Do you know that the WordPress database provides the foundation for millions of websites nowadays?
WordPress is touted as the most beginner-friendly website builder platform. For this reason, it’s always a top choice for many green website owners. You can accomplish a lot through WordPress even though you don’t have a coding base.
If you’ve been using WordPress for a while, it’s a good idea to learn how to use the WordPress database. This will help you get the most out of your website.
In this post, we’re going to explore what a WordPress database is and how it works. Plus, we’ll look at how to export the WordPress database. Let’s get to work!
- What Is a WordPress Database?
- Why Do You Need to Export WordPress Database?
- #1 Install a WordPress Export Database Plugin
- #2 Export WordPress Database by phpMyAdmin
- #3 Utilize SSH to Export WordPress Database
- #4 Apply WP-CLI to Export WordPress Database
What Is a WordPress Database?
A WordPress database refers to the storage of all your website data using the MySQL open-source system. In simple terms, it stores all information about your WordPress website including pages, user data, plugins, themes, settings, etc.
The data is normally saved in the form of tables, rows, and columns. You, as an admin, can add, modify, and delete any information in your site’s database.
Before installing WordPress, you must first own a MySQL database on your web server. For convenience, most of today’s WordPress hosting providers already have MySQL in their packages.
During WordPress installation, you need to provide a database name, host, username, and password. This information is stored in a configuration file named wp-config.php along with other essential files in the database.
WordPress sends a MySQL query to the database when you create, alter, read, or delete data from the database.
So, when a user visits your site, their browser sends a request to your web server. Then the server transfers the data to the visitor’s IP address and displays the requested information.
Why Do You Need to Export WordPress Database?
There are numerous reasons for exporting the WordPress database.
Create Offsite Backups: Since the database contains all the essential data for your site to function, it’s crucial.
Local backups can help you avoid unexpected data loss even if your host server crashes or your website’s security is compromised. Having offsite backups, you can easily restore your site’s data when needed.
Download Specific Website Information: You can extract certain information from your site’s database, such as posts, pages, user data, etc. for business purposes.
The WordPress database allows you to download only the selected information so you don’t have to deal with unnecessary data. In this case, it’s best to export specific tables from the database to get all the needed information.
Migrate Website Data: Don’t want to build a new website from scratch? You can export your old website database and import it into the new site. This not only saves you time but also avoids data loss when kickstarting a fresh WordPress website.
Now let’s see how to export the WordPress database effectively.
#1 Install a WordPress Export Database Plugin
This is the simplest way. You don’t have to be a technical expert to export your site’s database. There are plenty of plugins available in the market enabling you to do that effortlessly. In this section, we’re going to discuss the BlogVault plugin.
- Go to Plugins → Add New in the WordPress admin panel.
- Search for the plugin in the search box and click Install Now → Activate.
After plugin installation, you will be directed to the BlogVault dashboard. It will take a backup of your website including a database backup and notify you via email once done.
3. In the BlogVault dashboard, select the list of your websites under Sites.
4. Choose the website whose database you want to export. The Backup section shows how many backups of your website have been taken and which one is the latest. Press on the panel to view backups and options to download.
5. Hit on the Download button.
6. Define the Backup Version to download in the Download Backup popup and expand the Selective Download drop-down.
7. To export only your website’s database, select Download Tables and uncheck the other. If you intend to download only a few tables, click All Tables and uncheck the Select All box. Then check the desired tables to export and hit on Confirm.
8. Press the Continue button. It will take a few minutes to export the WordPress database. Select the Download Link button to save your WordPress database on your computer.
#2 Export WordPress Database by phpMyAdmin
Here’s a quick step-by-step instruction to export the WordPress database via phpMyAdmin.
- Log in to phpMyAdmin.
2. Select the database name in the left-hand menu. In this example, the database name is bitnami_wordpress.
3. Choose the Export menu item.
4. Enable the Quick Export Method and choose the SQL output Format. Then hit the Go button.
An SQL export file will be created and downloaded to your local computer. Store this file carefully as you will call for it to import the database back into MySQL.
#3 Utilize SSH to Export WordPress Database
The previous technique is good but it doesn’t work well with large WordPress database files. For WooCommerce sites, which are usually enormous, the phpMyAdmin method fails most of the time.
Several plugins create a new database of a backup and add it to the existing database. This makes your current database grow larger.
For sites with large databases, SSH is a great choice. But it requires some technical knowledge and experience. To apply SSH, you should be familiar with the mysqldump command.
By default, when you use this command, an SQL file is generated. This file contains a list of available SQL commands. Running all the SQL commands in the file creates an exact copy of your database.
Log into your SSH Server and insert the code below into the command prompt to run the mysqldump command:
mysqldump -u my_db_user -p my_db_name > /path/to/save/backup_file.sql
#4 Apply WP-CLI to Export WordPress Database
Another manual method to export your WordPress database is using the command line WP-CLI. Since you only have to deal with commands, it’s important to get familiar with them first.
This is an alternative to wp-admin. All functionality on the WordPress admin dashboard has a corresponding command on WP-CLI.
Using WP-CLI, you can easily configure installations, update plugins, modify themes, export databases, and so on. It works even without an internet browser. You can connect remotely and securely to your website via SSH.
- Download and install WP-CLI.
- Connect to the server via SSH using the credentials of your cPanel account.
- Find the wp-config.php file, which is located in the public_html directory, by using the following command:
Remember to replace <your_application_name> with your database name.
4. Execute the command below to export your database:
wp db export <file>.sql
Make sure to replace <file> with the name of the SQL file you want to export. The downloaded file will be saved in the same directory where you are running WP-CLI. In this case, it is the public_html directory.
5. Save the exported file to your local computer from the directory folder.
Exporting WordPress Database Is No Longer Complicated
Exporting WordPress databases comes in handy when you plan to back up or migrate your data. If you’re a beginner, we highly recommend using plugins to minimize errors. Otherwise, phpMyAdmin could be a perfect solution. In case you have a large database, apply the SSH or WP-CLI command line instead.
That’s all about the WordPress database and how to export it. Check out our guide if you want to export your WordPress content.
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