WordPress is the world’s favorite CMS platform without any doubt. However, even the ideal platform comes with challenges. Every user will point out two caveats – speed and security. While the most recent security patches are somewhat dealing with the last challenge, speed is still a problem for most small businesses and independent users.

All businesses use the WP database to store website data, user data, and various other useful information. As the enterprises grow in operations, market reach and sales, the data that flows in also increases in volume. Taking care of the website database is imperative for keeping the speed high and security up-to-date.

Here are a few steps the experts recommend to keep your WP database running as securely as possible –

  • Use the database dumps

Do you make backups of your WordPress database files regularly? Your DB is the most critical part of your WP website, and you need to back the DB files as well. The dump files are typically in text format that allows easy changes and manipulation. You can also use them and operate them via MySQL servers. Therefore, you can upload these files anywhere in the DB server.

Most users neglect backing up the DB files and only back up the WordPress files. It can be lethal for your site. Use the mysqldump or wp db export commands to make your DB dump. Or, you can visit RemoteDBA to learn all you need to know about backing up your DB files.

  • Use a new plug-in to browse the database

While you can continue to use PHPMyAdmin plug-in to navigate the DB if you are doing all the right things, you should try using a lighter version of the same, in case you find using PHPmyAdmin troublesome.

The Adminer is such a plug-in that comes with a single PHP file and an easy-to-use graphical interface. It is ideal for DB management if you don’t want to get into SQL commands.

  • Learn WP –CLI DB

Learning how to use WP-CLI can be beneficial for all WordPress users and developers. They are not as tricky as they seem and with the right guidance, you can use them for DB access. You can list the WP-CLI commands using the wp db –help command.

To replace all content from all tables in the DB, you should try the wp search-replace –all –tables command. It will allow the user to place all the data that use HTTP in the URL within the database.

  • Use the wp_options and Autoload

You should know that WP runs a particular query every time a WordPress page loads. When the table is more massive than 1MB, the query proves to be quite heavy on the database. It can slow the site down and reduce the quality of user experience.

Unless you can clean up the wp_options table, you should include an index on the autoload. Make sure that the wp_options table is heavy since adding it on a small one does not make sense.

  • Clean up the wp_postmeta bloat

Any WordPress website that uses WooCommerce or a custom post type will probably have a considerable wp_postmeta table. Each new post adds a new row that comes with the burden of multiple fields. In case you use add_post_meta() calls frequently, it will bloat the database with hundreds of new rows per post, and each new row containing two fields only – name and value.

It is likely to blow up the size of the database significantly. It is imperative to intensify the meta_key patterns with the most significant number of rows. You can use the following query to achieve the same –

It should help you reduce the bulk and cut through the extra work.

  • Master SQL

It might seem like a lot of work, but if you can invest a couple of months in learning SQL, there can be nothing like it. People, who deal with database management and data organization should learn the basics of SQL. The commands are simple, and the query language relies on simple English. Mastering it is no challenge at all for the English-speaking folks.

Learning PHP is more challenging that SQL. After you are fluent in SQL, make sure that you have stored no data in the wp_postmeta. Try creating custom tables with columns, relations, and indexes. Take help from a DBA to learn about the reasons you should avoid full table scans. At the same time, make sure you don’t use SQL directly. You should use PHP get_posts() for basics. Use the $wpdb set of functions for interacting with the database whenever WP_QUERY does not fit your requisites.

  • Think about configuring the database server

The database admin needs to configure the database server from time to time for boosting the DB optimization, speed, and security. Optimizing a WP DB might be extensive, but it is a tried-and-tested process. You will find scores of instructions and videos on the web that can serve as complete database server configuration guides.

Configuring your WP DB will take away more than half the troubles accumulation of unstructured or uncategorized data pose. Hiring a database administrator can be one way to combat the database problems. Or, you can work with a WordPress hosting company for configuring the DB from time to time.

  • Do not forget the object cache

Make use of add-ons to store the transients and sessions. That will remove them from the wp_options table. Using similar plug-ins will reduce the data load on the WP database. It will keep the data up-to-date and relevant for current use. That will not only increase the site speed but also reduce security threats that arise from the lack of database optimization on WP sites.

There is no replacement for monitoring website performance as a way to monitor the health of the WP database. Unless you have performance analysis tools that let you compare the performance of your site on a weekly or monthly basis, you will never understand how much its speed has improved after a thorough cleanup.