How to Perform a WordPress Search and Replace in the Database

1. Log into your WordPress hosting account and open phpMyAdmin.

2. Select the database associated with your WordPress installation.

3. Click the “SQL” tab.

4. Enter the following command into the text box: UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE(post_content, ‘old_word’, ‘new_word’);

5. Click “Go” to execute the command.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for any other tables you wish to search and replace.

7. Log out of phpMyAdmin.

Updating your database records can be time-consuming if you do it manually. Luckily, there’s a way to update your WordPress database records in bulk. In this WordPress tutorial, we’ll cover the tutorial on how to perform a search and replace in WordPress database with a plugin and a MySQL query.

Reasons to Use Search and Replace On a WordPress Database

As your website depends heavily on its WordPress database, it’s essential to optimize your collection of data periodically.

Here are several reasons why you need to modify your WordPress database:

  • Renaming keywords – WordPress SEO is ever-changing, and keywords that worked for your site a few months ago might not anymore. Performing search and replace can easily solve this problem for you.
  • Misspelling and typos – this applies to data that contains typos and grammatical errors. They happen, and searching endlessly is never fun.
  • Deleting characters – in some cases, WordPress updates can mess up your database by randomly adding weird characters or symbols to your data.

Regardless of the reason, the process of updating your database usually involves a large number of data tables. Imagine how tedious it would be to go through each table and modify the outdated data manually.

This is where the WordPress search and replace action comes in handy. It helps you find flawed data across database tables and modify them in no time.

Important! Keep in mind that any changes made cannot be undone! You should consider backing up your WordPress site before making any changes in your database to prevent possible data loss.

How to Perform Search and Replace On a WordPress Database?

There are two ways to perform a search and replace on a WordPress database — using a plugin or a MySQL query. Just below, we’ll be covering both of the options.

Using a Plugin

This method is ideal for users with no programming experience. With a plugin, you get to run a search and replace operation as many times as needed without dealing with a single line of code.

In this tutorial, we’re going to use Better Search Replace, one of the best WordPress plugins for this purpose.

Better Search Replace has plenty of useful features for managing your WordPress database. Its features besides search and replace include but are not limited to a backup creator, and database import features.

If you only need the search and replace function, the free version will do just fine. Should you need the rest of the features, you can upgrade to the Pro version at a starting price of $59 per year.

  1. From your WordPress admin dashboard, navigate to the Plugins -> Add New section.
  2. Search for the Better Search Replace plugin, then select Install Now.
Plugins add new section
  1. Click on the Activate button to activate the plugin.
  2. From your WordPress admin dashboard, navigate to the Tools -> Better Search Replace section.

In the Search/Replace section, you will need to enter all of the following:

Better Search and Replace plugin, fill in information on what to search
  • Search forshould have the word or phrase that you want to change.
  • Replace with should hold the word or phrase that will replace the original.
  • Select tables function lets you choose which tables of your database you want to modify.
  • Replace GUIDs? lets you replace the modified data’s global unique identifier (GUID) number. If your site is already live, we advise against checking this box.
  • Tick the Run as dry run? box if you want to review the changes first before executing them.

Pro Tip

If you want to select all the tables in the column, you can press CTRL+A. You can also select individual tables by holding CTRL and clicking one table at a time. If you want to perform a case-insensitive data search, make sure to tick the Case-Insensitive? box.

Once you’re done, click Run Search/Replace.

The confirmation message from the Better Search Replace plugin you will get once you have successfully run a search and replace in WordPress database.

If you run the plugin without the dry run option, it will immediately make changes to your database.

Using MySQL Query

It’s also possible to perform a search and replace in WordPress database using MySQL query via phpMyAdmin.

First, we’ll discuss how to identify your WordPress database name, which is worth reading if you have more than one database under your account. Then, we will uncover how to perform a search and replace in the database.

