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How to Clean Up Your WordPress Database for Improved Performance

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If you have been using WordPress for a while, then there is a good chance that you need to clean up your WordPress site. Doing regular clean ups allow you to reduce your database size which means quicker and smaller backup files. In this article, we will show you how to clean up WordPress database.

Cleaning up WordPress Database

As you use WordPress, your database accumulates a lot of extra data such as revisions, spam comments, trashed comments, data from plugins you are no longer using, and more. Removing all this unnecessary data can significantly reduce your database size which speeds up your backup process and can add minor performance improvements as well.

Let’s take a look at how you can clean up your WordPress database.

Before you start, Make a Backup!

Before you do anything else, first create a complete WordPress backup of your site. Changes made by the clean up plugin are irreversible. Even though it does not directly mess with your posts or comments, its always better to be safe than sorry.

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Cleaning up your WordPress Database with WP-Sweep

First thing you need to do is install and activate the WP-Sweep plugin. Upon activation, simply go to Tools » Sweep to clean up your WordPress database.

WP-Sweep posts analysis

This plugin will analyze your WordPress database and show you a report of how much clutter you can clean. The sweep report is divided into different sections for your posts, comments, user meta, options, terms, and database optimize.

Cleaning up your comment meta and user meta data

You can go through items and clean them individually, or you can scroll down to the bottom of the page and click sweep all to clean up everything in your WordPress database.

Cleaning up may take some time depending on how big your database is. WP-Sweep will show you the progress by updating the stats on the page.

Why WP-Sweep vs WP-Optimize?

You may be wondering why are we writing about WP-Sweep when there is a very popular WP-Optimize plugin available that does nearly the same thing.

Well that’s because it’s coded by a well-respected WordPress developer, Lester Chan.

Also because the main distinguishing characteristic of WP-Sweep is that it uses proper WordPress delete functions as much as possible instead of running direct delete MySQL queries. Whereas the WP-Optimize plugin uses direct delete SQL queries which can leave orphaned data left behind.

In other words, WP-Sweep is a better coded plugin than WP-Optimize.

What all does WP-Sweep clean?

WP-Sweep uses all the proper WordPress delete functions to clean up the database. At the time of writing this article, it can clean up the following:

  • Revisions
  • Auto drafts
  • Deleted comments
  • Unapproved comments
  • Spammed comments
  • Deleted comments
  • Orphaned post meta
  • Orphaned comment meta
  • Orphaned user meta
  • Orphan term relationships
  • Unused terms
  • Duplicated post meta
  • Duplicated comment meta
  • Duplicated user meta
  • Transient options
  • Optimizes database tables
  • oEmbed caches in post meta

That’s all, we hope this article helped you clean your WordPress site using WP-Sweep. You may also want to check out our guide on the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

29 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Jiří Vaněk says

    I use the WP Sweep plugin on all the websites I create, primarily for one reason: revisions. Since I often use Elementor, the website tends to suffer from a large number of revisions. Both WordPress and Elementor create a significant number of these revisions. On a site with many pages and articles, the revisions can grow to absurd numbers. These revisions can then significantly slow down the website. The Sweep plugin has brilliantly solved this problem for me. I use it at regular intervals, and thanks to it, I have peace of mind from revisions and website slowdowns. It’s a great and lightweight plugin that everyone should have.

  3. Sally G. says

    In terms of comments, does Empty Spam and Empty Trash do the same thing as this plug-in? I can certainly see where it would be useful for earlier revisions to a post, etc.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      For sites just starting out it would be the same but as a site grows it can clean up information from comments that were deleted and a few other things :)


  4. Ed says

    What a fantastic plugin. Has made such a difference to my website and increased the speed by a lot

  5. Nivesh Gandhi says

    Both are great plug ins. Normally you don’t even need to do backup. But its always good to be on safe side.

