What Is the WordPress Database and How Does It Work?

Considering there are over 1.5 billion websites worldwide, it’s never been more important to have an exciting website. However, the pressure of building a site that holds a candle to the competition, while also keeping track of updates can feel overwhelming. Thankfully we have an amazing platform called WordPress that we can utilize. What we are going to look at now is the WordPress database and how it functions.

What Is the WordPress Database?

WordPress management uses MySQL, an open-source database management system. MySQL stores and retrieves your website’s information, including pages and posts.

It is part of the LAMP stack of open-source web application software. Not the lamp you get at your local Ikea, although so many of them are really cool.

LAMP is short for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Many high-profile companies such as Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Google, and YouTube all utilize it!

WordPress also uses PHP to retrieve and store data from MySQL databases.

If you’re a part of a WordPress membership site, you’ve already used MySQL to log in. It ensures you have an active membership, receive your unique membership, and that the profile data is accurate. Well, that’s convenient.

You can even show or hide content from specific users, editors, subscribers, etc. Themes and plugins will also use your database to store data.

Why the Database Is Vital for Site Management

Let’s put it this way, without a database your site won’t function.

Having a database is so important. This is what powers your site to run, load, and store your blog’s content. Additionally it’ll save any changes that you make along the way.

Plus, your website data is housed in rows, tables, and columns. So you have the capability to delete, modify, and add any information within it. Which leaves you in control for once!

Some examples of these stored items include:

  • Theme and plugin-related data
  • Posts, pages, and additional content
  • Full-site settings
  • Profile data
  • User comments
  • Organizational information, categories, and tags

MySQL Storage Engines

Many don’t choose a storage engine and instead use the default. MySQL provides support for various storage engines, including InnoDB and MyISAM. Which one makes sense to use?

Well, InnoDB is faster for writing and reading. MyISAM is quicker for reading. Tables in phpMyAdmin use the MyISAM storage engine. So those are a few slight comparisons. However, through an SQL query, you can change the storage engine.

When you install a new WordPress site, you create a database for it. Here is what you need to know about the WordPress database. - illustration of a data center, one dude is next to a giant laptop and I have to be honest, I am jealous and want one.

How It Works

Now that you know what databases are,  how do you create one when developing a new site? Luckily, there’s an easy answer. When you WordPress, the database is made instantly.

Some of you out there may already have an existing database. If you’re a DIYer, you can manually create a database as well!

Just know that when traffic lands on your site, their browser sends a request to your site’s server. Meaning it displays your site’s data to work for your users.

Then you can use a database manager or run various commands by hand. You’ll be able to perform specific tasks faster than through the dashboard.

The tables include:

  • wp_users (users on your site)
  • wp_postmeta (each post has metadata)
  • wp_termmeta (terms have metadata)
  • wp_term_taxonomy (WordPress uses tags, links, and categories)
  • wp_usermeta (every user has metadata)
  • wp_commentmeta (every comment has metadata)
  • wp_links (links within WordPress)
  • wp_posts (the core of WordPress data)
  • wp_terms (categories for tags and links for posts)
  • wp_options (all settings are stored here)

Within these tables, it can be broken down further. Some examples include user_id, comment_type, comment_date, etc. However deep in the details you’d like to be.

How to Access WordPress Data

First, you will head to your hosting provider’s site server to access it. Most of the time, it’s through phpMyAdmin.

Next, you’ll perform a backup of your site before making any changes. Any changes you make could break your site and make it hard to reverse.

If this does occur, just know you can always restore your site with a backup.

Find phpMyAdmin within your hosting account. You’ll need to head to cPanel first or your Plesk panel for some of you.

Once you’re in, click on the Databases tab at the top of the screen. You’ll see the complete list of tables for your site. Delete, modify, and add data.

Click on edit to make changes. To complete the changes, click go.

There are plenty of free guides online that you can follow if you’re stuck. Plugins are available to help you manage your database.

Now you know what to do, consider this has your all access pass to WordPress data!

Making Changes Carefully

Once you access, there are numerous tasks related to the database. Locate the correct data and make a change.

Think ahead about the exact task you want before you begin. You can even perform searches for guides and tutorials to help you figure out what you need done!

Besides research, plugins could also help you manage your database. Then pause, take an Advil so help manage your headache. Further relief can be found in plugins. There are plenty of free ones out there.

Even if you’re not a developer, the database is essential to become comfortable with. You’ll be able to make more changes to your site than you ever realized.

Creating WordPress Databases

To create your own WordPress database, you could do so through MySQL, phpMyAdmin, and the MySQL Database Wizard in the control panel. Use a strong password like Arnold Schwarzenegger strong. One with at least eight characters, including special characters, upper and lowercase letters, and numbers.

Don’t use predictable usernames. Avoid obvious names such as admin. It’ll be more difficult for hackers to attack your database. So you can tell trouble “Hasta la vista, baby!”

Better Understanding the WordPress Database

After exploring this guide, you should better understand the WordPress database and how it works. Take your time checking out the database and becoming comfortable with it.

Are you just feeling bogged down by your daily business dealings and don’t have time to worry about necessary WordPress updates?

As a business owner, you only have so much time in one day. We get that, and that’s why Your WP Guy is here to help!

Get started with one of our monthly website maintenance plans today! From edits to security updates, we have you covered.

Not sure what you need from this article? Reach out to us today and we can set up a FREE consultation appointment to identify your needs.

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