WordPress Database Explained

Posted By: Ellyse Dwyer
Date Posted: 17/10/2022


The WordPress database serves as the backbone of your WordPress website. Your WordPress website would be inoperable without a database. The WordPress database allows your website to load and run, as well as store and save blog content such as posts and comments, as well as changes made by you and the users.

This article will explain what the WordPress database is and how it works. You’ll have a much better understanding of the data that powers your WordPress website by the end of this post. Let’s get started.


Is there a database in WordPress?

Yes, as you’ve probably guessed, WordPress requires a database. WordPress is a PHP-based database-driven open-source content management system or website platform. WordPress stores and retrieves content from your website or blog using a database.


A WordPress website is essentially “a friendly face on a database.”


MySQL is the database management system used by WordPress. MySQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) that is commonly used to create databases. MySQL employs Structured Query Language (SQL), a popular database language. MySQL performs best when combined with other open-source applications such as WordPress, the Apache web server, the Linux operating system, and PHP.

A MySQL database is required before you can install the WordPress software. When looking for a WordPress hosting provider, you’ll notice that they all include MySQL in their packages. You provide WordPress with information about your specific database during installation, and WordPress handles the rest.

The vast majority of WordPress users will never have to interact with the WordPress database. It simply works in the background. However, if you want to develop themes or plugins or contribute to WordPress core, you should understand what the WordPress database is and how it works.


What Exactly Is the WordPress Database?

The WordPress database is a MySQL database that organises the data on your website into tables, rows, and columns. The WordPress database is dynamic, which means you can add, modify, and delete data from it at any time (if you have administrative access).

You can see more regarding the WordPress database Description on their official site.



Why Is a Database Required for WordPress?

Every WordPress site, in general, contains a wide range of data types. All this information must be stored somewhere. The WordPress database comes into play here.

The concept of a database is not unique to the WordPress platform. A database can be straightforward or complex. It can be either small or large. However, all databases have one thing in common: they store information in a way that is quick and easy to access.


The following are some examples of the various types of data stored in the WordPress database:

  • Pages, posts, and other content
  • Tags, groups, and other organisational data
  • User comments and profile information
  • Theme and plugin-related information
  • Full-site configurations

It’s easy to see how the WordPress database stores nearly everything on your website. This alone is a compelling reason to learn more about the WordPress database.


How Does WordPress’s Database Work?

A database is created when you first install WordPress to create a new site. During most WordPress installations, the database is created automatically. However, it is also possible to manually create a database or to use an existing database. Whether it is created automatically or manually, your new database will be stored on the server of your hosting provider (sometimes called a database host).

When a user visits your website, their browser sends a request to your site’s server. The server sends the necessary data to properly display your site and allow it to function for your users as you intended.

To function, any database requires software. In the case of the WordPress database, that software management system is known as MySQL, and it is free and open source.

Because the WordPress database is built on the MySQL platform, the database for your site is frequently referred to as the “MySQL Database.” But don’t be intimidated or perplexed by this. That is, MySQL is what allows your database to store information and give you direct access to it. When you need to store, delete, or modify data, WordPress will send a MySQL query to your database, instructing it to perform the actions you specified in the administration panel.


WordPress Database Structure

You wouldn’t be able to access the WordPress database without the MySQL platform. Consider MySQL to be the engine that drives your database.

What information is kept in the WordPress database? And how do you locate and access your WordPress account’s database?

Let’s take a closer look at the WordPress database structure, as well as the different types of data and tables that can be found there.


What Exactly Is Stored in the WordPress Database?

We briefly discussed how the information in your WordPress database is organised at the beginning of the article. Database tables are used to organise massive amounts of data so that it can be accessed easily and quickly.

Consider a database table to be a folder inside a large filing cabinet. Each folder or table is organised into different data categories. For example, your home’s physical filing system may include one folder for receipts and another for upcoming bills. Similarly, different tables exist in the WordPress database for posts, user comments, user data, and so on.



Default WordPress Database Tables

Every new WordPress database installation will come with 12 tables. The names of the tables give you a good idea of what each table oversees storing.

Furthermore, each table will have a variety of fields and columns that will store even more specific bits of data. The wp comments table, for example, contains all the information about user comments on your posts and pages.


Table Name Description
wp_users The list of users on your WordPress website. Users of all WordPress user roles are stored here (administrator, editor, author, contributor, subscriber, etc.) Additional user information stored in this table includes username, first name, last name, nickname, password, email, registration date, status, and role.
wp_usermeta Each user features information called metadata. Metadata stored here include a unique user ID, meta key, meta value, and meta ID. These are all unique identifiers for users on your site.
wp_term_taxonomy WordPress uses three types of taxonomies, including category, link, or tag. This table stores the taxonomy associations for the terms.
wp_term_relationships This table stores the relationships between posts, categories, and tags. The association of links to their respective categories is also kept in this table.
wp_termmeta Each term features information called metadata and it is stored in wp_termmeta.
wp_terms The categories for both posts and links and the tags for posts are found within the wp_terms table.
wp_posts The core of the WordPress data is the posts. This table stores the content of any post or page that you’ve published, including autosave revisions and post option settings. Additionally, pages and navigation menu items are stored in this table.
wp_postmeta Each post features information called metadata and it is stored in the wp_postmeta. Some plugins may add their own information to this table.
wp_options All settings set from the WordPress admin dashboard’s Settings page are stored here. This includes all theme and plugin options.
wp_links The wp_links holds information related to the links entered into the Links feature of WordPress. (This feature has now been deprecated, but can be re-enabled with the Links Manager plugin.)
wp_comments All comments published to your site are stored here, along with additional information about the comment author (name, URL, IP address, email address, etc.)
wp_commentmeta Each comment features information called the metadata and it is stored in the wp_commentmeta, including the comment ID number.


Example of a WordPress Database Table: Comments

Any WordPress database table can be expanded to reveal all of the data it contains. Take, for example, the wp comments table.



As you can see, the WordPress database table wp comments is further subdivided into the following columns:

  • comment_ID
  • comment_post_ID
  • comment_author
  • comment_author_email
  • comment_author_url
  • comment_author_IP
  • comment_date
  • comment_date_gmt
  • comment_content
  • comment_karma
  • comment_approved
  • comment_agent
  • comment_type
  • comment_parent
  • user_id

Your database contains far more information about each user comment on your site than you probably realised. It saves information on each comment’s author, unique user ID, location of the comment, and much more.



Your WordPress site is much more complicated than it appears, which you may not have realised. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that allows WordPress to function as it does. This applies to all WordPress sites, whether large corporate sites or small personal blogs.

Hopefully, you now have a much better understanding of the WordPress database.

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