SQLite (/ˌɛsˌkjuːˌɛlˈt/,[4][5] /ˈskwəˌlt/[6]) is a relational database management system (RDBMS) contained in a C library. In contrast to many other database management systems, SQLite is not a client–server database engine. Rather, it is embedded into the end program.

Developer(s)D. Richard Hipp
Initial release17 August 2000 (2000-08-17)
Stable release3.30.1[1] (October 10, 2019 (2019-10-10)) [±]
Preview release
3.30.0 / 15 August 2019 (2019-08-15) snapshot(tarball) is stable since 15 August 2019
Written inC
Operating systemCross-platform
Size699 KiB
TypeRDBMS (embedded)
LicensePublic domain[2]
SQLite Database File Format
Filename extension.sqlite3, .sqlite, .db
Internet media typeapplication/vnd.sqlite3[3]
Magic number53 51 4c 69 74 65 20 66 6f 72 6d 61 74 20 33 00 (zero-terminated ASCII "SQLite format 3")
Initial release2004-06-18
Open format?yes (Public Domain)

SQLite is ACID-compliant and implements most of the SQL standard, generally following PostgreSQL syntax. However, SQLite uses a dynamically and weakly typed SQL syntax that does not guarantee the domain integrity.[7] This means that one can, for example, insert a string into a column defined as an integer. SQLite will attempt to convert data between formats where appropriate, the string "123" into an integer in this case, but does not guarantee such conversions, and will store the data as-is if such a conversion is not possible.

SQLite is a popular choice as embedded database software for local/client storage in application software such as web browsers. It is arguably the most widely deployed database engine, as it is used today by several widespread browsers, operating systems, and embedded systems (such as mobile phones), among others.[8] SQLite has bindings to many programming languages.


Unlike client–server database management systems, the SQLite engine has no standalone processes with which the application program communicates. Instead, the SQLite library is linked in and thus becomes an integral part of the application program. Linking may be static or dynamic. The application program uses SQLite's functionality through simple function calls, which reduce latency in database access: function calls within a single process are more efficient than inter-process communication.

SQLite stores the entire database (definitions, tables, indices, and the data itself) as a single cross-platform file on a host machine. It implements this simple design by locking the entire database file during writing. SQLite read operations can be multitasked, though writes can only be performed sequentially.

Due to the server-less design, SQLite applications require less configuration than client-server databases. SQLite is called zero-conf[9] because it does not require service management (such as startup scripts) or access control based on GRANT and passwords. Access control is handled by means of file system permissions given to the database file itself. Databases in client-server systems use file system permissions which give access to the database files only to the daemon process.

Another implication of the serverless design is that several processes may not be able to write to the database file. In server-based databases, several writers will all connect to the same daemon, which is able to handle its locks internally. SQLite on the other hand has to rely on file-system locks. It has less knowledge of the other processes that are accessing the database at the same time. Therefore, SQLite is not the preferred choice for write-intensive deployments.[10] However, for simple queries with little concurrency, SQLite performance profits from avoiding the overhead of passing its data to another process.

SQLite uses PostgreSQL as a reference platform. "What would PostgreSQL do" is used to make sense of the SQL standard.[11][12] One major deviation is that, with the exception of primary keys, SQLite does not enforce type checking; the type of a value is dynamic and not strictly constrained by the schema (although the schema will trigger a conversion when storing, if such a conversion is potentially reversible). SQLite strives to follow Postel's Rule.[13]


D. Richard Hipp designed SQLite in the spring of 2000 while working for General Dynamics on contract with the United States Navy.[14] Hipp was designing software used for a damage-control system aboard guided missile destroyers, which originally used HP-UX with an IBM Informix database back-end. SQLite began as a Tcl extension.[15]

The design goals of SQLite were to allow the program to be operated without installing a database management system or requiring a database administrator. Hipp based the syntax and semantics on those of PostgreSQL 6.5. In August 2000, version 1.0 of SQLite was released, with storage based on gdbm (GNU Database Manager). SQLite 2.0 replaced gdbm with a custom B-tree implementation, adding transaction capability. SQLite 3.0, partially funded by America Online, added internationalization, manifest typing, and other major improvements.

