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Mila Wu for Bytebase

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👻Top 8 Free, Open Source SQL Clients🔥

In the past, the only way to access or modify a database was through the command line, which was not only not intuitive, but also prone to errors that could lead to major problems. So people began to develop tools with a graphical user interface (GUI), and that became what we now know as SQL clients, which are basically front-end applications for database services. In this post, we are taking a look at some open source SQL clients options for you to try.


SQL Chat

SQL Chat is a young player, prompting SQL clients from the traditional GUI-based to the Chat-based stage: it's powered by ChatGPT to write and polish SQL for you.


Databases supported now include MySQL, PostgreSQL and MSSQL. You can access it directly via or deploy it via Docker.


DBeaver is a veteran SQL client. In addition to basic visualization and management capabilities, it has a SQL editor, data and schema migration capabilities, monitor database connections, and more. It supports a full range of databases (both SQL and NoSQL). DBeaver is also hooked up with GPT-3, which converts your natural language to SQL.


Beekeeper Studio

Beekeeper Studio is a modern (aesthetic) and lightweight SQL client that supports MySQL, Postgres, SQLite, SQL Server, etc. It is available on Linux, Mac and Windows.



DbGate works in Windows, Linux, Mac, and your web browsers without compromises in functionality. Both SQL and noSQL databases are supported, from MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, MongoDB, SQLite, to CockroachDB.



Sqlectron is lightweight SQL client with simplicity in mind. It has cross-database (PostgreSQL, Redshift, MySQL, MariaDB, SQL Server, Cassandra, SQLite) and platform (Mac, Linux, Windows) support.



HeidiSQL is also a lightweight SQL client that supports a long list of databases including MariaDB, MySQL, MS SQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Interbase and Firebird. In addition to basic SQL client functionalities, users can export structures and data to SQL files or copy them to the clipboard or other servers.


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phpMyAdmin was born in 1998, written in PHP, and is a classic SQL client. It was the default tool for LAMP and MAMP at that time. phpMyAdmin has grown to become one of the leading tools for managing MySQL and MySQL-like databases (e.g. MariaDB) It has over 200,000 direct downloads per month (and countless other users install it using prepackaged installations or using package managers).


pgAdmin 4

pgAdmin to PostgreSQL is what phpMyAdmin is to MySQL, and it can be used on Linux, Unix, macOS and Windows to manage PostgreSQL. pgAdmin 4, the latest pgAdmin, is a complete rewrite of pgAdmin using Python and Javascript/jQuery.


To summarize

We briefly looked at the history of a handful of SQL Clients to understand some of the more famous open source solutions, rather than comparing the product or their functions (I mean, after 20 years of refinement those vetran SQL clients can't be too bad, right?) . It seems that most of the authors began building because they were unable to find a product that fit their needs perfectly, but the story afterwards is very different: some tools were then commercialized, some continued on with a strong community, and some gradually faded out due to a change of focus.

And we wonder, with the popularity of ChatGPT, will there be more open source SQL clients like SQL Chat based on Chat interaction?

Beyond using the general SQL Client to interact with the databases, developers and DBAs also adopt a dedicated tool to compare and synchronize database schemas, go check out those tools.

And if you want an all-in-one tool to provide not only general SQL Client features, but also management capabilities such as change approval workflow, data access control, you can check out our open-source project Bytebase.

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Top comments (2)

dhruvjoshi9 profile image
Dhruv Joshi

It was nice read!

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