Which site would be the best site to ask database design questions? I don't mean the architecture like master-slave replication, because that would fit on Server Fault.

For example, if I were building a knowledge exchange like Stack Overflow, should I store the questions and answers in one table or should I have one question table and one answer table?


8 Answers 8



  • Table normalization
  • Relationships
  • Indexing
  • Triggers
  • Constraints
  • Queries, Stored Procedures, and Functions
  • Accessing the DB via code


  • Maintenance
  • Installation
  • Mirroring
  • Replication
  • Backups

If there are any other items which I may have missed, either alert in comments or edit answer yourself.

  • maybe add -> StackOverflow: Partitioning (or Database Optimization), Schema Patterns; ServerFault: Access Control (User Management), Import/Export, Hardware or OS level Optimization (RAID, RAM vs Disk, etc)
    – Steve T
    Commented Jul 5, 2009 at 6:28
  • What about questions about internal storage like this one? stackoverflow.com/questions/16682062/…
    – jpmc26
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 1:46
  • 1
    I think, that this, six years old, question should be updated to reflect the fact, that we now have "Database Administrators" sister site in SE network, which should hold most of this topics within.
    – trejder
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 18:29
  • This really needs to be updated, especially because of the abundance of non-relational databases.
    – Ian Newson
    Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 19:27

I would suggest StackOverflow for that as it is an application level decision.

Now, if you were to ask about how to install the database, that would be ServerFault.


I've always held the notion that if your question is about getting results from a database via some query. (as in you need help in constructing that query, or how to make said query faster). It would belong on SO.

If it is about database migration of your system, a scaling question or any other maintenance/construction of a database system. They would belong on SF.

It's true that some of these maintenance questions require some SQL but that's a side effect of how you interact with the database.


You might consider asking the question on the Database Administrators Stack Exchange site.


This is so out of date now dba.se is up and running.

The entire Stack Exchange portfolio is always changing and questions that would be on SO or SF can now be on Drupal.se, dba.se, ux,se, whatever

  • It would be worth updating the accepted answer in this case. TheTXI isn't active any more. I'll look out for your suggested edit and accept it.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 11:20
  • @Scrooge: good idea. Will discuss with dba.se mods
    – gbn
    Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 11:23
  • @gbn sounds like a good idea to me - though we should probably make it obvious in the answer what we have changed and what was there before to avoid ruffling feathers? Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 12:19
  • @Scrooge does that sound right to you? Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 12:20
  • @JackDouglas - I don't think you need to break the formatting to point it out. It'll be clear that the answer's been edited so people can check the history to see what's changed.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 12:26
  • @Scrooge maybe a disclaimer at the bottom to say it had X votes already before the change? Or do you think even that is unnecessary? Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 12:34
  • @JackDouglas - I don't think that that would be necessary.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 12:35

Surely you've answered your own question.

If it relates to the use of the database then it's a SO question.

If it relates to the maintenance of the database then it's a SF question.

Programmers are (usually) going to be looking for the former type of question and so will look on SO.

Sys admins and DBAs are going to be looking for the latter type of question and so will look on SF.

Occasionally programmers will be looking for the latter and will tend to look on SO first. If they don't know about SF they might ask their question, but it will be closed as "belongs on SF" so they will be directed to SF.

The only thing that might be useful could be to detect SQL in the title or tags and put up a notice about looking on SF for non-programming SQL questions.


I'd simply say StackOverflow is for working with the data and ServerFault for managing where and how the data is securely stored.


I would personally ask infrastructure questions (clustering, deciding on storage structures etc) on ServerFault, but development questions (queries, even schemas) on StackOverflow.

There will certainly be a grey area sometimes, but hopefully the community will be forgiving enough that such questions can appear on both sites - and I suspect that the audience for that grey area will largely be present on both sites anyway.

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