WordPress Database Structure and Fixing Errors in Database Connection

As anyone in the WordPress technology industry knows, the database is a well-organized set of data stored for future reference. In computing, database refers to some software which stores and organizes data based on user requirements. In relational databases, data is stored in tables and rows, from which it is easy to retrieve the needed data through querying.

WordPress features MySQL as a database. MySQL database management system is a mighty DB which can be a considerable data volume in a structure manager and retrieve info when requested. MySQL is also open-source software without licensing and so as WordPress, which in combination will work the best with other open-source software like PHP, Apache web server, and on Linux OS.

When you are planning to develop and deploy applications using WordPress, one needs to design a MySQL database too. WordPress hosting services also offer MySQL in their hosting package. At the time of installation, you need to provide WordPress with your DB info, and WordPress will take care of the rest.

WordPress Database structure

WordPress sites and the plug-ins used to store all the data and settings in the database. These data are organized in rows and tables. You may consider data like the entries in excel sheet with a header line and the corresponding fields below.

While handling database, it important to know the specifications of the tables and headers in the database and which tables are responsible for specific content, etc. Understanding database table structure will help the admin to include or exclude tables according to the need and make it easier to move or sync data from a site under construction to a live site during WP staging. The core tables used for WordPress sites are:

– Users
– Options
– User Meta
– Posts
– Post Meta
– Terms
– Term Relationships
– Term Taxonomy
– Comments
– Comment meta
– Links etc.

Apart from these basic tables, other tables are also created in WordPress by different plug-ins; however, these may not be necessary to run the website successfully.

Error establishing a database connection

Sometimes, WordPress sites owners may have encountered this problem as when they try to access their website; they only see a message like "WP Error Establishing Database Connection" and no content on the screen. When it comes to business website management, for each minute of your website downtime, you are losing leads, conversions, and business revenue. This is a very serious situation, but you don't have to panic. Further, in this article, we are trying to help you fix some errors in establishing a database connection in WordPress.

As we discussed above, WordPress uses MySQL as a database language. All your websites on WordPress are reliant on the server-side coding language as PHP. When you enter a URL into the address of the browser, PHP will initiative the retrieval of all needed information related to your web page from the database and then render it on the browser.

As pointed out by RemoteDBA.com experts, the error shown while you are trying to establish the database connectivity may primarily be an issue in the MySQL-PHP connectivity due to some reasons, which needs to investigate further. The typical scenarios which may end up in this scenario are as below:

– The user credentials for login like the user name and password may have changed. This may sometimes happen even if the users don't change it themselves.

– The database may corrupt if any plug-in you integrated lastly was poorly coded.

– Sometimes, the website may be experiencing a traffic surge, which goes beyond the capacity of your server.

– The hosting service provider may be at fault, and there is a database failure at their end due to some technical issues.

Troubleshooting steps

Before attempting any database troubleshooting, first, you need to take a proper backup. In order to back up the database, you have to:

– Login to the hosting account to download all existing files from the FTP or SFTP.

– Use the export function in control panel hosting to export all existing MySQL databases,

– You may use tools like UpdraftPlus etc. too to take data backup.

Determine replication of error

Check if the same errors message is shown while you are trying to access a website URL and also when you try to log into the /wp-admin/ at the back end? If both the instances show the same error by failing to establish database connectivity, you can move to the next step. If you get the below error message while trying to log on to /wp-admin/, then your database may have been corrupted.

“One or more of DB tables are unavailable. A database repair may be needed.”

With this issue in hand, you must find the file ‘wp-config.php’ at the root directory. It will help you to enable the built-in repair feature of WordPress. The steps are

You can first launch Filezilla and access public_html from the install folder. Click on the wp config.php file and then map a file and choose a code editor like Sublime Text Editor to get the file opened.

wp-config editing

Once the file ‘wp-config.php’ is open, you can add the below line to the file.

You can next navigate to the URL

Next, you can replace "yourwebsite.com" with the actual URL of the site.

Instead of this, it is recommendable that one chooses the option of "Repair and Optimize Database," which can be a more comprehensive database repair attempt. Even though this takes a little bit more time than the basic steps as above, it will fix the issue in a better way. You need not to have to log in to access this repair page. For the same reason, it creates poses security issues too. So, once after the repair is done and the optimization is completed, immediately remove the code added to wp-config.php.

This step may resolve the problem in many cases. However, if this doesn’t solve the issue, one may have to immediately contact the WP hosting service to alert them about this issue and initiate the necessary troubleshooting steps. Sometimes, the cause may be related to the database settings. Contact the DBA assistance team and get the troubleshooting done at the earliest to avoid any downtime for your WordPress site.