How to Do a WordPress Database Reset Properly

WordPress is an open-source content management system based on PHP. Its main use is to publish websites and blogs on the internet.

WordPress centers around a database that contains all the content for the site or blog. After running a WordPress site for some time the database starts to expand in size.

A lot of obsolete information gets left behind in it. So at regular intervals, it may be necessary to reset the database to its initial state.

This article will describe how to carry out a WordPress database reset. It is easier than it may sound.

What is a WordPress Database?

In its broadest sense, a database is a structured set of data. When applied to the IT field, a database management system (DBMS) is a piece of software that interacts with a user.

It stores and retrieves data as commanded. It is the website version of the pictures or videos saved on a personal computer.

Or, in an analogous way, an old-fashioned business card binder.

It can also be thought of as a large bookcase with books. The books are the tables.

Each book, or table, contains specified information, like settings or comments. Each entry in the book is a specific value, such as a username or an email.

A WordPress website runs with a database behind it. It is the very foundation of how it works.

Without it, the website would not work. It enables the site to run and load and it stores information like posts and comments.

It also records any changes that you or the visitors make.

More specifically, WordPress uses a database management system called MySQL. It uses a familiar arrangement in tables, rows, and columns to store the information.

The WordPress database is dynamic. So with the right administrative access privileges, users can add, delete, and modify the information.

MySQL is a very common open-source relational database management system (RDBMS). Something that many users are not familiar with is the language that it uses.

It codes in the Structured Query Language (SQL), which is quite common for databases. It works best with other open-source programs, such as Apache web server, Linux, PHP, and WordPress.

Why Reset a WordPress Database?

Is it smart to reset a WordPress database? After all, it contains a lot of important information.

It contains login information, comments, pages, and posts. Plus there is information that no one ever sees but that is vital.

It makes the website work, so why reset it? But resetting a WordPress site is essential for any website owner.

From time to time a developer must test new features or designs. If it is a new website it may be ok to do that.

But it is not advisable to use an online website for that. It would interfere with the usual flow of traffic.

To test any large changes, many web developers use a cloned website. This is so that the actual live website is not affected and to avoid downtime.

After testing, it is a good idea to reset the cloned website’s database. This leaves it new and fresh for the next website test.

Testing of plugins and themes on a clean WordPress site is time-consuming. Creating the local installation and manually installing everything is a tedious job too.

So why do it if there is an easier and faster method?

Before Resetting

Over time, and with the use of various plugins and themes, a database grows bigger and bigger.

Some WordPress database reset plugins allow the user to specify the obsolete tables. This slims down the database to a healthy size.

The most important result is that the website will continue to function optimally.

To return a WordPress database to the original setting, resetting it is the right thing to do. However, if the database is very slow and has a lot of information stored in it, it is usually best to first do a cleanup.

After working on a test or staging site on a local server, the recommendation is to reset the site and start fresh. This removes all the WordPress data but leaves all files intact on the hosting server.

It is very important to mention that after resetting, all data will be gone forever. This is something that cannot be undone.

It would be prudent to make a complete WordPress backup before resetting anything. As another option, make a backup of only the database.

How to Reset a WordPress Database

One of the most straightforward ways to do a WordPress database reset is by using a plugin. This article explains the use of the free WP Database Reset plugin.

The WP Database Reset plugin resets the database to its default settings. It also allows the user to reset only specified tables.

It obviates the five-minute installation of WordPress or the modification of any file.

WP Database Reset does not delete and reinstall the WordPress installation. It only deletes the data from the database.

The plugin gives the user control over certain reset settings. It allows the user to delete specific database tables, which is useful for cleaning up an oversized database.

This tool cleans blog posts, store products, and user and portfolio items. It also removes anything else that was later added to the WordPress installation.

This would include media and comments. It does not remove plugins and themes, but it will deactivate them.

What is the procedure? First of all, install and activate the WordPress Database Reset plugin.

