How to Optimize Your WordPress Database

Written by Justin on September 3, 2019 ,

Along with with the wondrous versatility WordPress as a platform for your website comes a certain degree of maintenance responsibilities. Luckily the most important WordPress maintenance operations are easy to do with so many plugins to choose from. Optimizing your WordPress database every so often is excellent to protect your investment so that it runs smoothly in the coming years. In this article we'll cover how to optimize your WordPress database and explain in detail exactly why it's important to optimize your database from time-to-time.

Before Jumping into How to Optimize Your WordPress Database, Let's Share What's Happening Under the Hood.

Your WordPress database relies on two technologies to do it's job correctly, called MySQL and PHP. You don't need to know how to code in PHP to safely optimize your WordPress database, however possessing a basic understanding will help you make sense of what's contained in this article. The WordPress database does not dwell as a file on your web host, like the .php files you may have seen. Instead, the database is stored and runs inside a special program called MySQL, often also referred to as MariaDB. Your WordPress database keeps all of the following types of information:

  • The textual content for every page, post, product, etc.
  • The "metadata" for each of these, i.e. the date & time of publishing, and who the author is
  • Any comments on a blog post and their own metadata
  • All the revisions you've made to the content of each page, post, product, etc.
  • Theme settings, color values, etc,
  • All user emails, passwords, permission levels, etc.
  • Boatloads of other stuff.

A Healthy Database is Important for WordPress to run Effectively.

Imagine that each time you add a plugin, change a theme setting, or remove text on an article, your database is storing all that data, often without ever deleting it. If you frequently revise your content or you just have a really old website, your database is likely very bloated can benefit from a tune-up. Though the impact is negligible at first, it can contribute to more MySQL RAM usage and slower server responses over time. Not to mention, an unoptimized database can lead to unnecessarily large website backups.

Optimizing Your WordPress Database is Surprisingly Easy.

You may not be very technical or would rather not risk breaking something. Kudos to you! This is generally the best mentality to have towards any database changes. Today we recommend using one of these two easy, highly reliable plugins to optimize your WordPress database. Not to mention they are both free!

Now, even though we've used both of these plugins (separately) for years without incident, it's best practice to create a database backup. There are plenty of great database backup plugins, like UpdraftPlus, WP Migrate DB, and Duplicator. If you're a Cyberia Technologies hosting customer, then we have you covered with daily database backups taken automatically.

You Know How to Optimize Your WordPress Database Now.

Simply install one of these two plugins (there is absolutely no need to install both):

WP Optimize is a safe, effective database cleaner by the creators of UpdraftPlus:
https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/

Optimize Database Before Deleting Revisions has more options and includes a 1-click feature:
https://wordpress.org/plugins/rvg-optimize-database/

Completing the WordPress database optimization operation usually takes less than 60 seconds. Even though you might not need it, it would be wise to have your database backup handy. In the unlikely event something does break while optimize your WordPress database, you'll have a safe restore point to fall back on.

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