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Best Practices to Optimize Your WordPress Database

Using WordPress websites is an easy-to-go and optimum solution for small to large-scale businesses looking to digitalize their eco-system. However, these WordPress sites can get slow with time and require consistent maintenance. A bloated database running in the background is one of the major factors why this happens. In order to make sure your website runs smoothly, regular database optimization is needed to get rid of unwanted data and locate and fix errors or inconsistencies in the WordPress database.

To optimize the WordPress database, you do not require programming language knowledge or high-level technical skills. Well, you might need to edit the wp-config file every now and then, but apart from this, everything else is pretty easy to learn. In this article, we’ll help you explain the best practices on how to optimize your WordPress database. So, without further ado, let’s begin!

What is WordPress Database Optimization & Why You Need It?

Optimizing the WordPress database can considerably improve the performance of your website and reduce loads on the server. Database efficiency can be greatly increased by deleting unnecessary and outdated information, which allows pages to load quicker. In short, for consistent website performance, it is important to make sure your database is regularly optimized.

Unnecessary data on a WordPress database makes a website run slower, which results in a higher bounce rate. This means if your website is taking forever to load, there is a very high chance your visitors will leave the website and take their business elsewhere. In addition, search engines also rate websites poorly if the WordPress database is not optimized. Make sure to read our article on the impact of website speed and site performance to get a better idea of its importance. All in all, better-performing websites encourage a large user base.

Things To Do To Optimize WordPress Database:

There are several applications and database management tools in the market that can help you with WordPress or WP database optimization. You can easily download these tools from the internet and install them on your system. Apart from this, you can also use plugins for this purpose, which can make accessibility for a database simpler. However, beware of using unverified plugins as they pose a massive security risk. Now, let’s find out the process and details that you need to follow to optimize your WordPress database.

1. Backup

Before starting optimization, make sure to create a backup of your database. This will ensure you don't lose any valuable data during the process, and you are able to use the previous version of your site if anything goes south. Here are some of the most common ways for you to backup your WordPress sites;

  • Creating a full site backup from the cPanel of hosting account.

  • In your WordPress admin area, all your content, including pages, posts, comments, etc., can be exported using Tools > Export menu.

  • A backup plugin can be used, which allows you to create different custom kinds of backups.

2. Delete the Content You Don’t Need

The most important step in database optimization is to get rid of overhead content. You can free a lot of space by deleting unused, obsolete, or duplicate content from your WordPress admin area. This can include posts, pages, comments, and post revisions.

You’ll probably find this unused data in multiple locations. The most common place to look for is the Trash folder. Drafts and Pending posts section is another common location where you might find unused content. Apart from this, you might also want to look at unused taxonomies, tags, and categories found in the Posts menu. Lastly, unused custom post types, like affiliate links, etc., can take a lot of unnecessary space as well. You can easily clean these using WordPress optimize post meta.

3. Remove Themes and Plugins You Don’t Use

Although WordPress saves plugins and themes into the wp-content folder instead of the database, it is best to delete the ones you don’t use. Many plugins and complicated themes create extra tables in the database to store their configuration options in the wp-options table.

Plugins and themes, which are developed by following the WordPress coding standards, clean up automatically when they are removed from the site. When this happens, they only need to be deleted from the WordPress admin area (not deactivated).

4. Remove Spam Comments

Websites that receive a lot of spam may find that it takes up a lot of space in their database. By default, these spam comments are deleted automatically after a month; however, during this time, they can take up a lot of rows in the wp_comments table. This can be easily avoided using a good anti-spam plugin, which reduces the volume of spam comments. The good thing is that WordPress added an “Empty Spam” feature in their latest update to allow users to empty their spam comments table immediately.

5. Optimize Tables in PhpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin is one of the most common tools used to optimize the WordPress database. In case you have a different hosting control panel than cPanel, your hosting plan may be different than a MySQL management tool to phpMyAdmin. However, there’s no need to worry as the majority of the database management tools have similar interfaces.

There are two columns at the end of your database: size and overhead. The size of a table depends on the amount of data represented by rows. In contrast, overhead is a temporary disk used by the database to store queries which, ultimately, increases over time. You can remove overhead and reduce size using the main dropdown menu in phpMyAdmin by clicking on the Check all box and selecting Optimize table.

6. Run WordPress Database Optimization Tool

WordPress Core has a built-in database optimization tool that is turned off by default. However, this can be activated by editing the wp-config.php file. It can be found in the root directory of your WordPress installed on your server. You can choose the Repair and Optimize Database option in this tool which not only optimizes your database to improve performance but also repairs common problems in your database.

7. Use A Database Clean-up Plugin

There are loads of WordPress database cleanup plugins available in the market. To start the process, simply install and active a well-reputed WordPress Database Optimization Plugin on your site. Once that is done, you will find some default options for optimization and cleaning up your database selected by the plugin.

Once the site is set for WP Database Cleanup, select the Run all selected optimizations option. This will start removing orphan records from the database, which will result in better server response time and reduced database size. Make sure to delete these plugins once you are done, as they may get stacked and take up space in your database.

Final Thoughts

Keeping a fast-running WordPress site is very important for website performance and low bounce rate. WordPress provides a variety of built-in tools specific to your database optimization needs. There are also several WordPress plugins available that offer one-click solutions with customizable options and advanced settings. We hope you found this article helpful in understanding the best practices to optimize your WordPress database.

WordPress database optimization can be a tricky process, especially for large-scale businesses. Our company, IIInigence, provides the best services for WordPress Website Optimization, according to your needs and requirements. So, if you need to Optimize your WordPress Database or need any help with Speed Optimization, put your faith in us and reach us out to get the avail of our services.