A Better Approach To WordPress Database Structuring And Management

better approach wordpress database structuring management

There are a lot of businesses now who consider WordPress as their primary web development platform. It helps them to custom weave any functional website of their choice with user-friendly features. However, while developing a web application, many aren't bothered about preparing a well-structured database. This ultimately paves the way to database failure by accumulating clutter and eventually ending up in chaos. 

Inspecting the existing database of businesses to find out the exact problems is a complicated affair for the database administrators. Moreover, restructuring a database at an advanced stage may also adversely affect the running business operations. While handling WordPress DB, it could also be troublesome if you are not well-versed in the use of phpMyAdmin. 

Attempting a database cleanup becomes necessary at times. However, before trying anything with WordPress database, it is essential to make sure that you back up the data appropriately to prevent against any loss or deletion. This can be done with phpMyAdmin control panel or with the help of any plug-ins for data backup. While trying to structure or restructure WordPress database, it is important to know the database structure basics. Let's have a look at it. 

WP DB Structure 

The website and WordPress plug-in data get stored at the WP databases. Using MySQL, the WP database is organized in tables in the form of rows and columns. You can consider this data structure similar to that you see in spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel. 

While considering the WP database, the first thing to know is the structure of the tables and which table corresponds to which content, etc. A proper understanding of the data structure will be ideal for the admin to decide which tables to include and exclude as per the need of the situation. It will also make it easier to sync data to one site to another using staging. The primary WP tables are: 

1. Users 
2. User Meta 
3. Posts 
4. Post Meta 
5. Terms 
6. Links. 
7. Term Relationships 
8. Term Taxonomy 
9. Comments 
10. Comment meta etc. 

Along with these, there are many other custom-built tables on WordPress sites, created by various plug-ins. However, all these may not be necessary for the basic functioning of the website. 

Creation of custom table in WordPress with PHP While planning for the WordPress database, people may have wondered if it is possible to make custom tables in the DB. WordPress actually comes with many out- of-the-box options to store data in unique ways. This platform is flexible enough to shoehorn every need of the users and has ready-made options built in. As PHP applications depend on MySQL database, we can use the same to prepare custom tables in the database to meet specific needs. You may get accurate info about these on RemoteDBA.com portal. Further, let's discuss this option of creating custom WP tables and how to upgrade the routine. 

Before getting into the creation of custom tables, it is ideal for checking whether it is the right solution for the situation in hand. The perfect approach to this is to compare the ideal schema and the nature of the available default schema by WordPress. If you are not familiar with the default WordPress schema in the WordPress database, you may have to get a basic understanding of the structure, which we had discussed above. 

Consider the following questions before you think of custom tables: 

– Does the default schema conceptually fit into the model of your posts?

 – Is there a need for your data model to have a title, primary content, slug, or modified timestamps? 

If this is the case, then you may consider custom post types. WordPress uses default post types for things which you may never have thought about like the menu items. 

Another key question is: 

– Whether your data model fits better to the key-value schemata? 

WordPress now features many options in terms of key-value data storage model. It's like, the post, user, term, and the comment metadata where the options, transients, and object cache APIs can serve the purpose. 

The primary problem with the posts and metadata as well as other ready-made persistence strategies of WordPress is the fixed schema. There is only one column to store the value. The same principle is applicable to various kinds of metadata, transients, as well as cache. So, in order to store the non-primitive values, DBA needs to serialize the data and then simply break its value to multiple keys, which is multiple rows in the database. 

On the other hand, one major benefit of using a custom table is that there is no need to serialize data. Serializing is good for storage, but it may largely reduce our capability to query effectively. Using your custom tables will let you define the best possible schema based on your needs. This further gives you more freedom and flexibility in terms of querying the data in hand. 

Creating Custom Tables 

While creating a custom table, it is essential to set the right schema as it will be difficult to make a change later. This schema will act as a blueprint of your newly created table. We have to define each column in it and also the attributes applied to it. We may require the following columns for the Login Command: 

– public_key – It is used in magic URL. 
– private_key – Secret key to authenticate login. 
– user_id – ID of the user which is authenticated by magic login. 
– created_at – Time and date when the new login is created. 
– expires_at – Expiry date and time of the created login. 

Creation of a new DB table in the database by WordPress is a very simple task like writing an SQL statement and then passing it on to the ‘dbDelta' function. Even though not a default requirement, this is a recommended function while changing the database as this can examine the existing table structure, compare it to the structure of the desired table, and modify the table if necessary. 


better wordpress database structuring management code


Here, we have to note that you have to use $wpdb->prefix while referring the name of a table in WP dataset. However, this prefix can be custom configured by the user in wp-config.php. We use base_prefix here as with the need of only creating a single table for all the CLI logins. On the other hand, for multi-site installations, then the $wpdb->prefix may contain corresponding blog ID at prefix for the existing site, i.e., wp_2_, wp_25_, wp_99_, etc. 

One thing to consider is that the dbDelta function will require SQL statement to adhere to some extra rules too. It is important in custom table creation as it will otherwise end up in failing a valid SQL in terms of validation and parsing.


I hope you enjoyed this blog post about taking a better business approach to WordPress database structuring and management.

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