How does WordPress manage all the website data?

Posted on Aug 21 2017 by in Blog WordPress 

We say CMS. You think WordPress. WP is indeed the most popular CMS platform in the world now. Almost 28% of all websites use it for managing their on-page content. Over the last ten years, WordPress received numerous updates and thousands of plugins that make it more of a CMS. On top of that, it is an open source platform. This enables users to modify its core code and share updates freely.

DBA’s love WordPress and with good reason

Most DBA consultant teams love WordPress. It does more than half their job for them. It keeps all the elements in order. This is a unique Content Management Platform that does not require any HTML and PHP. You can keep a tab on your plugins and themes by just clicking on them. WordPress has its database tables. A classic WordPress site has exactly 11 tables. Wp_posts, wp_postmeta, wp_comments, wp_commentmeta, wp_terms, wp_term_taxonomy, wp_term_relationships, wp_users, wp_usermeta, wp_options and wp_links.

WordPress manages all your blog information with the help of MySQL. Once you think of your database as a filing cabinet, WordPress becomes the agency that organizes and imports all data from your site. The different kinds of data include posts, images, and pages. MySQL then becomes the company, which made the filing cabinets in the first place. You can store all the post content, user profile, and custom post types by linking your WordPress site to MySQL. Most of the providers pre-install MySQL services on their web servers since multiple open source applications use it.

Why does WP use PHP?

WP uses PHP as well to retrieve data from your MySQL database. Now, to retrieve data from your database your CMS can run SQL queries to generate content. In 2017, you do not need to learn PHP and SQL scripting. Most of the queries and scripts are available as plugins. You simply need to download them, install them and then run them. PhpMyAdmin is one such application that can manage your site through a graphical interface. PhpMyAdmin allows you to run SQL queries for your WordPress tables.

WordPress and SQL: a natural relationship

The WordPress schema is pretty simple. That is what makes WordPress so much interesting and fun for all users. At the very core, it has title, text, excerpt, author details, post type and the time reference per post. The meta_value table can store anything you like. It can store longtextform up to 4 GB in size. Now, if you think you need days of premeditation about SQL while working with WP, you are wrong. It simply “happens.” 

Quite like simple its website design, SQL generation comes naturally to WordPress. As a result, most companies are content with WordPress as their CMS. Their tables and database scale with the business. Unless you get about a million views per day, your SQL generation does not need any human intervention.

WP Query

WP’s most powerful tool – WP Query. You can run all kinds of request parameters to WP Query, yet receive a collection of rows with your blog post and data. It can handle any valid query, run it and process it for you. The best feature about WP Query – parts of it is filterable. You can easily filter parts that has its origins in WP_Query ->get_posts(). If you know your way around, you can easily make any query better. You can even arbitrarily alter the SQL string and make any plugin “better.” WP Query makes sure, every bit of your website is customizable. It is the best way to manage data. 

Add the Database Abstraction Layer

You can also try the Database Abstraction Layer on WordPress. The $wpdb global object is amazing for updating and inserting data into your active database. The $wpdb provides you MVC-like actions. SELECTs are almost always handwritten while $wpdb is in action.

Thinking out of the box

WordPress can also use MyISAM storage engine, which is the default storage engine for all 5.5 MySQL versions and above. InnoDB includes low-level locking and features a built in full-text search. One full-table scan query puts forth a lot of hassle while running MyISAM. This one offers a table level locking as opposed to InnoDB. WordPress does have a slight glitch when it comes to site wide searches. If you are managing a large site, you should rather go with Solr, Lucene and Elastic Search. You can provide them as a Web Service to your users to increase the search efficiency and speed.

Managing longtext columns in WordPress

Longtext columns store key and value pairs in 4. These tables can be cumbersome. These LOB columns are resilient to standard BTREE indexing. Any search against the *values* starts a full table scan. Every block in the table is read from disk into the memory and then searched. WordPress likes to wildcard searches for “post_title.” This makes the process tedious, lengthy and inefficient.


HyperDB is the hero without a cape if you are used to working in a high traffic environment. You need more power than a regular database and server allows you. You possibly already use private hosting, if you are handling a high volume of traffic. HyperDB is quite amazing. You can enable a milieu of features and even replicate a lag detection by uncommenting some ready-made codes that come with the package.

The best way to manage your WordPress site is to get a professional database management person. While senior DBAs can cost you a lot of money, it also ensures a lot of security. They can make sure your company data and customer information are safe on the cloud, and that there are no leaks. If you want your website to run smoothly and fast, debug your code. If you do not have much idea about codes, get a remote DBA to take a look for you.

Author bio:

Sujain Thomas is a senior DBA consultant. She puts companies in touch with their real potential by debugging their RDBMS. Her team is famous for optimizing CMS for multiple websites across the country.