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How to Change the WordPress Database Prefix to Improve Security

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Are you wondering how to change the WordPress database prefix for your website?

Changing the database prefix can protect your website’s data against SQL injections and other attacks from online hackers. It can be an important step towards improving WordPress security.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to change the WordPress database prefix to improve security.

How to change the WordPress database prefix

Why Should You Change the WordPress Database Prefix?

The WordPress Database is like a brain for your entire WordPress website because every single piece of information and files are stored there.

This makes the database a hacker’s favorite target. Spammers and hackers can run automated codes for SQL injections and get into your WordPress database.

Unfortunately, many people forget to change the database prefix while they install WordPress. This makes it easier for hackers to plan a mass attack by targeting the default prefix wp_.

The easiest way you can protect your WordPress database is by changing the database prefix, which is really simple to do on a site that you are setting up.

It takes a few extra steps to change the WordPress database prefix properly for your established site without completely messing it up. With that being said, we will show you how to change your WordPress database prefix and improve your WordPress security.

Video Tutorial

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How to Change the WordPress Database Prefix

We recommend that you back up your WordPress database before you do anything suggested in this tutorial. It is also important to keep daily backups of your WordPress website using a plugin like Duplicator.

We also recommend that you redirect your visitors to a temporary maintenance page while you change the database prefix. Otherwise, you could cause a bad user experience for visitors to your website.

How to Change Table Prefix in wp-config.php

First, you will need to connect to your website using FTP or the File Manager app in your WordPress hosting account.

You then need to open your wp-config.php file, which is located in your WordPress root directory. Here, you can change the table prefix line from wp_ to something else like this wp_a123456_

So the line would look like this:

$table_prefix  = 'wp_a123456_';

Note: You can only change the table prefix using numbers, letters, and underscores.

Change All Database Table Names

Next, you need to connect to your database using the phpMyAdmin tool. If your host uses the cPanel dashboard, then you can easily find phpMyAdmin there.

Launch phpMyAdmin From Your Control Panel

There are a total of 11 default WordPress tables, so changing them manually would be a pain.

Instead, you should click on the SQL tab at the top.

SQL query in phpMyAdmin

Then, you can enter the following SQL query:

RENAME table `wp_commentmeta` TO `wp_a123456_commentmeta`;
RENAME table `wp_comments` TO `wp_a123456_comments`;
RENAME table `wp_links` TO `wp_a123456_links`;
RENAME table `wp_options` TO `wp_a123456_options`;
RENAME table `wp_postmeta` TO `wp_a123456_postmeta`;
RENAME table `wp_posts` TO `wp_a123456_posts`;
RENAME table `wp_terms` TO `wp_a123456_terms`;
RENAME table `wp_termmeta` TO `wp_a123456_termmeta`;
RENAME table `wp_term_relationships` TO `wp_a123456_term_relationships`;
RENAME table `wp_term_taxonomy` TO `wp_a123456_term_taxonomy`;
RENAME table `wp_usermeta` TO `wp_a123456_usermeta`;
RENAME table `wp_users` TO `wp_a123456_users`;

Remember to change the database prefix to the one that you picked when editing the wp-config.php file.

You also may have to add lines for other plugins that add their own tables in the WordPress database. The idea is that you change all the table prefixes to the one that you want.

The Options Table

We then need to search the options table for any other fields that are using wp_ as a prefix so we can replace them.

To speed up the process, you can use this query:

SELECT * FROM `wp_a123456_options` WHERE `option_name` LIKE '%wp_%'

This will return a lot of results, and you need to go through them one by one to change these lines and their prefixes.

UserMeta Table

Next, we need to search usermeta for all fields that are using wp_ as a prefix, so we can replace it.

You can use this SQL query for that:

SELECT * FROM `wp_a123456_usermeta` WHERE `meta_key` LIKE '%wp_%'

The number of entries may vary depending on how many WordPress plugins you are using on your website. Just change everything that has wp_ to the new prefix.

You are now ready to test your site. If you followed the above steps, then everything should be working fine.

We recommend making a new backup of your database just to be on the safe side.

We hope this article helped you learn how to change the WordPress database prefix. You may also like to see our guide on how to optimize your WordPress database and our expert picks of the best WordPress database plugins.

