MySql is one of the most popular choices in databases, used by many online websites to store user details. When a database is being used online however, one of the most important factors is that it shouldn’t take up too much space on the web server. Unnecessarily allowing your MySql database to take up more room than it needs means that there is less storage space for web files that make up the websites. When web storage costs money to purchase, it is pointless to allow space to be taken up by blank areas of database, especially when there is something that you can do about this.

In order to shrink the size of a MySql database, it is important to optimize the database. This can potentially reduce the size of the database to just a fraction of its current size. It is a fast operation to complete, which should form part of your regular website maintenance.

Will I lose any data?

You won’t lose any data when you optimize a database. Optimization performs a check on your current database for any empty space and reorganizes the way that the data is stored. Existing data is moved to the empty space so that the database is only being used by actual information. Technically, the empty space is deleted so that the rows in the database that were being taken up by blank cells are no longer there.

How can I tell if my database needs to be optimized?

Running optimization is not always necessary. You should check the size of the overhead in your database to see if it needs to be reduced. The overhead indicates just how much space is being taken up by empty cells.

You can find out the size of the overhead by opening your MySql database from the hosting panel in your web server control panel. Beside each of the tables in your database is an ‘overhead’ column which tells you the size of the free space.

How do I perform the optimization?

The first thing that you need to do is backup your database. This is good practice for any procedure, but because the optimization process moves and deletes parts of your database, there is a risk that something could go wrong.

To run the optimization, open your MySql application with the database open that you wish to optimize. Choose the tables that you wish to run the operation on by checking the boxes beside the tables that you wish to optimize and then click on the “with selected” drop down menu. Choose the “Optimize Table” option and allow it to run.

These are the only steps that you need to take, so if you see that your MySql database size is growing, you should back up and optimize your tables so that you can make the most of the space that you have. By performing a MySql database optimization frequently, the process will be quick and efficient. The more free space there is to clean up, the longer the process will take.

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