In 2011 Hipp announced his plans to add a NoSQL interface (managing documents expressed in JSON) to SQLite databases and to develop UnQLite, an embeddable document-oriented database.[16]


SQLite implements most of the SQL-92 standard for SQL but it lacks some features. For example, it partially provides triggers, and it cannot write to views (however it provides INSTEAD OF triggers that provide this functionality). While it provides complex queries, it still has limited ALTER TABLE function, as it cannot modify or delete columns.[17]

SQLite uses an unusual type system for an SQL-compatible DBMS; instead of assigning a type to a column as in most SQL database systems, types are assigned to individual values; in language terms it is dynamically typed. Moreover, it is weakly typed in some of the same ways that Perl is: one can insert a string into an integer column (although SQLite will try to convert the string to an integer first, if the column's preferred type is integer). This adds flexibility to columns, especially when bound to a dynamically typed scripting language. However, the technique is not portable to other SQL products. A common criticism is that SQLite's type system lacks the data integrity mechanism provided by statically typed columns in other products. The SQLite web site describes a "strict affinity" mode, but this feature has not yet been added.[13] However, it can be implemented with constraints like CHECK(typeof(x)='integer').[14]

Tables normally include a hidden rowid index column which gives faster access.[18] If a database includes an Integer Primary Key column SQLite will typically optimize it by treating it as an alias for rowid, causing the contents to be stored as a strictly typed 64-bit signed integer and changing its behavior to be somewhat like an auto-incrementing column. Future versions of SQLite may include a command to introspect whether a column has behavior like that of rowid to differentiate these columns from weakly-typed, non-autoincrementing Integer Primary Keys.[19]

SQLite with full Unicode function is optional.[20]

Several computer processes or threads may access the same database concurrently. Several read accesses can be satisfied in parallel. A write access can only be satisfied if no other accesses are currently being serviced. Otherwise, the write access fails with an error code (or can automatically be retried until a configurable timeout expires). This concurrent access situation would change when dealing with temporary tables. This restriction is relaxed in version 3.7 when write-ahead logging (WAL) is turned on enabling concurrent reads and writes.[21]

SQLite version 3.7.4 first saw the addition of the FTS4 (full text search) module, which features enhancements over the older FTS3 module.[22] FTS4 allows users to perform full text searches on documents similar to how search engines search webpages.[23] Version 3.8.2 added support for creating tables without rowid,[24] which may provide space and performance improvements.[25] Common table expressions support was added to SQLite in version 3.8.3.[26]

In 2015, with the json1 extension[27] and new subtype interfaces, SQLite version 3.9 introduced JSON content managing.

Development and distribution

SQLite's code is hosted with Fossil, a distributed version control system that is itself built upon an SQLite database.[28]

A standalone command-line program is provided in SQLite's distribution. It can be used to create a database, define tables, insert and change rows, run queries and manage an SQLite database file. It also serves as an example for writing applications that use the SQLite library.

SQLite uses automated regression testing prior to each release. Over 2 million tests are run as part of a release's verification. Starting with the August 10, 2009 release of SQLite 3.6.17, SQLite releases have 100% branch test coverage, one of the components of code coverage. The tests and test harnesses are partially public domain and partially proprietary.[29]

Notable uses


  • ADO.NET adapter, initially developed by Robert Simpson, is maintained jointly with the SQLite developers since April 2010.[30]
  • ODBC driver has been developed and is maintained separately by Christian Werner.[31] Werner's ODBC driver is the recommended connection method for accessing SQLite from OpenOffice.org.[32]
  • COM (ActiveX) wrapper making SQLite accessible on Windows to scripted languages such as JScript and VBScript. This adds SQLite database capabilities to HTML Applications (HTA).[33]
  • XULRunner uses SQLite

Web browsers

  • The browsers Google Chrome, Opera, Safari and the Android Browser all allow for storing information in, and retrieving it from, a SQLite database within the browser, using the Web SQL Database technology, although this is rapidly becoming deprecated (namely superseded by IndexedDB).
  • Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird store a variety of configuration data (bookmarks, cookies, contacts etc.) in internally managed SQLite databases. Until the advent of Firefox version 57 ("Firefox Quantum"), there is a third-party add-on that uses the code supporting this functionality to provide a user interface for managing arbitrary SQLite databases.[34]
  • Several third-party add-ons can make use of JavaScript APIs to manage SQLite databases.[35][36]

Web application frameworks


Operating systems

SQLite is included by default in:[15]

Programming language support

A large number of programming languages provide bindings for SQLite, including:

