The WordPress database is often overlooked in any type of optimization process. This is a shame because the database is the core of any WordPress site and its health and wellness will carry over to other parts of your blog.
There really is no set schedule on how often you should optimize your database, but a good rule of thumb is to do this at least once every few months. If you operate a really busy blog you may have to do this more often, it all depends on how your blog is being used.
Over time, a WordPress database will create something called overhead. Overhead can basically be compared to your computer’s hard drive becoming fragmented. Ever notice how if you don’t defragment your hard drive your computer runs slower? The same is true with overhead and databases. In extreme cases, overhead can even cause damage to your database so it is important to perform some spring cleaning once in a while.
There are plugins available that will perform database optimization for you, but as far as I’m concerned they are unnecessary and just create additional bloat on your WordPress site. It’s better to perform simple tasks like this without the aid of a plugin (your opinion may vary.)
Optimizing your WordPress database with phpMyAdmin is a simple process that only takes 3 steps and can be accomplished in just a few seconds.
Step 1: Backup your database
No matter how trivial a task I perform on a database, I always back it up first. Even if there is a 99.9999% chance that nothing bad will happen, why take the risk if you don’t have to? What if your cat were to jump on your keyboard while you are fiddling with your database and something got deleted? It wouldn’t be a problem if you have a backup.
Step 2: Locate the tables that have overhead
As you can see in the example above, the far right column lists all the tables in the WordPress database that contain overhead. There isn’t much overhead there, but we’ll get rid of it all the same.
Step 3: Select those tables and optimize
Check the box next to the tables that contain overhead and then select “Optimize table” from the drop down menu. That’s all there is to it.
Optimizing your WordPress database to remove the clutter is a very simple process and should be done often to help maintain the health and security of your blog.