Difference between scaling horizontally and vertically for databases?

Created May 14, 2023


When your application or website starts to receive more traffic, you'll need to think about how to scale your database to handle the additional load. There are two main ways to scale a database: vertically and horizontally. Let's dive in and understand the differences between these two approaches.

1. Vertical Scaling (Scale-up)**

Vertical scaling, also known as scaling up, involves adding more resources to your existing server to enhance its computational power. This could mean increasing the CPU power, RAM, SSD, or other hardware resources on your existing machine.

Advantages of Vertical Scaling:

Disadvantages of Vertical Scaling:

2. Horizontal Scaling (Scale-out)

Horizontal scaling, also known as scaling out, involves adding more servers to your existing pool of servers. The load is distributed across multiple servers, thereby increasing the ability to handle more requests.

Advantages of Horizontal Scaling:

Disadvantages of Horizontal Scaling:

Scaling Databases

When it comes to databases, both scaling methods have their place.


In conclusion, the choice between vertical and horizontal scaling depends on the specific needs of your database and application. You may also use a combination of both methods for different parts of your application, using a technique known as hybrid scaling.

For more information on database scaling, I would recommend checking out this post here:

Database Sharding Explained