Is Firebase a NoSQL Database? (2023 Update)

2 Minutes

The short answer is yes, Firebase's Realtime Database and Firestore are both NoSQL databases. We briefly go over each in this article and explain in detail why they are NoSQL databases.

firebase nosql

Firebase's Realtime Database and Firestore

Firebase offers two types of databases: Realtime Database and Firestore. Both are NoSQL.

Realtime Database

  • A cloud-hosted NoSQL database
  • Stores data as JSON objects
  • Offers real-time data syncing across clients


  • A cloud-hosted NoSQL document database
  • Stores data as documents organized into collections
  • Provides real-time data syncing and more advanced querying capabilities

nosql firebase

Reasons Why Firebase is a NoSQL Database

Schema-less data structure

The ability to store data without a fixed schema is a key feature of NoSQL databases, allowing greater flexibility in data storage and modification. This schema-less design simplifies the development process and accommodates diverse data types and evolving needs.

Example: In Firestore, user profiles with varying fields, such as name, email, and age, can be stored without affecting the overall database structure.

Flexible and scalable data models

NoSQL databases like Firebase handle various data types and structures, and they can easily scale horizontally for growing data sizes and workloads. This flexibility and scalability are crucial for applications with changing demands and high data throughput.

Example: Realtime Database can efficiently manage hierarchical data, such as nested JSON objects representing comments within a blog post.

Real-time data synchronization

Real-time data syncing is common in NoSQL databases, and Firebase excels in this by automatically pushing data changes to connected clients instantly. This feature is essential for applications requiring real-time collaboration or updates.

Example: In a chat application built with Firestore, users receive new messages instantly without needing to refresh the page.

Efficient data retrieval

NoSQL databases are optimized for specific types of queries and data retrieval. Firestore's advanced querying capabilities enable more efficient data retrieval, making it a strong example of a NoSQL database.

Example: In Firestore, complex queries such as filtering by multiple fields can be performed to fetch specific data without scanning the entire dataset.

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