WordPress Database Structure and use of NoSQL Databases

There are many websites of small bloggers to big corporations now consider WordPress CMS as their most reliable web development platform. WP had now grown to a level that it helps the users to custom build any functions and templates with the help of thousands of themes and plugins available in the repositories. However, while building a functional website, most those who are ignorant about it give little importance to structuring a proper database, which ultimately ends up in trouble.

If you already own a portal, then it is important to inspect it to find out the problems in database administration. However, it is always advisable to take care of a proper database structure at the first point itself by keeping the future needs in mind than thinking of restructuring the DB at an advanced stage. While planning for the WP database administration, you need to be well versed with phpMyAdmin.

The database structure of WordPress

All the website data, as well as the themes and plugins data all, get stored in the WordPress database. With MySQL as the default DB, WordPress databases are organized in the relational structure of tables with columns. For those who are new to it, you can imagine it similar to what you see in terms of data inputs into MS Excel.

While considering the WordPress database, the most primary thing to consider is the table structure and the corresponding content to each. A fine understanding of such data structure will help the DBAs to best plan to develop and maintain a proper database and also sync it when needed through stating. The basic WordPress data tables are:

  • User / User Meta
  • Post / Post Meta
  • Terms
  • Term Relationships
  • Term Taxonomy
  • Links
  • Comment /  Comment meta

Apart from these, you can also plan for other custom tables too based on your data needs. There are plenty of WP database plugins available for you to meet any given data management requirement in hand. However, the custom building of database may not be required for your baseline websites.

Database cleanup

Even when setting up a proper database structure and maintaining it well over time, an in-depth database cleaning becomes necessary many times. However, while trying any such alteration or clean up on your business database, ensure that you back up the data properly to avoid any possible data loss.

This can be done through some well-informed steps using the phpMyAdmin panel. Instant data backup can also be done with the use of some handy plugins available for this purpose. While restructuring WP databases, always give importance to knowing the basics of the database structure.

Usage of WordPress plugins

A functional WordPress website consists of many plugins, and there are hundreds of thousands of featured plugins available now. You can bring forth any imaginable feature on to your website with the help of plugins. As we had seen above, ideal plugins can be used for instant data backups, and some other major functions for which plugins act handy are

  • SEO
  • Creating forms.
  • Social media integration.
  • E-commerce features
  • Product catalog.
  • Gallery
  • Online chat and instant messaging etc.

There are plugins for basic website features also as putting a navigation bar on the side or for image display. With a bit of knowledge, you can easily customize these plugins too for your needs. There are many filters offered by the APIs with which the developers can modify the features of WP blogs and sites.

You can look for add-on plugins for different content types, taxonomies, and custom fields, etc. Remember, all the plugins from the third party directories installed on to your WP site will be registered with the database, which you have to custom set in order to avoid excessive app data creating any clutter on the database and adversely affecting the performance.

MySQL vs. NoSQL databases for WordPress

As discussed above, MySQL is the default database for WordPress sites. However, lately, we can note the advent of NoSQL databases also, which pave the way to a revolution in database structuring and administration in the times of big data.

Using NoSQL databases

As we can see, enterprise database management had always been lingering around relational database models for many decades now. However, over the last decade, we’d seen a significant shift in this with a brand new approach to databases administration, which is termed as NoSQL databases. Over the next few years, NoSQL databases had grown in popularity with its flexibility to manage a higher volume of data in a lesser amount of time.

NoSQL for smaller businesses

Not just for big enterprises, but NoSQL is deemed to be ideal for small technology businesses too. With the ongoing advancements, NoSQL is now creating big opportunities in setting up and better controlling more streamlined applications now. These are also much budget friendly to be considered for a smaller business, and its management is also much easier compared to relational models.

Most importantly, SQL and NoSQL are not standing as two extremes of database management, but you can think of effectively combining these for hybrid model databases too. Some of the major advantages in the usage of NoSQL or hybrid database management systems are:

  • It is a positive shift from conventional DBMS models.
  • It is open source and works well with different platforms.
  • It runs on clusters, ensuring a better data distribution model.
  • It has better security features too.
  • NoSQL is Schema-less.
  • NoSQL perfectly fits web estates of the big data era.

Compared to the gen-x web development, now the CMS-based ERP developments largely different. We can see that the storage needs of the old-age ERPs were so limited whereas the e-com apps and social media platforms now demand huge data loads to be not only stored but also processed real time for a smoother operation. In such a situation, both SQL and NoSQL have their own advantages and disadvantages. As a WP website developer or owner, you can analyze your current and future requirements in order to plan the best possible database technology and structure for long-term benefits.

Author bio: Tim McCray is a database administration specialist with the industry expertise of more than a decade in the IT industry. His articles online at have a huge follower base, and he handles all topics ranging from conventional database management tools to the changing technologies in this field.

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