You might have read a few, or maybe a ton of articles about optimizing your website page load speeds. You might already know a few strategies like optimizing images, caching and minification, and getting a CDN. But here’s another strategy that is rarely discussed: maintaining and cleaning your database.
For many website owners, the database is just one of the requirements for a WordPress install. It is however more than just that. Keeping your database clean and optimized can also shave a few seconds of loading speed. We’re all suckers for that one or two seconds. And believe it or not, one or two seconds saved could mean the difference between a bounce and a conversion.
What’s in Your Database?
If you don’t know what the database is for, then you might be surprised just how important it is. WordPress makes use of PHP to communicate with the database which contains important information such as posts, pages, your WooCommerce products, comments and product reviews, users and customer information, URLs, etc.
Why Do You Need to Clean Your Database?
Think of a database like it’s your computer’s hard drive. It’s where all your data is stored. It’s where you keep everything and without it, your computer won’t work. If you want to keep your computer running in top form, you clean your hard drive. The same concept applies to a website, to keep your website running fast and smooth, you clean its database by removing all that gunk and clutter.
What’s there to clean? Over continued use, a website accumulates many spam comments, copies of post revisions, and remnants of deleted plugins and themes. When that becomes too large and bloated then website performance will suffer.
Back Up Your Website
Now that you know the importance of a database, you just want to jump in and clean your database. Halt! Before you start any database cleaning, it would be wise to create a backup of your website. There are a couple of plugins that can help you do this. Your hosting provider will most likely have a backup of your website so can also check in with them.
Clean ‘Em Up
You can clean up your website database manually or you can use these awesome plugins.
WP-Optimize is one of the most popular plugins for cleaning your database and it is also one of the easiest to use. Simply install the plugin and run it. The plugin also allows you to schedule a regular database cleanup which is pretty handy if you want to keep your database in peak condition.
WP-DBManager is another popular plugin for database optimization. It is however geared for more advanced users. Setting it up can be tricky if you’re not familiar with database elements. Being trickier however means that it has more customizable options and features. Some of its features include repairing a corrupted database, a database restore, running MySQL calls, and clearing tables. WP-DBManager however cannot clear bloat so if you want to go with this one for its host of other features, you still might want to consider getting WP-Optimize or any other means to clear database bloat.
So when was the last time you optimized your database? What tool or plugin did you use to clean it?