Database Cleanup & Optimization

by Tony Gamble

wordpress-database_purr-like-a-kittenWordPress works its magic by way of a database connection. Every option you set, every Post or Page you publish, every revision you make… with the exception of uploads like photos and videos, all of this is stored in a single database filled with lots of tables and countless rows of entries. Over time, this database will grow in size. Without possessing the skills to run SQL actions from a tool like PHPMyAdmin, what can you do to trim up your database and keep everything purring like a kitten? Here are a few of the most popular plugins that can help you do just that.

*backup your database first*

WP Clean Up Optimizer

This plugin from Tech-Banker offers plenty of options in a free version and an extensive list off additional features in a Premium version that promises to boost your website’s performance by up to 300%. I tested the free version on a fairly significant 618 Megabyte database and was able to trim that down to 572 MB, an 8% reduction in size. And that’s about all I could do. Any additional functionality, such as scheduling and security features, are part of the Pro packages that start at a reasonable $22.

*backup your database first*

WP-Optimize

Ruhani Rabin has built the most complete and by far the most popular database cleanup plugin with over 1.4 million downloads to date. Unlike WP Clean Up Optimizer, there are no extraneous security functions, which I already handle with the excellent Wordfence plugin. Just a select list of checkboxes and scheduling without the need for a Premium upgrade (although he happily accepts donations). Setting this one loose on that 618 MB database provided only a 5% reduction in size, but the price is right and the backend interface is much easier to manage.

*backup your database first*

WP Clean Up

This is the simplest, most lightweight of the three plugins I tested. When installed, you’ll find it tucked away in the WordPress Admin Settings menu. It boasts an even more streamlined backend interface and with the clicks of two simple buttons, I was able to achieve an 8% reduction in my database size, along with tables optimization. And all for free.

So there you go. Three handy plugins to help you get all your database ducks in a row. Of course, everyone’s database is vastly different, so your mileage may vary. Oh, and did I mention back up your database first ? I can’t stress that enough. You’re essentially playing with the grey matter of your WordPress website, so be sure you make that backup first before risking a botched WordPress lobotomy.

Do you have a favourite plugin you’d like us to check out? Let us know in the comments below.

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