How to Delete Unused Database Tables in WordPress – 2019 Guide

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5 min read

No matter how you’re optimizing your WordPress website, and what you’re doing to make it clean, and well coded, if you have lots of database tables, things will be complicated in the end.

The most important factor in the modern web crawling is the speed of your web page, for that reason, you don’t have a choice other than optimizing your database for better crawling and faster loading time.

In today’s post, I’ll show you the easiest way to remove the database tables that you don’t need in WordPress.

These tables and data are stored in plugins or themes you’ve installed and removed previously. So, after that, the tables still there in the MySQL database without any reason or benefit, it’s a junk data that slows down the website or the blog.

When you install a plugin in WordPress, it automatically creates all the necessary folders, files, and database tables for it to work properly. However, when you deactivate and remove the same plugin, it may not delete the database tables along with the files and folders.

For instance, when I deactivated and deleted a plugin called WordFence, it did not delete its more than twenty database tables along with the created files and folders.

wp delete plugin db tables wordfence database tables

More often than not, plugin developers intentionally choose not to delete the plugin tables when you uninstall a plugin. There are many reasons for this behavior, but the most popular reason is to retain user settings, data, and other options within your database so that they can be restored when you reactivate the plugin.

Retaining settings and user data is a good thing. However, with all the plugins you install and uninstall over time, the database size may increase due to the leftover database tables. Moreover, any leftover plugin database table may prove to be a potential liability.

Here’s how to delete all those leftover database tables in WordPress with just a few clicks.

Removing Unused Database Tables in WordPress

To get started, you need to install a great plugin from WordPress official plugins directory, it’s called “Plugins Garbage Collector”.

Don’t worry about the last plugin update, it works with the latest WordPress version at this time and it will easily scan your entire database for unused tables.

Also, you can install the plugin from your WordPress dashboard, just click on “Plugins”, then, “Add New” and type the plugin’s name in the search box. You’ll find it and you only need to click on “install”.

After activating the plugin, go to the “Tools -> Plugins Garbage Collector” page, select the “Search non-WP tables” radio option, and click on the “Scan Database” button.

After completing the scan, the plugin will display all the database tables that are not related to the core of WordPress or any of the installed plugins. Generally, these are the tables that are left over after deleting a plugin.

wp delete plugin db tables left over database table list

There is no select all option for obvious reasons, so double-check each and every table and manually select all the tables you want to delete. Then, scroll down and click on the “Delete Tables” button. Again, only press this button if you are sure and have a good database backup.

wp delete plugin db tables click delete tables button

If everything goes well, you’ve successfully deleted all the leftover plugin tables, and your site is still working as it should. While you are at it, you can use plugins like WP-Optimize to further clean and optimize your WordPress database.

wp delete plugin db tables tables deleted

Done!

Comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences regarding using this approach to delete unused and leftover plugin database tables in WordPress.

The WordPress database size matters

In WordPress, like any other PHP and MySQL software, the execution time in the server is what makes the difference in the page loading time. As a result, the Google crawlers will be able to reach the files faster and understand them better, that means a huge impact on SEO and ranking in the SERP.

In other words, when you have a database that’s not optimized and full of junk data, the website will load slower, and Google crawlers won’t be able to understand your content well because of the long crawling time, and also, because of the errors that can be found.

The more options you add on your website, the more problems you’ll cause. If you have multiple plugins, for example, that work for multiple functions, you can combine them all into a single tool.

That’s the case of the JetPack WordPress plugin that does a great job. It does multiple jobs at once and you’ll save lots of time managing multiple plugins with their settings and update when you have this trusted tool.

Optimizing your database is not enough in these days, you need to focus on images and the files you’re sharing. Just make sure to use the exact image dimensions of your website layout to avoid large file sizes for nothing.

Also, ensure the quality of the plugins you’re installing, the same thing applies to themes. You can find reviews about any WordPress tool online. That will save a lot of time and effort, but also, it will make your site clean from junk files that no one use.

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