What is a Database? How WordPress uses Database?

When you buy, sign up, or register through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn More ›

### Understanding Databases in Computing

In the realm of computing, a database signifies a collection of data that’s systematically arranged for easy access and management. Picture a database as a digital filing system where information is segmented into various sections, known as tables, for efficient retrieval. Whenever specific information is required, one can navigate to the appropriate table and extract the needed data.

### The Role of MySQL in WordPress

WordPress, the widely-used content management system, leverages MySQL for its database management needs. MySQL is a tool that facilitates the creation, storage, and retrieval of data upon request. It’s an open-source solution that seamlessly integrates with other open-source platforms, including the Apache web server, PHP programming language, and the Linux operating system.

### Setting Up WordPress with MySQL

For WordPress installation, a MySQL database is essential. MySQL comes standard with most WordPress hosting services. During the setup process, as outlined in the Complete WordPress Installation Tutorial, you’ll provide your database details to WordPress, which then handles the rest of the setup.

### Deciphering the Database Host

The term ‘database host’ refers to the server that houses your database. In many instances, the term ‘localhost’ is used to denote this server, and inputting ‘localhost’ as the host connects WordPress to the database. Some hosting services might use alternative names for managing MySQL servers. If you’re unsure of your host name, it can typically be found in the MySQL or Database section of your hosting control panel, or you can consult your hosting provider for assistance.

### The Structure of Database Tables

Tables within a database function like compartments or drawers, organizing the data within the system. They consist of columns, and data is stored in rows, with each row containing a field for every column. For instance, an office database might have a ’employee_records’ table with columns like ’employee_id’, ’employee_name’, ’employee_joining_date’, and ’employee_phone_no’.

WordPress automatically generates tables in your database. As of the latest update, a standard WordPress installation creates tables such as ‘wp_commentmeta’, ‘wp_comments’, ‘wp_links’, and several others, each with its own set of columns to store specific data.

### SQL Queries Explained

SQL, which stands for Structured Query Language, is a specialized language designed for database management. A SQL query is a command sent to the database server to fetch data. WordPress utilizes MySQL queries to retrieve data for generating web pages.

An example of a MySQL query is:

SELECT * FROM wp_posts WHERE ID = 23;