WordPress database maintenance

WordPress/ 23rd Oct 2019/Will Cook-Martin

wordpress-guides

If you have a sluggish WordPress site, one of the most commonly overlooked issues is the size of your database. Like most modern websites, WordPress stores its information in a database. PHP is used to extract this information and turn it into HTML, which your web browser then renders.

The size of your database can grow very quickly without you even realising it; information for images, posts and pages, whether live on the site or in WordPress’ trash, is all stored in the database.

The larger your database is, the harder your server has to work, searching through more records to find the correct information it needs, in order to display information to your web site user.

So if you’ve already optimised your WordPress install i.e. removed unneeded plugins, implemented a CDN and caching, minimised file sizes, concatenated CSS and Javascript, and your site is still slow, it’s highly likely your WordPress database could do with a spring clean!

Warning

Before you complete any of the steps below you should backup your files and your database. You can either do this manually, or by using a plugin such as Duplicator or UpdraftPlus

1
WordPress Transients

WordPress transients, for those that are wondering, are a way of storing temporary data. The data itself, is stored in the database and when used correctly it can significantly speed up aspects of your WordPress site and admin area.

The issue, is that there are a lot of poorly coded plugins which don’t delete data that is no longer needed. As a result the size of your WordPress database can become very large over time and most frustratingly, much of the data isn’t even needed!

So how do you remove WordPress transient data from your database? The answer is suprisingly simple, install a plugin like one of these below and delete the existing transient data.

Transients Manager

LiteSpeed Cache

2
Remove Page/Post Revisions

We’re taught that to avoid disaster, we should be clicking the “save” button on our work every five minutes (or at least I was!).

Consequently, whenever we are editing a page or post in WordPress, the “save” button is clicked several times. Whilst this gives us a handy roll back point if we need to undo any changes, it also fills the database with data that is no longer needed once we’ve finished making changes.

To resolve this, once you’ve completed your edits, install a plugin like the one below and remove the page and post revisions along with deleted items and duplicated and orphaned data.

WP Sweep

3
Remove Unused Media Images

Over time your WordPress install can become bloated with lots of images, some of which are no longer in use. This takes up disk and database space, which can slow your site down.

We recommend that you install a plugin such as the one below, to take care of images that aren’t in use.

Media Cleaner

Summary

Database maintenance is often overlooked. Regular database maintenance ensures that your site is running as quickly as possible and helps to ensure that your site is optimised for greater traffic volumes.

If you need any help or advice, we’d love to hear from you.

Did you know…

At Clook, one of our specialisms is providing WordPress hosting which is significantly faster than a standard install. If you’d like to find out more please get in touch with us.

Will’s our technical sales guy from the hills of Rossendale. In his spare time he can be found designing and building websites, or doing a spot of DIY!

We have a very strong team here at Clook and we build on everyone's strengths and weaknesses, you have to be able to make a good brew too!

Chris James

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