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How to Easily Find and Replace Text in Your WordPress Database

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Over the years, we’ve been asked by many of our readers how to do a mass search and replace in WordPress.

At WPBeginner, we understand the challenges of managing a large WordPress website with tons of content. Whether you’re migrating from an old domain, rebranding, or simply fixing a typo, manually searching and replacing content in every post, page, and comment is nearly impossible.

Luckily, you can easily search and replace text, URLs, and images on your WordPress site by using a find-and-replace WordPress plugin or a simple SQL query.

In this article, we’ll show you how to find and replace text in your WordPress database.

Find and replace text in WordPress database with just one click

When Do You Need to Find & Replace in the WordPress Database?

There are a few scenarios when you might need to find and replace items within the database of your WordPress website.

For example, let’s suppose that you have added specific text or URLs to a number of your posts. You don’t know which posts you have added that text to, but you do know that there are a lot of them.

Now, you can manually search your site and edit every single post one by one. But that’s going to take a lot of time and has a high chance of you missing some of the text you want to change.

Using a single command to automatically find and replace the items will do the same thing but much quicker and more efficiently.

There is one downside to this method, though. If you make a mistake, then you will not be able to undo it. Once you replace the text, it is gone. You will need to carefully type the text you are looking for and the text you want to replace it with.

Having said that, let’s see how you can easily find and replace text in your WordPress database.

Before Running Search and Replace on Your Database

As we mentioned earlier, the changes you make to your database will not be reversible. You need to be very careful to make sure that you don’t lose data.

First, you need to create a WordPress database backup. You can do that by using a WordPress backup plugin like Duplicator.

Alternatively, you can also create a database backup using phpMyAdmin.

After creating the backup of your WordPress database, you can move on to run your find and replace commands.

Running Find and Replace With a WordPress Plugin

If you’re not familiar with code and don’t want to write a custom SQL query, then there’s an easy-to-use find and replace WordPress plugin called Search & Replace Everything.

First, you need to install and activate the free Search & Replace Everything plugin. For more details, you can see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Note: There’s also a premium version of Search & Replace Everything that comes with more advanced features.

Once the plugin is activated, you need to visit the Tools » WP Search & Replace page in your WordPress admin dashboard.

From here, enter the text you want to change into the ‘Search for’ field. You must then write the text you want to replace it with into the ‘Replace with’ field.

Enter the text that you want to search for and replace

You also have the option to select specific tables within your WordPress database or select all of them.

Next, press the ‘Preview Search & Replace’ button.

Select tables in Search & Replace Everything plugin

The plugin will now allow you to check the changes it will make before it applies them.

Then, simply click on the ‘Replace All’ button.

Click Replace All in Search & Replace Everything

If you need more help, we have a detailed guide on how to search and replace in WordPress.

Running Find & Replace MySQL Query with phpMyAdmin

You can also use phpMyAdmin to find and replace text from your WordPress database.

First, you need to log in to the dashboard of your WordPress hosting account. For this tutorial, we will be using Bluehost.

Once you are there, click on the ‘Websites’ option from the left column and then switch to the ‘Advanced’ tab.

After that, scroll down to the ‘PHPMyAdmin’ section and click the ‘Manage’ button next to it.

Click the Manage button next to the PHPMyAdmin section

This will launch phpMyAdmin in a new window.

Here, you must click on your WordPress database name and then click on ‘SQL’.

SQL query in phpMyAdmin

You will then need to enter your SQL query in this format:

update TABLE_NAME set FIELD_NAME =
replace(FIELD_NAME, 'Text to find', 'text to replace with');

For example, if you wanted to search for text in a WordPress post’s content, then you would write your query like this:

update wp_posts set post_content =
replace(post_content,'Text to find','text to replace with');

Then, click on the ‘Go’ button to continue.

phpMyAdmin will run your SQL query, and upon success, it will show the number of rows affected by the query.

You can now visit your WordPress site to see the changes in action.

We hope this article helped you learn how to find and replace text with one click in your WordPress database. You may also want to see our beginner’s guide on WordPress database management with phpMyAdmin and our expert picks of the best WordPress database plugins.

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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

22 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
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  2. kzain says

    This is a lifesaver for making bulk edits to my WordPress site! While there’s no magic ‘one-click’ solution, the plugin recommendations and the phpMyAdmin approach for advanced users are both valuable. I especially appreciate the reminder to back up the website first, that’s a safety net I won’t skip.

  3. Lisa Dodson says

    The plugin recommendation would have been better if it didn’t require you to upgrade to see the actual record results instead of just the number. With a lot of posts, I would never blindly never do a mass replace without seeing the detailed results first.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Using the dry run feature should tell you the number of results that are found and would be changed :)

      Admin

  4. Chris says

    Can do search and replace HTML code? I have snippets of (table td tr) code I would like to replace.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      It would depend on where that code was added from, you should normally be able to edit the page that it is on for modifying the code.

      Admin

  5. Shahala says

    Hey there! could you please tell me how can I do this find and replace in sql for a word only in specific language?
    I tried using language queries but din’t work out!
    I really appreciate any help towards this. Thank you

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Unless I hear otherwise, we don’t have a language specific search at the moment sadly.

      Admin

    • WPBeginner Support says

      For the post and page titles, you would search the wp_posts table but, for changing categories and their urls you would want to do that manually and create 301 redirects.

      Admin

  6. RCdiy says

    I want to replace all instances of “OpenTx” with “OpenTX” but skipping URLs. So basically only what the viewer sees… How do I do this? I’ve installed both Search Replace and Better Search Replace but they also replace in the URLs…

  7. Piter says

    I tried plugins “Search $ replace” and “Better Search Replace” but there was no effect. Links in my posts was there. But…

    Thanks a lot for code metod, it works fine. It takes only few seconds.

  8. KMurphy says

    Is this something that would work in migrating a site – to change the DB urls to a new location?

  9. Oscar Estepa says

    I’m not 100% sure but I’d say the SQL query can’t handle serialised data. If you search & replace your database using the suggested SQL query you’ll break the serialised data and get yourself into lots of troubles down the road like widgets not working, images dissappearing, broken javascript, etc.

    It’s well explained in this link http://davidcoveney.com/782/mysql-database-search-replace-with-serialized-php/

    So better look for a plugin, script or tool which handles serialised data, like the suggested plugin Better Search Replace or the interconnectit script.

    Personally I use search and replace tool integrated in WP-CLI, in my experience it’s the best and fastest tool out there, never had a problem so far, tested in dozens of websites. For less savvy people, I’d recommend a plugin since WP-CLI is a terminal command tool and might not suite everyone.

  10. Damien Carbery says

    I like internetconnect/it’s Database Search and Replace Script.

    Unlike the phpMyAdmin example in the article, it will search all fields. It will also do a dummy run.

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