consider include the kind of data you need to collect, how you intend to use the data, who will use the data, how much growth or change do you expect, and how flexible do you need your database to be.

Step 2: Determine how your data is structured

These days it is highly likely you are going to be using unstructured data sources, but this data can have internal structural elements. They’re considered ‘unstructured’ because their information doesn’t lend itself to the table formatting required by a relational database. Non-relational databases, such as MongoDB, are the preferred choice for storing many kinds of unstructured data.

You will also want to collect and clean the data you currently own. As simple as it may seem, the last thing you want to manage is messy data in a test environment when you are just getting started. You can also use sample data to experiment and test.

Step 3: Deploy and test

The beauty of a database service is that you can create customized business tools that will help further your business without needing to be a coding expert or stretching your budget to afford one.

With MongoDB Atlas you can create and deploy a small-scale development environment to host your data. You can choose your preferred cloud provider (AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud), region (limited in the free version), and specs. Starter clusters are ideal for developing proof-of-concept applications. If you’re just getting started with building your first database, this is also an excellent learning resource.

Our documentation walks you through how to create a free tier cluster on MongoDB Atlas using the cloud provider and region of your choice. It also includes instructions on how to load our pre-prepared sample datasets for a quick way to explore the possibilities if you don’t have your data cluster ready.

MongoDB Atlas simplifies the process so you can build modern, responsive applications with database triggers.

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