See also



  1. "SQLite Release 3.30.1 On 2019-10-10". Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  2. "SQLite Copyright". sqlite.org. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  3. "SQLite database file format media type at IANA". Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. IANA. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  4. "Why SQLite succeeded as a database — Richard Hipp, creator of SQLite". The Changelog. Episode 201. Event occurs at 00:17:25. How do I pronounce the name of the product? I say S-Q-L-ite, like a mineral.
  5. D. Richard Hipp (presenter) (May 31, 2006). An Introduction to SQLite (video). Google Inc. Event occurs at 00:01:14. Retrieved March 23, 2010. [...] ess-kju-ellite [...]
  6. D. Richard Hipp (presenter) (May 31, 2006). An Introduction to SQLite. Google Inc. Event occurs at 00:48:15. Retrieved March 23, 2010. [...] sequelite [...]
  7. Owens, Michael (2006). "Chapter 4: SQL". In Gilmore, Jason; Thomas, Keir (eds.). The Definitive Guide to SQLite. D. Richard Hipp (foreword), Preston Hagar (technical reviewer). Apress. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-59059-673-9. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  8. "Most Widely Deployed SQL Database Estimates". SQLite.org. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  9. "SQLite Is A Zero-Configuration Database". SQLite.org. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  10. "Appropriate Uses For SQLite". SQLite.org. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
  11. "PGCon 2014: Clustering and VODKA". Lwn.net. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  12. "PGCon2014: SQLite: Protégé of PostgreSQL". Pgcon.org. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  13. "SQLite: StrictMode". Sqlite.org. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  14. Owens, Michael (2006). The Definitive Guide to SQLite. Apress. doi:10.1007/978-1-4302-0172-4_1. ISBN 978-1-59059-673-9.
  15. "Well-Known Users Of SQLite". SQLite. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  16. "Interview: Richard Hipp on UnQL, a New Query Language for Document Databases". InfoQ. August 4, 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  17. "SQL Features That SQLite Does Not Implement". SQLite.org. January 1, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
  18. "SQL As Understood By SQLite". SQLite. Retrieved 21 May 2018. Searching for a record with a specific rowid, or for all records with rowids within a specified range is around twice as fast as a similar search made by specifying any other PRIMARY KEY or indexed value.
  19. https://www.sqlite.org/src/info/2494132a2b1221a4
  20. "Case-insensitive matching of Unicode characters does not work". SQLite Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
  21. "Write Ahead Logging in SQLite 3.7". SQLite.org. Retrieved September 3, 2011. WAL provides more concurrency as readers do not block writers and a writer does not block readers. Reading and writing can proceed concurrently
  22. "SQLite Release 3.7.4 On 2010-12-08". SQLite.org. December 8, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  23. "SQLite FTS3 and FTS4 Extensions". SQLite.org. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  24. "SQLite Release 3.8.2 On 2013-12-06". SQLite.org. December 6, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  25. "The WITHOUT ROWID Optimization". SQLite.org. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  26. "SQLite Release 3.8.3 On 2014-02-03". SQLite.org. February 3, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  27. "The JSON1 Extension". SQLite.org.
  28. "Fossil: Fossil Performance". Fossil-scm.org. August 23, 2009. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  29. "How SQLite Is Tested". SQLite.org. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  30. "Home". System.Data.SQLite. 2016-12-30. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  31. "SQLite ODBC Driver". Ch-werner.de. 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  32. "Using SQLite Database with OpenOffice.org : Version 2.0" (PDF). Documentation.openoffice.org. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  33. "sqlite — Sqlite Wrappers". SQLite.org. February 7, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  34. "SQLite Manager :: Add-ons for Firefox". Addons.mozilla.org. 2015-02-28. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  35. "SQLite Manager – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-US)". Addons.mozilla.org. 2018-07-24. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  36. "SQLite Reader – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-US)". Addons.mozilla.org. 2018-09-01. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  37. "Skype client using SQLite?". Mail-archive.com. August 28, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  38. "Show Download History List of All Files Ever Downloaded Within Mac OS X". Osxdaily.com. 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  39. "SQLite databases". Msdn.microsoft.com. 2016-09-19. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  40. "Ada Programming/Libraries/Database".
  41. "User Defined Functions". Autoitscript.com. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  42. "SQLite3 API for GNU Emacs 25+". github.com. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  43. Ross McKinlay; Colin Bull. "SQLProvider". Fsprojects.github.io. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  44. "Google Code Archive - Long-term storage for Google Code Project Hosting". Code.google.com. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  45. Adam Kennedy. "DBD::SQLite - Self-contained RDBMS in a DBI Driver". Metacpan.org. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  46. "Python docs". docs.python.org. 2019-03-18. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  47. "Continue: Web Applications in Racket - 15 Using an SQL database". docs.racket-lang.org. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
  48. "RubyForge: SQLite-Ruby: Project Info". Archived from the original on 2010-04-17. Retrieved 2010-04-03.
  49. "Rusqlite - an ergonomic wrapper for using SQLite from Rust".


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