Last updated on December 18th, 2018 at 10:37 am
If you’ve been blogging for a while, chances are your database hasn’t been optimized or cleaned in awhile. In this tutorial I am going to do a WordPress database cleanup step-by-step on my live blog. I’ll also show you some of the improvements that resulted in taking the time to do a WordPress database cleanup.
It’s been about 2 months since I last optimized my blog. Since I try to optimize it every 3-5 months, I thought why not show you how I do it. My goal with this post is to show you how easy it can be to clean up your blog’s database.
What You Will Learn
- Why You Should Do A WordPress Database Cleanup on A Regular Basis
- Why Does My Database Need Cleaning?
- What Plugin I Use to Optimize WordPress Database
- WordPress Database Cleanup Process Step-by-Step
Why Does My WordPress Database Need to Be Optimized?
I know what you’re thinking, you don’t have time to spend cleaning up your database. You have to continue writing content for your editorial calendar, so it doesn’t run out.
If you’re starting to notice that your site is loading a little slower, it may be time to do a WordPress database cleanup.
We’ve all heard the statistics of how important it is to have a fast loading site. KISSmetrics wrote an interesting article that talks about how load time affects your bottom line.
If your site doesn’t load in 2 seconds or less, most likely your potential visitor is hitting that back button. You’ve lost them because your site took forever to load.
If you’ve been blogging for a few months, cleaning up your database could help you increase your load time and decrease your bounce rate.
I personally don’t want to lose my visitors because of something I could’ve done to improve my site. I’m sure you feel the same way as well. That’s why I want to share the method I use to clean up my database with you.
Why Does My Database Need Cleaning
You might be thinking my site is loading fast and I have a normal bounce rate, what other reason would I spend time optimizing my database?
Unfortunately, when you change or uninstall plugins, they may not be completely deleted. Many plugins will create new tables in your database to store information. I’ve written a complete WordPress tutorial guide to help you better understand how to work with plugins.
I don’t know about you, but when I write a new blog post it may go through 50 or more revisions before it gets the A Okay to go live. Your database also contains a lot of the old information you don’t need anymore, like revisions, pingbacks and spam.
Eventually, as you blog starts to grow your database accumulates a lot of junk. So it’s important to do some spring cleaning and clean out the clutter.
It’s no different than getting rid of items in your home that you no longer use. My motto is if I haven’t worn a piece of clothing in a year or more, it’s time to give it to Goodwill.
Since it’s been around 2 months since I’ve optimized my database, I thought I would walk you through the process and show you exactly how to do this.
Plus you will get to see how much old junk is removed from my database. After the cleanup, I’ll show you whether or not it actually improved my load speed.
I ran a performance test on this site before I optimized my website.
My Current Page Load Time Before Cleanup
If you don’t want to make a complete backup, then you should at least export your database via your PHP MYadmin panel. This way if anything happens to your site, you have access to your old database.
What Plugin I Use to Optimize WordPress Database
You don’t have to use a plugin, in fact, you can optimize your tables directly inside of PHPMyAdmin. However, for anyone who is new to WordPress, I think that it’s a lot safer to use this plugin. (plus this is the only way I know how to do it.)
I use WP-Optimize whenever I do a WordPress database cleanup.
WordPress Database Clean Up Video
I know that some people prefer to watch a video, that’s why I am going to walk you through step-by-step on how to clean up your Database using a free plugin.
WordPress Database Clean Up Step By Step
I am going to be here with you the entire way, so you see exactly what I do. Once we get done, your database cleaned, your blog should load a little faster? (don’t worry, I point you to another tutorial that offers tons of things you can do speed up your blog)
This article isn’t really focused on improving the speed of your WordPress blog. However, from my personal experience, after a cleanup it usually does improve the load time.
Step 1: Install the plugin
As I mentioned above I use this plugin to optimize my database. If you don’t have it installed, go ahead and get it installed now, so you can follow along.
Step 2: Scroll down till you see WP-Optimize
Once you click on it, you will see the following.
I usually just leave the default options as is and click on the
Run all selected optimizations below
Let’s run through all the tabs on top, so you can understand what they mean. This should hopefully, make you feel more comfortable about optimizing your database.
WP-Optimize: This is the default menu you see and this is where the optimization process happens.
Tables: These are all the tables on your WordPress database. It also shows you an analysis of how much space your tables are using.
Settings: You can set up a schedule automatic cleanups. You have the option to choose between weekly, biweekly or monthly. ( I personally don’t use this option)
Plugin Family: Featured backup plugin you can purchase. I use the this plugin for my backups and I highly recommend it.
This plugin does NOT backup your blog. If you haven’t backed it up, you might want to make a backup before you begin. I’ve written a great tutorial that will help you back up your blog.
Now that you know what all the tabs mean and how I set mine up, it’s time to optimize our database.
It took me a while to realize that my database needed to be optimized. My first WordPress blog, I didn’t do any WordPress maintenance tasks. I just wrote article after article.
The great thing is that you don’t have to do this very often. If you’re not constantly adding new plugins or themes, you can probably do this every 3-6 months.
Should I Setup Automatic Cleanup?
After I run my optimization, I always delete the plugin from my WordPress blog. As I mentioned you don’t have to do a WordPress database cleanup on a daily basis. Therefore, I prefer to add this to my WordPress maintenance tasks instead of leaving the plugin on my site.
Here is what you will see after your database has been optimized.
It will show you what has been deleted and how much space your database has gained from the cleanup.
My site doesn’t have a lot of post revisions, because I control my post revisions. (I’ll have to write a tutorial on how I do this later on)
So after the cleanup, did the optimization speed up my WordPress site? I still don’t have the best page speed score, but as you can see, it did indeed speed up my page load time.
My Page Load Time After Cleanup
I am NOT the best on improving my WordPress speed. I do little things that I know should be done, like compressing images, chose a reliable host, using a cache plugin…
I was using a CDN however, since I made the switch to https, I haven’t taken the time to set it back up. It’s on my to-do-list, which is extremely long.
If you’re running your own blog and trying to build a business, you know how challenging it can be to try to do everything.
As a self-taught WordPress user I am always learning things and trying them out on my localhost. This helps me improve my own blog. Hopefully, it’ll help you improve yours as I share my own personal experiences with you.
If you want to learn more about other things you can do to speed up your WordPress site, read this.
Unfortunately, optimizing your database won’t add rocket fuel to your WordPress blog. If you want to improve your site speed, you will have to continue working on it to make it faster.
The purpose of this post was to show you how to do a WordPress database cleanup. You’d be surprised at how easy it can be to neglect this WordPress maintenance task that should be done every 3-6 months depending on your blog.
Final Take Away
Having a WordPress takes a lot more than just writing awesome content people want to share. There are WordPress maintenance tasks that should be done a regular basis.
Creating a profitable blog is possible, even if you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge. Learn the basics of WordPress, write awesome content and network with other bloggers. Don’t forget to clean up your database every 3-6 months and your blog should run without any hiccups.
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- 6 Crucial Blog Configurations
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Keep testing things out to see if it helps you improve your blog. That’s the only way you will get comfortable with managing your own WordPress blog.
Don’t forget to install Google Analytics to see if your current load time is affecting your bounce rate.
Were able to do a WordPress database cleanup. Did it improve your page load time? Let me know by sharing your experience below, your comments will be motivating and helpful to other WordPress users who want to do a WordPress database cleanup.
Recommended Blogging Resources:
- Free 12 Day Blogging Bootcamp
- Article about using Yoast SEO for optimizing your blog posts and how to do it.
- SEMRush Free Trial to Gather Low Competitive Keywords
- Quiz: Which theme is best for your blog?
- If you want to build an email list and send newsletters, I recommend ConvertKit (starts at $29)