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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

136 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Dave van Hoorn says

    Update the SQL for renaming the prefixes please. WordPress adds the ‘wp_termmeta’ table now. It’s included in the SQL below.

    RENAME table `wp_commentmeta` TO `wp_yoursitename_commentmeta`;
    RENAME table `wp_comments` TO `wp_yoursitename_comments`;
    RENAME table `wp_links` TO `wp_yoursitename_links`;
    RENAME table `wp_options` TO `wp_yoursitename_options`;
    RENAME table `wp_postmeta` TO `wp_yoursitename_postmeta`;
    RENAME table `wp_posts` TO `wp_yoursitename_posts`;
    RENAME table `wp_termmeta` TO `wp_yoursitename_termmeta`;
    RENAME table `wp_terms` TO `wp_yoursitename_terms`;
    RENAME table `wp_term_relationships` TO `wp_yoursitename_term_relationships`;
    RENAME table `wp_term_taxonomy` TO `wp_yoursitename_term_taxonomy`;
    RENAME table `wp_usermeta` TO `wp_yoursitename_usermeta`;
    RENAME table `wp_users` TO `wp_yoursitename_users`;

  3. Prabhudatta Sahoo says

    When I am renaming my tables in the database all the images in the gallery are going away, I do not understand the reason. Could anyone please help me fixing this issue?

    • Terry Thorson says

      This issue will occur if you do not update the serialized data strings (used for your gallery images) correctly in the database. A good way to do this is to use the plugin WP Migrate DB. There is an excellent tutorial for this on Lynda.com (although be sure to use the same prefix for your target database as your source database).
      I learned this the hard way. Trying to start afresh, I discovered my backup was faulty as well. Luckily my webhost had an older backup I could use to restart my migration. WP Migrate DB did the trick.

  4. Cameron Jones says

    I can’t find any fields in the _usermeta or _options tables that would require updating. Unless they are specifically referencing a table, they shouldn’t need to be updated. It’s a table prefix, not a variable prefix.

    • Cameron Jones says

      Actually, I stand corrected. There are a couple that will be part of a default WordPress install:

      In prefix_options
      prefix_user_roles

      In prefix_usermeta
      prefix_capabilities
      prefix_user_level
      prefix_dashboard_quick_press_last_post_id
      prefix_user-settings
      prefix_user-settings-time

      You should be careful regarding updating any other fields. Plugins may either use the defined prefix or `wp_` as a prefix. Always make a backup and test on a dev or staging environment.

  5. kapil says

    hi,
    i have a query. assume that i have changed all my prefix from wp_something to some other name. these changes will be done to the existing fields in the database only. but wont the codes in my wordpress .php files remain the same??? so next time for any new user registration or some other registration, the entities will again be saved as wp_something as the main code in the .php files remains unchanged… ???

    thanks….

  6. tech says

    UPDATE `wp_a123456_options` SET `option_name`=REPLACE(`option_name`,’wp_’,’wp_a123456_’) WHERE `option_name` LIKE ‘%wp_%’;

    UPDATE `wp_a123456_usermeta` SET `meta_key`=REPLACE(`meta_key`,’wp_’,’wp_a123456_’) WHERE `meta_key` LIKE ‘%wp_%’;

    I do changes but after doing this i again run following query it shows prefix not changed
    SELECT * FROM `wp_a123456_options` WHERE `option_name` LIKE ‘%wp_%’

  7. Nathan WHite says

    This post and the responses to the comments leaves out a very important component. Does the table need to begin with wp_ ?

    Coming upon another discussion in wordpress.org indicated that it indeed did not need to. It would have helped me if this question was answered by the moderator.

    Also, dismissed_wp_pointers questions were not clearly answered. I changed mine.

  8. Clare Wood says

    Hi guys,

    I followed these steps, now when I try to see the back-end or front-end of my site I get this:

    ERROR: $table_prefix in wp-config.php can only contain numbers, letters, and underscores.

    I’m positive I only have lowercase letters and an underscore as my table prefix.

    Any ideas? The site is on localhost.

    Cheers.

  9. Thomas says

    Thanx a bunch! I tried to restore my old database, but to no avail. Then I figured out that my new database prefix was different from old. Made all that you recommended and vuala!

