Is SQL an API?

May 7, 2024 ยท 2 min read

SQL (Structured Query Language) is a domain-specific language used to manage data in relational databases. With SQL, you can perform various operations like querying, inserting, updating, and deleting data.

At its core, SQL enables you to:

  • Retrieve specific data from a database
  • Filter and sort data based on conditions
  • Join data from multiple tables
  • Perform aggregate functions like counts, sums, averages
  • Update existing records
  • Insert and delete records
  • So how does SQL relate to APIs?

    What is an API?

    API stands for Application Programming Interface. APIs act as an interface, allowing different software programs to interact with each other. Just like a user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers, APIs facilitate interaction between two separate applications.

    Common examples of APIs include the Twitter API, Google Maps API, and Weather API. These APIs allow developers to integrate Twitter, Google Maps, or weather data into their own applications.

    Key Differences Between SQL and APIs

    While SQL handles data retrieval and manipulation within a database, APIs handle data transmission between two systems.

    Some key differences:

  • SQL accesses data in a database while APIs transfer data between client and server applications
  • SQL uses its own language with statements like SELECT and INSERT. APIs use standard web protocols like REST and SOAP.
  • SQL databases are optimized for complex queries and transactions. APIs focus on application-to-application communication and may have usage limits.
  • So SQL handles the data layer while APIs handle the integration and transmission layer in an architecture.

    Can SQL Be Considered an API?

    SQL does enable client programs to interface with database servers to access and manipulate data in some ways that APIs do.

    However, SQL differs fundamentally from modern web APIs in terms of protocols used and the type of integration it facilitates. So while there are some interface-like characteristics, SQL is generally not considered an API on its own.

    That said, there are products like MySQL's HTTP API that add a web API layer on top of the SQL interface to enable API-style access to database content. And most applications use both SQL and web APIs as part of their overall architecture.

    So in summary, SQL provides interface-like data access but has key technical differences from standard APIs. The two can complement each other as part of a complete application stack.

    Browse by tags:

    Browse by language:

    The easiest way to do Web Scraping

    Get HTML from any page with a simple API call. We handle proxy rotation, browser identities, automatic retries, CAPTCHAs, JavaScript rendering, etc automatically for you

    Try ProxiesAPI for free

    curl ""

    <!doctype html>
        <title>Example Domain</title>
        <meta charset="utf-8" />
        <meta http-equiv="Content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1" />


    Don't leave just yet!

    Enter your email below to claim your free API key: