3 Tips for Optimizing Your Client’s WordPress Database

Author: Tom Cottrill | Date Posted: Apr 19, 2022

A slow website is an SEO or web developer’s worst nightmare. With WordPress, a large list of issues could be causing a delay in loading speed or the functionality of a website. WordPress database optimization can be done by just about anybody, but it is most effectively done by a professional, which is why it is a beneficial service to offer your clients for their WordPress database.

How to Know if a Database Needs Optimizing

Frankly, unless you are currently optimizing your client’s WordPress database, it probably needs optimization. This database is where all important information on a website is housed. Since multiple parts of a WordPress site can be causing speed issues on the site, there are various ways to handle your client’s WordPress database optimization to ensure maximum website functionality.

Why Should You Handle WordPress Database Optimization?

WordPress database optimization obviously speeds up the website, as discussed, but it does this in numerous ways, which is why it’s important to do. Some reasons you should optimize your client’s WordPress database include:

  1. It declutters data and tables from the database, organizes, and creates more space in the database memory.
  2. Keeping your client’s WordPress database clean improves performance and makes the site more responsive.

3 Tips for WordPress Database Optimization

Optimizing a WordPress database takes multiple steps, and during these steps, there are some things that could go wrong or break the website, so the first step to optimization is to back up your client’s website. Do this in whatever manner you prefer, but here are some common ones:

  • A full site backup from the hosting account’s cPanel
  • Exporting all your client’s content by going to Tools>Export menu
  • Use a backup plugin like Updraft Plus, VaultPress, BackupBuddy, or one of the other excellent backup options that exist

Once the backup is finished, these tips will help you with your client’s WordPress database optimization:

Delete Unnecessary Content

How many clients have you had that have pages and pages of content they are storing on the backend of their site that they are just keeping there because they are afraid to lose it and want it archived? Or even worse, many clients either don’t remember it’s there or just haven’t even thought to touch content they don’t need.

Every post, page, comment, post revision, or other type of content each adds a new entry into the WordPress database, so removing those that are not being used can clear up space (and honestly, it helps keep the site a lot more organized because 120 pages of unnecessary content gets overwhelming very quickly). This includes heading into the Trash folder and deleting those that haven’t yet been removed from here and also checking that any Drafts or Pending Posts are being used.

Taxonomies (method of classifying content and data in WordPress) like tags and categories may also be cluttering your client’s website. Go into the Posts menu, remove any duplicates or unwanted tags or categories, and you’ll free up space with no problem. Make sure you are also considering calendars or other custom post types that are getting in the way of database space.

Delete spam comments or any you don’t need anymore, as comments can take up quite a bit of space when they are building up.

Do a Plugin Sweep

Plugins take up a lot of space. Unused plugins sit on your database, taking up space, and are completely useless. A plugin that is installed on a theme can take up anywhere from 1 MB to 10 MB of space depending on its function, and this space adds up really quickly, especially when you factor in everything else that takes up the space. WordPress is good about saving themes and plugins in a wp-content folder instead of the database, but they may still be storing extra tables inside of the database that are taking up memory.

Since plugins tend to clean up after themselves on a site, you only need to remove them from Appearance and Plugins menus. Make sure you are deleting the plugins entirely and not just deactivating them; otherwise they will just sit in the same place but not operate on your client’s site. In case the plugin does not clean up after itself, checking the phpMyAdmin interface will help clear up memory.

Use a Plugin to Optimize the Database

We know, we just told you to clear all plugins that you aren’t using, and now we are telling you to add a new one. The good news is, you just removed all unused plugins so you have some space to add a plugin that will actually be used and will create even more space. This is easier than accessing the raw database of a wp-config.php file, and plenty of options exist. Make sure you are only using one cleanup plugin at a time, because they have similar functions, and they can actually interact with each other in weird ways that will further impede your client’s website. Some recommendations of the many, many options are:


WP-Optimize is free, and it optimizes your WordPress site and database. It compresses images, caches content, cleans the database, removes unnecessary data (even hidden data that may be hard for you to find on your own), optimizes MySQL tables, runs automatic cleanups, shows database statistics, and more. This is a great option because of all its functionality, so it can save you from having to install more than one plugin to do all this wonderful optimization. It’s updated regularly with responsive customer service.

Advanced Database Cleaner

This one is free as well, and Advanced Database Cleaner has other advanced options that are helpful for optimization. It removes duplicate and unused content, pending and spam comments, metadata and relationships that are unneeded, and other types of content. This one also lets you schedule and run automatic cleanups, which will save you time when working on your clients’ sites. Obviously WP-Optimize does all this and then some, but you may feel like you don’t need the full functionality of that plugin, so a simpler plugin may be the better choice for your client’s site.

Optimize Database After Deleting Revisions

This plugin has a really long name, but we assure you, it will probably take you less time to figure out how to use it than it will to type the whole name to search it. Or pretty close, at least. Optimize Database After Deleting Revisions is a one-click database optimization plugin. We aren’t kidding when we say it’s really easy and quick to use. It’s simple, doesn’t require a lot of configuration, and saves you a lot of time. This plugin removes post and page revisions, trashed posts, pages, and comments, orphan postmeta items, unused tags, expired transients, and more. It will even remove pingbacks, which are comments that are created when you link to another blog post that has pingbacks enabled. Trackbacks can be optimized with this plugin as well. These notify legacy blog systems that you’ve linked to them, and they are often not necessary anymore.

In Conclusion

WordPress database optimization is an important part of making sure your client’s website is properly optimized and operating at peak performance. If it’s not fast enough and optimized fully, it will not rank in the search engines—and it will really irritate their website visitors too. These database optimization tips can help you quickly optimize your client’s website database quickly and efficiently, saving you time and helping your clients even more.

About Ignitro Studios

Since 2013, Ignitro Studios has been working to blend marketing and technology in support of agencies and other marketers. By understanding both sides of web development, we have a unique perspective and advantage within the industry. We provide design, development, project management, QA, and strategy, driving the bus so our clients don’t have to. We will work with our clients to get results while also empowering them to do their job better. Learn more about Ignitro Studios.

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