  6. Dave says

    WP Sweep – what a plugin. I have a WP site that hadn’t had much love over the past 18 months and somehow had a 1.4Gb DB. Worryingly WP Sweep managed to reduce that to just over 17MB.

    More investigation needed.

  7. Francis says

    Hello , i have a question. Im using godaddy managed wordpress . They have a staging site. Can i use the staging site to clean up database then , push it to live production site after. Will it clean my database. Thanks

  8. Mike Patterson says

    Thank you for the useful information on cleaning WordPress Site. This helps me a lot as my site is getting bulky and take a lot of time to get load.

  9. Ramon says

    Looked promissing but I’m not sure about the result. I had about 2600 revisions.. hoped cleaning them would make a difference but it didn’t, at least not in database size, might even be bigger now .. about 800MB.. What options are there to compact database if cleaning up doesn’t help?

    By the way: looked like wp-sweep locked up a couple of times.. after refesh I noticed that the numbers were decreased and I started again, and again, and again till all revisions where removed. Can’t say I’m excited about wp-sweep but maybe I used it wrong, is that possible?

  10. Ahmed says

    Very nice post!
    Cleaning database is very usefull especially for large ones.
    I have used the Advanced Database Cleaner, it is also very powerful and provides many features such as scheduling the cleaning of database and more…

  11. Chris says

    I really enjoyed this article, the layout, and the links. I really just had to say I appreciate the 50 second video that quickly and easily explained what to do and the lead in of backing up your site with a quick little article to find a backup service. I’m new to WP and blogging but trying to learn fast and after viewing this page I can tell I’m going to be spending a lot of time on your site! Well done and thanks!

  12. Gerard says

    Nice job .. on article and plugin … Are the WP-Sweep commands visible under WP-CLI?



  13. Anna says

    I had wp optimize on my “to install” list, but after seeing this post I downloaded WP sweep. it’s so easy to use. I usually clean up my spam comments, but I know that I have a lot of revisions on my posts so it’s good to get rid of those!

  14. Bhongo says

    yet another great article. Good job guys, I have never thought about about a database clean-up for my WP sites but now thanks to you, I will be doing a clean-up ASAP.

  15. Nikky says

    We’ve been using Wp-Optimize plugin and it works great with similar options to the plugin mentioned above. What you suggest Wp-Optimize or WP-Sweep ?

  16. KennyTheMap says

    Certainly cleaned up a lot of trash from my main website.
    Like Broken Link Checker it is a really useful plugin.

    A question; I deactivate such plugins until I next need to use them as I gather that can improve performance. Is my assumption correct?

    Thanks, Kenny

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Properly coded plugins will not affect your site’s performance when you are not using them. But there can be plugins that will add additional style sheets or JavaScript even if you are not using them. So it is best to deactivate the plugins you are not using.


  17. Marcelo says

    Whoa! I’ll be switching almost right now, unless the author of WP-Optimize upgrade its plugin this week :)

  18. Dave says

    I agree! I have used a bunch of tools for this purpose before, with mostly good results. But this plugin is SO much easier to use, and really did a great job of cleaning.

    Of course, some people won’t heed the clear warning to back up first, but that’s human nature, I suppose. :)

    A super job by Lester Chan, an under-appreciated outstanding coder and contributor to WordPress!


  19. Kenneth Adair says

    I deleted the wp-optimize and added the wp-sweep but where does one see what the database size is before and after sweeping?

    • Marcelo says

      That’s the thing with this Sweep plugin. Its author wants things clear, simple, and minimalistic. But I think the UI for such a critical tool like a database cleaning, should be more detailed.
      Also, the lack of a scheduling feature will make it pass unnoticed.

      I think the best approach would be if Ruhani Rabin could upgrade its own and well known plugin to use official, native, WP queries to the cleaning. I will ask him what does he think about it.

      Lester Chan is a great programmer, but I wouldn’t like to abandon WP-Optimize because of the approach.

      What do you think guys?

      Best regards

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