  1. From your hPanel dashboard, navigate to the Files -> File Manager section.
hpanel homepage
  1. The wp-config.php file should be in the root directory of your website. In this case, you can find it in /public_html directory. Then, double-click the file to open it.
wp-config.php file in the /public_html directory
// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //

/** The name of the database for WordPress */
  1. From your hPanel dashboard, navigate to the Databases -> phpMyAdmin section.]
hPanel dashboard, navigating to the Databases phpMyAdmin section
  1. Locate your WordPress database, then select Enter phpMyAdmin.
Locating your WordPress database, then select Enter phpMyAdmin
  1. In the phpMyAdmin page, navigate to the SQL tab at the top menu bar.
Navigating to the phpMyAdmin page, SQL tab at the top menu bar
  1. Add the following code snippet to the available space
update TABLE_NAME set FIELD_NAME = replace(FIELD_NAME, 'Text to search, 'Text to replace it with');

Be sure to replace the placeholder texts with the correct information:

  • TABLE_NAME represents the name of the table you want to modify.
  • FIELD_NAME represents the name of the field/column where the targeted data resides.
  • ‘Text to search’ contains the word or phrase that you wish to change.
  • ‘Text to replace it with’ contains the word or phrase that will replace the previous text.

Once you are done writing the query, click on the Go button to execute it.


To keep your WordPress website functional and up to date, you need to maintain its database periodically. The maintenance includes replacing outdated data. It’s much easier to tackle the job in bulk with the help of WordPress search and update operation.

There are two methods to perform a search and update in the WordPress database:

  1. Using the Better Search Replace plugin – suitable for users with no programming experience.
  2. Using MySQL query – ideal for users with moderate to advanced technical knowledge.

Which method would you prefer? Let us know in the comment section down below!

WordPress Search and Replace FAQ

Here are the most common questions about WordPress search and replace.

How Do I Search and Replace Content in WordPress?

To search and replace content in WordPress, you can use the Search & Replace plugin, which allows you to find and replace specific text or code in your WordPress site’s database. Alternatively, you can use a text editor or the built-in search and replace function in the WordPress code editor.

How Often Should I Search and Replace Outdated Data in WordPress?

We recommend searching and replacing outdated data in WordPress as often as necessary, such as when updating your site’s design, changing your domain name, or migrating your site to a new server. In addition, you can also periodically review your site’s database to remove unnecessary data.


How to Perform a WordPress Search and Replace in the Database

WordPress is a powerful content management system (CMS) that allows you to easily create and manage websites. It is also highly customizable, allowing you to make changes to the database to customize your website. One of the most common changes you may need to make is a search and replace in the WordPress database. This can be done using a few simple steps.

Step 1: Back Up Your Database

Before making any changes to your WordPress database, it is important to back up your database. This will ensure that you have a copy of your data in case something goes wrong. You can back up your database using a plugin such as WP-DB-Backup or manually using phpMyAdmin.

Step 2: Access the Database

Once you have backed up your database, you can access it using phpMyAdmin. This can be done by logging into your hosting account and navigating to the phpMyAdmin section. Once you are in phpMyAdmin, you will need to select the database you want to make changes to.

Step 3: Perform the Search and Replace

Once you have selected the database, you can perform the search and replace. To do this, you will need to enter the text you want to search for in the “Find” field and the text you want to replace it with in the “Replace” field. You can also select the tables you want to search and replace in. Once you have entered the information, click “Go” to perform the search and replace.

Step 4: Test the Changes

Once you have performed the search and replace, it is important to test the changes to make sure they have been applied correctly. To do this, you can view your website and check that the changes have been applied. If you are not sure, you can also check the database to make sure the changes have been applied.


Performing a search and replace in the WordPress database is a simple process that can be done in a few steps. It is important to back up your database before making any changes and to test the changes after they have been applied. Following these steps will ensure that your search and replace is successful.

Jaspreet Singh Ghuman

Jaspreet Singh Ghuman

Passionate Professional Blogger, Freelancer, WordPress Enthusiast, Digital Marketer, Web Developer, Server Operator, Networking Expert. Empowering online presence with diverse skills.

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Jassweb always keeps its services up-to-date with the latest trends in the market, providing its customers all over the world with high-end and easily extensible internet, intranet, and extranet products.


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