Real Time Database vs Firestore

A real-time database is one of the critical requirements for ensuring speedy and hassle-free application development and peak functionality. Firebase Real-Time Database and Firestore are two of the most widely popular real-time databases available today. 

Although Firestore is the newer option, many developers still prefer the Firebase database. The Firebase Real-Time Database vs. Firestore debate rages on. You can easily identify the one that is best for your needs by observing the information given below. Take a look. 

What is Firebase Real Time Database?

The Firebase Real-Time Database refers to a cloud-hosted database. It performs data storage as JSON and syncs data to connected clients in real-time. Single Real-Time Database instances are shared by clients when cross-platform applications are built with JavaScript, Android, and iOS SDKs, with all apps receiving new data and updates. Applications can remain responsive even when they are offline, as the Database SDK performs on-disk data persistence. Devices get synced with the current server state after connectivity is restored.

Firebase Real-Time Database lets developers create interactive and feature-rich applications by facilitating secure database access from client-side code. It performs local data persistence and support for real-time events even offline, thus enabling more responsive experiences for end-users. Data changes and offline real-time updates are synced when a device gets connected again, automatically merging existing conflicts.

Firebase Real-Time Database offers the Firebase Real-Time Database Security Rules to users, an expression-based rules language suitable for defining how data is structured and read. The authentication feature of Firebase also enables developers to control access to data.

The Firebase Real-Time Database helps users supplement their data requirements by performing data splitting across several instances within a single project. One can set custom Database Rules for each instance. 

Real Time Database Pricing

Firebase charges users for the data they store in their database and the sum of the outbound traffic (when a client gets data from your database). Users are charged at a rate of $5 for each GB of data stored per month and $1 per GB downloaded. 

  • Storage: $5/GB
  • Downloaded Data: $1/GB

What is Cloud Firestore?

Cloud Firestore, popularly known as Google Firestore, is a real-time database option offered through the Google Firebase development platform. Firestore is a NoSQL database hosted in the cloud. Cloud Firestore lets users gain direct access to Firestore mobile and web applications via native SDKs. Developers can use Firestore with programming languages such as Unity, Java, Node.js, C++ and Go SDKs, and offers support for REST and RPC APIs. The Firestore real-time database enables automatic scaling, improved performance, ease-of-use, and reliability. 

Firestore allows users to sync data across numerous client applications by incorporating real-time listeners. It offers the Cloud Identity and Access Management features from Google for authentication. Firestore offers data storage in the form of documents, which are stored in collections. Firestore documents support a wide variety of data types such as nested objects, strings, and numbers. It can also be integrated with the Google Cloud Platform and Google Firebase. Firestore is known for the level of security and reliability it provides to users. 

The integration of the Google Cloud Platform and Firebase enables enhanced prototyping and offers offline support and advanced synchronization. Firestore facilitates offline support for Android, iOS, and web platforms. It aids in keeping applications updated in real-time, once backend data changes are made. 

Firestore Pricing

Pricing for Firestore starts free with a base plan that comes with a limited amount of features and functionality. Users who go beyond their data storage limits have to pay for network bandwidth, database operations, and stored data. Considering the pricing pattern may influence your decision between the Real-Time Database and Firestore. Gain further insight into Firestore pricing below. 

Pricing is categorized on the basis of :

  • Operations – Users of Firestore have to pay for their reads, writes, and deletes. This includes reads performed for the purpose of tracking Firestore Security Rules additions on your database. 
  • Storage – Firestore users are charged on the basis of the data amount stored within their Firestore, including metadata and indexes.  
  • Network bandwidth – Network bandwidth expenses include connection overloads for the FireStore requests made by users. They are not charged for any incoming network bandwidth.

Firestore users are also charged by their usage of the platform. Pricing is fundamentally centered around pay as you go model and the usage of different functionality and features of the Firestore.

Real Time Database vs. Firestore Similarities

  • Both are databases are real-time
  • Both are NoSQL databases
  • Both are proprietary databases from Google
  • Both databases provide offline syncronization

Real Time Database vs. Firestore Differences 

  • Multi-region support – Multi-region support translates to better reliability, with data being shared across several data centers simultaneously. Also, it reduces the latency of global applications. Firestore facilitates peak consistency, enabling users to make a query and stay confident that they will receive the latest version of any data. 
  • Different pricing model – Firebase Real-Time Database fundamentally charges depending on bandwith and storage. Conversely, Cloud Firestore charges based on how many operations users perform, network out, and data storage. Operations performed drive the charges on Firestore. Othe other hand, store and network and store drive the charged on the the Real-Time database It is up to users to analyze their usage requirements and opt for the more economical option. 
  • Improved querying and more data structure – Firebase’s Real-Time Database is fundamentally a JSON protocol based tree compared to Cloud Firestore, which is more well structured. In Firestore, data is stored in the form of key-values known as documents and collections (which house the documents). Documents are also associated with subcollections housing other documents, which may also have their own documents. 
  • Enhanced scalability – Firestore is comparatively better than Real-Time Database in terms of scaling. Queries are scaled according to the result set size and not the size of the data set. As a result, searching continues to be fast, regardless of the size of the data set.
  • Queries – Both databases support queries, but the way they do it is different. The Real-Time database allows deep queries with limited sorting and filtering. On the other hand Firestore allows indexed queries with compound sorting and filtering. 


Both databases are part and fully integrated with the Firebase development platform. The databases have similarities like NoSQL storage, offline synchronization, and real-time updates. The core differences rely on the pricing structure, multi-region availability, and querying capabilities. 

Look through the information given above to evaluate the pros and cons of Real-Time Database vs Firestore for your needs. Consult with a software development expert to know more about each real-time database option. 

General FAQ

Does Firebase has two databases?

Yes! The Real-Time Database is the original database of Firebase. Firestore it’s the new database released in 2019.

What are the similarities of Firestore and the Real-Time database?

Both databases are part and fully integrated with the Firebase development platform. The databases have similarities like NoSQL storage, offline synchronization, and real-time capabilities. 

What are the differences of Firestore and the Real-Time database?

The core differences rely on the pricing structure, multi-region availability, and querying capabilities.

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