  10. Nikhil says

    I am getting this error…….”You do not have sufficient permissions to access this page” after implementing above procedure…..how to solve it?????

  11. Tom says

    Thanks for a great tips .
    I have a question.
    Do I need to change “wp_ ….” used in post_meta table as well?

  12. savagemike says

    For the wp_options and wp_usermeta tables, why not dump the database and use sed to replace “wp_” with the new prefix? Example:

    sed -i ‘s/wp_/wp_1234/g’ > filename.sql

    Then, simply import the modified dump. Easier and faster than changing cells one-by-one.

  13. gcreator says

    Attacker can simple use ‘%wp_%’
    I mean that is not fully secure at all…
    because he knows the table names that wordpress generates he can simply use ‘_%users’ for wp_anything_users OR ‘_%posts’ for ‘wp_anything_posts’ ..etc…

    • Jim says

      gcreator…

      For 99% of the attacks against WP databases, the skiddies are using pre-built tools and default settings. This gets you out of their crosshairs.

      if you are under focused attack then yeah, simple obfuscation will only slow them down, not completely protect you.

  14. gabe says

    I got syntax error when following this (my version of SQL is 5.5.x).

    I had success after referring to the SQL manual. Needed to leave the quotes out of the query:

    [WRONG] RENAME table ‘wp_links’ TO ‘wp_xx_links’;
    [RIGHT] RENAME TABLE wp_links TO wp_xx_links;

    • Sepster says

      You were using “standard” quotes ‘. The correct syntax to identify object names in mySql is to use “backquotes” ` (ie the key in the top left of a standard-US keyboard, left of the number 1)

    • Marcello Nuccio says

      The problem is that you are using the wrong quotes. You must use the backtick character around table names, not the apostrophe. In SQL, the apostrophe is used to delimit strings.

  15. Karen says

    I have changed the prefixes of a new install and then built a whole new site! I suddenly realised that I might not be able to update wordpress as normal from the admin panel..

    Does changing the prefixes affect being able to update wordpress as normal???

  16. Pablo says

    Nice.

    You can use this as well:
    UPDATE `wp_a123456_options` SET `option_name`=REPLACE(`option_name`,’wp_’,’wp_a123456_’) WHERE `option_name` LIKE ‘%wp_%’;

    UPDATE `wp_a123456_usermeta` SET `meta_key`=REPLACE(`meta_key`,’wp_’,’wp_a123456_’) WHERE `meta_key` LIKE ‘%wp_%’;

  17. Haary says

    Please answer ” How to create a plugin for take a backup of speific table in wordpress database?” in the stackoverflow

  18. Andrew Rickards says

    Thanks for the useful info. I just tried changing my DB prefix and everything seems to have worked perfectly.

  19. John says

    Thank you for doing the work to inform us on this topic. I have zero experience with WordPress, mySQL and PHP, so your help is greatly appreciated. A couple of questions:

    You have a graphic right below the words “There are a total of 11…”, with SQL circled. Am I supposed to check all the checkboxes?

    In the section titled “The Options Table”, which I’m getting to next, you say “This will return a lot of results, and you need to go one by one to change these lines.” How is this done (or will it be perfectly obvious)?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      John, you need to click on the SQL which will open a Text Area, copy and paste the query given below the circled screenshot into SQL textarea and click Go button.

      When updating options table you will run another SQL query to search for fields which have wp_ in them and replace those fields with your new database prefix. The query will return a number of rows you need to click on the Edit button next to each row to edit it and manually replace wp_ with your new database prefix.

      Admin

  20. Iftekhar says

    Dear writer, I have tested this in my local server. I am having problem to get access in my admin panel after changing table prefix. I have found “dismissed_wp_pointers” this in my database. Do I need to change it also?

    Thanks in advance

  21. Kobbe says

    Is this tutorial for an already installed blog…? Please kindly brief me on how to do this on a FRESH installations.

    • AMSGATOR says

      If you have already installed WordPress (regardless of how much you published) and you want to change the prefix then follow this tutorial.