After activation, go to the Database Reset page, located under Tools. Here, select the obsolete tables, or click Select All Tables to reset all tables.

After selecting the tables to be reset, it is possible to reactivate the current WordPress theme and active plugins. Also, WP Database Reset preserves the active WordPress user account.

As the final step, confirm the reset. This requires entering a security code in the text box and clicking Reset Tables.

A popup screen will appear confirming that the resetting procedure is about to start. Click OK to continue.

With the WordPress database reset complete, a success message will show on the plugin’s Settings page.

After a few seconds, the plugin will close the WordPress administrator area. After that, log in with the usual username and password and you can continue working.

Please note that the plugin does not create backups.

This plugin is an excellent tool when working in test environments. Under those circumstances, starting over is a constant need.

At this moment WP Database Reset does not support multisite installations. It works well on single installations and expedites the testing and retesting process.

FAQs about WordPress database reset

1. What is a WordPress database reset and when should it be performed?

A WordPress database reset involves wiping out all the information in a WordPress website’s database and setting it back to default. It should only be carried out when absolutely essential, such as when attempting to troubleshoot an issue or while creating a brand-new website.

2. Will resetting the WordPress database delete all my website data?

Yes, a database reset for WordPress will remove all information, including posts, pages, comments, media files, user accounts, and settings. Before executing a database reset, it is crucial to make a backup of your website.

3. Can I reset my WordPress database without losing my content and media files?

By manually exporting and importing data before and after the reset, or by utilizing a plugin, it is possible to reset the database without losing content and media assets. To prevent data loss, this needs some technological know-how and should be handled carefully.

4. How can I reset my WordPress database using a plugin?

Install and activate a plugin like Advanced WordPress Reset or WP Database Reset in order to reset the WordPress database using a plugin. These plugins will offer a user-friendly interface for carrying out the reset procedure.

5. What are the steps to reset the WordPress database manually?

To manually reset the WordPress database, log into the hosting control panel for your website, find and select the database, and then use SQL statements to destroy all tables and create them again with default settings.

6. Will resetting the database affect my WordPress theme and plugins?

The database will be reset, erasing all information, including theme and plugin settings. You will need to reinstall and set up your theme and plugins when you reset the database.

7. Can I reset specific sections of the database, such as posts or comments?

You can reset particular portions of the database, like posts or comments, using several plugins. Resetting particular portions, however, is not advised unless you are completely confident in your abilities because it may result in data discrepancies and errors.

8. What are the potential risks involved in resetting a WordPress database?

Data loss is the biggest danger of resetting a WordPress database. Always make a backup of your website before resetting it. Moreover, ensure sure the plugin you use to reset the database is a reliable one that has been tried out and evaluated by other users.

9. Is it possible to undo a WordPress database reset if I change my mind?

Unless you have a backup of your website from before the reset, it is impossible to undo a WordPress database reset. All data will be deleted after the reset process is finished and cannot be restored.

10. Are there any alternative solutions to reset the WordPress database that I can try first?

Prior to performing a reset, you can test some different options for resetting the WordPress database. For instance, you might try emptying the cache, switching to the default theme, or removing plugins to fix problems. Make sure the database reset is the best course of action for your particular issue before making the choice.

Ending thoughts on WordPress database reset

WordPress and Databases are an inseparable duo. They work together to make a website work.

The database works behind the scenes to ensure that all data is correctly managed.

Everyone who manages a WordPress site will have to perform a database reset at some point. This is because, at times, a database gets too big to function well.

For developers too, this is a necessary skill when testing out new ideas and designs.

If you enjoyed reading this article on how to do a WordPress database reset, you should check out this one about how to find and replace url in WordPress database.

We also wrote about a few related subjects like WordPress database schema, how to do a WordPress database cleanup and how to scan WordPress database for malware.

Sanja Pajic
Sanja Pajic

Full Stack Web Developer

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