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Today I wanted to share how to optimize your WordPress database in your website. With incredible freedom and power the WordPress CMS grants business owners comes some (albeit very little) responsibility. Performing regular upkeep on your WordPress website is important and will keep your investment running smoothly for years to come.

Those of you who are well accustomed with how to optimize your WordPress database need not read ahead. The rest of you might learn something useful to keep your website running like it should (knowing your way around the WordPress Dashboard will help). Not to mention if your WordPress site enjoys better performance overall, your pagespeed will likely improve for both visitors and logged in users.

Your WordPress site uses two types of software to run the way it’s supposed to. The first type includes the actual PHP files, folders, uploaded images, etc., that you access via FTP, SFTP, or a File Manager in your Control Panel. The second type is the database, stored in a program called MySQL, where all of the following information resides:

  • your textual content for pages & posts
  • “metadata” like the date & time you publish a post
  • how many comments you have on a post
  • all your old revisions of each post
  • memory of your WordPress & Theme settings
  • and literally loads of other stuff.

A healthy database is crucial for WordPress to run.

As you can imagine, your database can get a little bloated over time with junk data (just like a normal file folder). If you revise your website’s content frequently, if you install and remove a few plugins you dislike, or you just have a really old site, you are bound to have a database way bigger than it needs to be. This can lead to a slow site, excessively large backups, and might even make the MySQL program (in your server/hosting environment) chomp up more computer power (read: slower host).

Optimizing your WordPress database doesn’t have to be hard.

I expect that many of you reading this are not super technical and wouldn’t really want to perform this out of a very rational fear of breaking something. You’re 100% in the right mindset. It can be difficult to do a WordPress database cleanup using PHPMyAdmin or other manual steps, even if you know what you’re doing. Luckily there are two excellent, free wordpress database optimizer plugins I’ve used that safely automate the process so there’s a next-to-zero chance of deleting something you’re not supposed to. You’ll want to create a quick backup before you optimize your database to protect against this possibility. There are several backup plugins available, such as UpdraftPlus, Backup Buddy, or Duplicator.

Once you have a backup, you are ready to optimize your WordPress database.

WP Optimize is a safe, effective database cleaner by the makers of UpdraftPlus:

Another awesome plugin: Optimize Database Before Deleting Revisions, and with an intuitive 1-click UI:

Tick the checkboxes and hit the button that says go!

The entire process should take less than 30 seconds. Please, have a backup ready or check if your host takes them for you. FissionBlue hosting customers have their databases backed up every 24 hours, and full backups are performed weekly. In the unlikely case you mess something up while performing your WordPress database optimization, you’ll have a fallback point and not all will be lost. I myself have yet to have any problems with either of these awesome plugins. We were able to shave FissionBlue Creative WordPress database down by over 70MB since we started paying attention to WordPress maintenance.

Keep your WordPress installation up-to-date, take some easy steps to secure WordPress, and keep it junk free. Thank you for reading!

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