  22. blurped says

    Great guide, works like a charm. One question- why did you leave ‘wp_’ in the new prefix? Seems like a whole lot of effort to change your table prefixes but still leave that fragment in there. Just remove it completely or replace it with something else more random (like ‘eh_’ or whatever)

  23. yerom says

    Well, everything is just fine… But when i’m go back to my site, it makes me the 5 minutes install again…
    I think i missed something.

    Anyone had the same issue ?
    Tks !

  24. ideal ismail says

    hi Admin,

    Regarding the naming convention for the table prefix, “Note: You can only change it to numbers, letters, and underscores. Feel free to mix uppercase and lowercase.”

    this is not true. You CAN’T use uppercase as it will wreak havoc with your database entries. i personally encountered this and the solution is to restrict to using numbers, underscores and lowercase letters.

    many other people have encountered this. a quick google search gave me the following:
    http://wordpress.org/support/topic/case-sensitive-wp_table_prefix?replies=1
    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/9827164/wordpress-keeps-redirecting-to-install-php-after-migration
    http://esdev.net/wordpress-error-you-do-not-have-sufficient-permissions-to-access-this-page/#.Ui_pHtJkMwB

    hope that helps.

  25. Steve says

    Couldn’t you just back everything up,
    export the DB to a DBbackup.sql file
    open it with a text editor.
    do a global search and replace and replace wp_ with mynewprefix_
    Save the file,
    drop all the tables in the DB
    and import the new DBbackup.sql?

      • Steve says

        Update – The global search and replace works. However, it might work too good. One of the side effects is that it returns all of your widgets to the default (fresh install) state.

        Luckily – it returns them to the “inactive section” so you don’t have to completely re-do them. My lesson learned was to take a screen shot of the dashboard (before) so it’s easier to remember where you had them all.

  26. Ahsan says

    Hey after changing table prefix and table name from mysql when i refresh the website it says website has a redirect loop, what should i do?

  27. Katie says

    Tried to do this on a multisite database install… totally failed. I seemed to put all the queries in correctly, but I got errors and at the end of all the steps my site was just redirecting itself indefinitely…

  28. Mark Pescatrice says

    Well after about 30 minutes of sweating bullets, I was able to do this. I made one tiny typo on wp-config.php. but otherwise it went smoothly. I did use Duplicator to create a backup before starting all of this.

    I recommend users to do the following additional steps:

    Before starting, put a dummy index.html in the root folder of your WP install, and renaming index.php to index.php.tmp (or something similar). After making a tiny typo in the wp-config.php file, I found myself at the WP install page.

    After you are done, rename index.php.tmp to index.php and remove or rename the index.html page.

    Thanks for the great article. I’m curious to see how the changes will affect the spam count.

    Mark Pescatrice

  29. Al Lemieux says

    In terms of process, do I make these security changes locally first? Or do I make them on WordPress?

  30. Corey says

    What about things like this? Do we need to change the wp in this, or only when it starts with wp?

    dismissed_wp_pointers

  31. Eric says

    Awesome information security for wp anti thief..But is there any free plugin or software to automate these processes?

  32. Orion says

    just tried this out, everything changed according to your instructions, hopefully this keeps the russians out….for a while at least.. Thank you for posting.

  33. Debra says

    I must be a total idiot because I sure can sort this out. Can’t even find the wp database. Geez this is frustrating

  34. Scott Semple says

    Successfully changed the database prefixes, but now I can’t sign in?

    My ##_capabilities in ##_usermeta is for an admin: a:1:{s:13:”administrator”;s:1:”1″;}

    Thoughts on why I still can’t sign in? Thanks!

  35. mckenzie says

    thanks so much! i searched all over the internet and you are the only blog entry to get this right on the spot!!

  36. wpbeginner says

    @WesHopper You just manually change it. Because the number vary based on the plugins you have.

  37. Keith Davis says

    Hi Admin
    Good clear instructions but I’ve never had the confidence to attempt a database prefix change – just in case!

    You boys provide some great stuff – much appreciated.

  38. Leonco says

    Very interesting security steps…

    But surely there has to be a security plugin that addresses
    the issue of preventing hacking.

    • João says

      There are several plugins that do this, but the truth is that it’s always good to know how to do this yourself.

      For example I had an (apparently) buggy plugin change my WordPress database prefix just now, and i was locked out of my own WP installation.

      This simple guide showed me how to undo the damage.

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