Which Relational Database Does WordPress Use?

I’m excited to help you understand which relational database WordPress uses. As someone with a lot of experience working with databases and web development, I’m here to guide you through the complexities of this popular content management system.

WordPress is a really powerful platform for creating all sorts of websites, blogs, and online stores. It’s used by over 40% of all websites on the internet, which is pretty incredible.

One of the reasons why it’s so popular is that it can store and manage data in an organized way using a relational database.

Relational databases are a crucial part of modern web applications. They help developers store, retrieve, and manipulate large amounts of data in a structured way.

With WordPress, the choice of a database system is really important for how well your website performs, how secure it is, and how easily it can scale.

This article will explain the relational database used by WordPress, its structure, and the best methods for managing it.

I’ll use my experience and examples to help you understand everything clearly. So, let’s explore the world of WordPress databases together!

The Database System Used by WordPress

The database system used by WordPress is MySQL or its fork, MariaDB. Both MySQL and MariaDB are open-source relational database management systems (RDBMS) that provide robust features for managing large amounts of data.

WordPress uses the MySQL or MariaDB database to store all its data, including posts, pages, comments, user information, and other settings.

MySQL AB, a Swedish company, originally developed MySQL, which Oracle Corporation later acquired. Oracle owns MySQL, licensed under the GPL (GNU General Public License).

The original developers of MySQL created MariaDB in 2009 as a community-driven fork of MySQL. Unlike MySQL, MariaDB is licensed under the LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License) and is intended to be a seamless drop-in replacement.

WordPress chose MySQL and MariaDB as their database system due to their popularity, robustness, and compatibility with other web technologies.

MySQL and MariaDB are widely used in the web development community and are known for their reliability, scalability, and performance.

Furthermore, MySQL and MariaDB have a long-standing compatibility history with WordPress, with many plugins and themes specifically designed to function with these database systems.

MariaDB vs MySQL: The Difference

As mentioned before, MariaDB is a community-developed fork of MySQL, which means they share many similarities in terms of features and functionality. However, there are some key differences between the two:

LicensingReleased under the GPLDual licensing:
Uses a dual licensing model, offering both open-source and commercial licenses.
DevelopmentCommunity-drivenPrimarily developed and supported by Oracle.
CompatibilityDrop-in replacementGenerally compatible with MySQL but may have syntax and behaviour differences.
FeaturesIncludes advanced features.Offers standard features and functionality.
SecurityIncludes additional security featuresOffers standard security features and functionality.

Advantages of MySQL and MariaDB

MySQL and MariaDB have many advantages as database systems, particularly for web applications like WordPress. Here are some of the key advantages:


MySQL/MariaDB is highly scalable and can handle large amounts of data and traffic without compromising performance. This makes it ideal for web applications that need to scale as they grow.


MySQL/MariaDB is optimized for web applications and can handle many transactions per second. It is also known for its fast read and write speeds. This makes it an ideal choice for WordPress sites that require fast loading times.


MySQL and MariaDB have undergone extensive testing and optimization for web applications, rendering them robust and mature database systems. Due to its renowned stability and reliability, it has become a favoured option for mission-critical applications.


MySQL/MariaDB has several built-in security features, including support for encryption, SSL, and user authentication. It also has a robust permission system that allows administrators to control access to data.


MySQL/MariaDB is widely supported by hosting providers and is compatible with many web technologies, including PHP, Apache, and Nginx. This makes it easy to deploy and manage WordPress sites.

Open Source

MySQL and MariaDB are open-source software, which means that it is free to use and can be modified and distributed by anyone. This has helped create a large community of developers who contribute to its development and provide support to users.

How Does WordPress Database Work?

The WordPress database structure is designed to store and organize all of the data that make up your WordPress site. This includes posts, pages, comments, users, and settings.

Understanding the structure of the WordPress database is important for managing your site, optimizing performance, and troubleshooting issues.

The WordPress database structure is organized into tables, each storing a different type of data. A WordPress database has two types of tables: core tables and custom tables.

Core tables are the default tables created when you install WordPress, while plugins and themes create custom tables to store additional data.

Illustration To Further Explain How WordPress Database Works

Let me illustrate this using a fictitious example. Imagine you have a WordPress site that sells books online. The core tables in your database might include the following:

  • wp_users: stores information about registered users on your site, including their username, email address, and password.
  • wp_posts: stores information about all of the posts on your site, including their title, content, and publication date.
  • wp_comments: stores information about all of the comments on your site, including the commenter’s name, email address, and comment text.
  • wp_options: stores various site settings and configurations, such as your site title, tagline, and timezone.

In addition to these core tables, you might have custom tables created by plugins or themes that store additional data about your site.

For example, a plugin that tracks book sales might create a custom table called “wp_book_sales” that stores information about each book sold, such as the book’s title, author, and price.

Understanding the structure of your WordPress database can help you optimize your site’s performance and troubleshoot issues.

For example, if your site runs slowly, you might want to optimize your database by removing unnecessary data or adding indexes to speed up queries.

If you’re experiencing issues with a plugin or theme, you might need to check if it’s creating custom tables conflicting with other parts of your site.

In my personal experience, I’ve had to troubleshoot database issues on several WordPress sites.

One time, a site was running slowly due to a large number of spam comments that were clogging up the wp_comments table.

By cleaning up the spam comments and optimizing the table, I improved the site’s performance significantly.

How To Properly Manage WordPress Database

To manage your WordPress database, you can use a variety of tools and techniques, including:

  1. Backups: Regular database backups are essential to ensure you don’t lose any data in case of a server crash or other issues. You can use plugins or command-line tools to create backups and store them in a secure location.
  2. Optimization: Optimizing your database can help improve your site’s performance by reducing the size of the database, speeding up queries, and improving search functionality. You can use plugins or manual techniques to optimize your database, such as removing unnecessary data, cleaning up spam comments, or adding indexes.
  3. Security: Securing your database is critical to prevent unauthorized access or data breaches. You can use various techniques to secure your database, including strong passwords, SSL encryption, and user permissions.
  4. Troubleshooting: If you’re experiencing issues with your site, the database could be the root cause. You can use tools like phpMyAdmin or WP-CLI to troubleshoot issues, such as identifying slow queries, fixing database errors, or repairing corrupted tables.

To illustrate these concepts, imagine you have a WordPress site that sells shoes online. Your database might consist of tables such as “wp_users” (which stores information about registered users), “wp_posts” (which stores information about products), and “wp_comments” (which stores information about customer reviews).

To manage your database, you could use a plugin like WP-Optimize to optimize and clean up your tables or a backup plugin like UpdraftPlus to create regular database backups. You could also use tools like phpMyAdmin or WP-CLI to troubleshoot issues, such as identifying slow queries or repairing corrupted tables.


To recap: which relational database does WordPress use? The simple answer is that WordPress uses MySQL or MariaDB as its default relational database.

Furthermore, I highlighted the basics of WordPress database management and the various tools and techniques to optimize performance, troubleshoot issues, and keep your data secure.

With this knowledge, you can confidently manage your WordPress database and ensure that your website always performs at its best.

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