Anatomy of a WordPress Database

You don’t need to know the inner workings of a database to be able use WordPress. However, knowing the basics could help you solve some problems or find the information you need much quicker, or at the very least understand where and how the information is being stored by WordPress on the backend.

A database is a system of storing and fetching data in an organized way. A WordPress database includes posts, pages, comments, categories, tags, custom fields, users, metadata, and other WordPress settings.

How to access the database on cPanel:

Under the databases section of your cPanel, select phpMyAdmin

All the databases are on the left, with the tables of the selected database on the right. Each database name starts with the database prefix and the number of the database. For instance, below you can see I have seven different databases for different WordPress installs. You can also see how a WordPress installation has 12 default tables that contain many different parts of your website.

WordPress Table Breakdown

wp_commentmeta: Meta information about comments on your site. Comment_id fields correlate with those on the wp_comments table.

wp_comments: Contains the comments themselves, including comment author name, url email, acceptance status, etc.

wp_links: To manage blogrolls created by earlier versions of WordPress and hold information related to the links entered into the Links feature.

wp_options: Most of your site-wide settings, such as site url, admin email, default category, posts per page, time format, among many more. Also the location of many plugin settings.

wp_postmeta: Meta information about posts, pages, and custom post types, for instance which template to display on a page, custom fields, etc. Also a place for plugin data such as WordPress SEO )Check**)

wp_posts: Contains posts, pages, revisions, and custom post types

wp_termmeta: Place for developers to store custom metadata for terms under their custom taxonomies.

wp_terms: Houses taxonomy system by which content is organized. Individual taxonomy items are called terms, for instance individual categories and tags

wp_term_relationships: Manages relationships of post types with terms in wp_terms table. Basically, how WordPress determines post A is in B category.

wp_term_taxonomy: Defines taxonomies for terms in wp_terms. Helps WordPress differentiate between which term is a category, which is a tag, etc

wp_usermeta: Meta information about registered users

wp_users: User(s) information like username, password, email, user privileges, etc. Passwords are encrypted here and don’t display the actual password. Though, they can be changed using the MD5 option in the “function” column, typing the new password in the value box, and saving.

Saving edits

Once changes are made, scroll to the bottom of the entry you are editing and you will see two dropdown items. The present is to save the changes you’ve made, hit go, and you will be returned to the previous page


Other options instead of saving are insert as new row, insert as new row and ignore errors, and show insert query. Instead of going back to previous page you can insert another new row, go back to this page, and edit next row.