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How can I optimize my WordPress “options” table?

This is a more advanced issue for “power” users of WordPress. However, a few customers have discussed this issue with our team so we want to be sure its documented. In WordPress when you install themes or plugins, they load a setup of options on your wp_options table in MySQL. This is how they save things like your theme settings, or plugin preferences, and so forth. The problem is that over time (or with poorly coded plugins) your options table can grow quite large and messy; this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, however, since many options are set to “autoload” in WordPress that means your options list is loading on every single page view of your site. Clearly this is bad for performance especially if a plugin has already been deleted and those options are no longer being used. There is a wonderful free plugin called Options Optimizer that lets you quickly and easily check all your options and either delete or set to not autoload on every single one, if you so choose. This is a little bit “hacky” though and a better long-term approach would probably be installing a fresh copy of WordPress and re-installing your themes and plugins from scratch, then import your blog data again. Also, take care not to install very old, outdated or buggy plugins as then you will simply load a bunch of junk back into your options table again.

Last modified:  13 Sep, 2015
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