There’s a lot of information on your WordPress website, and all of this must be stored somewhere to keep it safe and improve loading time. So, where does it all go? That’s where the question of what is WordPress database comes into play. This is the place where your information is stored, managed, and retrieved before it’s displayed on a visitor’s browser.

Even a simple four-page WordPress website requires a database. It may not seem like it, but there are plenty of processes going on behind the scenes. All this data must be placed in a central database where it’s kept safe yet still retrievable. Thankfully, most of the work needed for storing data is automated.

Still, it’s important to learn how your WordPress database works. You can later use this knowledge for optimizing and repairing issues on your website. Keep reading to learn more!

The structure and organization of a WordPress database

Before we dive into optimizing and addressing problems in your database, let’s discuss first how your information is organized and structured in the system. You can think of the database as a collection of filing cabinets with folders. These folders contain the data, and the filing cabinets create a distinction between the types of data. Some of the “filing cabinet” classifications are:

Whenever you or a site visitor accesses your website, it retrieves the data from these folders to display the information on the web page. WordPress uses Structured Query Language (SQL) to instruct servers to retrieve data for your web pages.

Speaking in specific terms, WordPress uses the following database tables to process and store all its data:

  • wp_commentmeta
  • wp_comments
  • wp_links
  • wp_options
  • wp_postmeta
  • wp_posts
  • wp_terms
  • wp_termmeta
  • wp_term_relationships
  • wp_term_taxonomy
  • wp_usermeta
  • wp_users

How to optimize WordPress database

The more information you have, the more data you need to store in your database. Eventually, this can bloat your database and result in slow loading time. When this happens, you’ll need to practice optimization measures and clear out outdated or unneeded information. Here are some best practices in database optimization:

  • Install a database optimization plugin that can automatically remove unused entries for you.
  • Manually optimize your database tables by checking them and deleting what’s not needed.
  • Permanently remove unneeded rows.
  • Delete spam comments manually or with a plugin.

For more in-depth tips, take a look at our WordPress database optimization post.

How to repair the WordPress database

There are times when your WordPress database shows an error or refuses to retrieve data. This can manifest as missing images or posts, error messages, and the inability to upload new posts. In most cases, the issue is mild and can be addressed on your end.

Before you attempt to repair issues with your database, remember to back up your site first and enable error logs. Then, you can proceed with the steps to fix the problem. They may include checking the credentials on your wp-config.php file, using the built-in repair tool, and installing various database repair plugins.

For step-by-step instructions, you can read our guide on repairing issues in your WordPress database.

Final thoughts on what is WordPress database

Understanding what is WordPress database and how it works is one way to make the most out of your WordPress site. This knowledge will help you manage your website’s files, optimize for better speeds, and make repairs in case of issues.

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