Change Your WordPress Database Prefix to Enhance Your Safety

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WordPress database tables all start with the wp_ prefix by default. Safety gurus usually advocate altering the prefix to safe your website, however is it actually value doing? Or is it simply all sizzle and no steak?

The concept is that altering the database prefix helps keep away from nasty SQL injections since hackers normally use queries with the usual settings of their assault, but when the database particulars are distinctive the hacker would get an error.

Whereas updating the repair is certainly not the very best or solely answer for defending your website, it’s one step you may take to make your WordPress set up that little bit safer.

So on this publish, I’m going to run you thru why and the way altering your WordPress database prefix can add to your website’s safety.

What’s Prefix Received to Do with It?

To know why altering your database’s tables prefix may assist as part of your website’s preventive measures towards assaults, it’s essential to discover either side of the argument.

Realizing the reasoning behind the modification ought to provide you with a greater thought of what it takes to maintain your website safe.

That’s all effectively and good, however why is it a well-liked follow to vary the desk prefix within the first place?

SQL Injections and the Frequent Suggestion

While you’re trying out the professionals and cons, it’s essential to notice that the principle motive why it’s broadly really useful to rename your desk prefix is to stop a hacker from overtaking your website with a profitable SQL injection.

Briefly, when your website is susceptible to an SQL injection, it signifies that a hacker can execute an SQL question from an unsanitized kind in your website with out your permission or information.

If a hacker can efficiently run an unauthorized SQL question in your website, it signifies that there’s an open connection to the goal database.

When this occurs, a hacker can change no matter they need and acquire full entry and management over your website. Which means they can change and do no matter they need along with your website for the reason that database is absolutely uncovered to them.

They wouldn’t essentially have entry to your recordsdata, however they’d have full reign over your database.

They might acquire full entry and management to your website and the primary activity is normally altering the admin login credentials.

This locks you out and lets them proceed going about their manner, making a variety of adjustments from making your website flip into spam central and stealing private info to infecting 1000’s of different websites the place they’ll spam it up and steal all of the extra.

It’s definitely one thing you need to defend your website from and you may get extra particulars on SQL injections and their prevention by trying out The Final Information to WordPress Spam.


The primary motive towards renaming something within the database is that if a hacker can execute an SQL injection in your website, there’s already an open connection to your database.

Because of this if their first SQL question fails, it’s straightforward sufficient for the hacker to run a question trying to find the second half of the desk names which can be nearly all the time an identical to the default.

The second question may seek for names together with usermeta and postmeta.

The search would flip up the total desk identify and voilà! Your hacker reads your new prefix. From there, they might proceed doing what they needed.

That is additionally assuming they didn’t have entry to your recordsdata as effectively. In the event that they did, they might simply discover your new prefix there as effectively.

On the finish of the day, in case your website and database aren’t susceptible with an open connection, then it doesn’t matter what your desk prefix occurs to be and if there may be an open connection, a hacker may simply work out what you named your prefix making it ineffective.

Fairly minimize and dry, proper? Properly, not precisely.

There are a few elements and one main one which’s overlooked of the image right here.

Altering your database prefix is only one small measure you may put in place to assist stop assaults in your WordPress website.


Whereas it might seem to be a pointless endeavor after contemplating the cons, it’s not like there’s no precedent for pondering renaming the prefix works.

For one, it’s a suggestion within the WordPress Codex for Safety Hardening. Additionally, code injection vulnerabilities have been detected in WordPress beginning as early because the first model 0.7 and once more in future variations.

Vulnerabilities have been persistently squashed since WordPress’s inception, however they began out being obtainable on quite a few websites for hackers to use.

That’s why including slightly precaution is usually a useful asset to your many safety measures.

There’s additionally a motive why renaming your desk prefix has been lumped into the “safety necessities” label for over ten years.

Hackers not often discover out a few website’s vulnerability by visiting them via a identified browser like the remainder of us do every single day.

As an alternative, they generally use a program they create that’s generally known as a bot. They begin up the bot and it systematically goes to a whole bunch if not 1000’s of websites in a matter of minutes to robotically seek for vulnerabilities.

As soon as a vulnerability is discovered such because the one that permits for an SQL injection, the bot then submits queries to hack all of the susceptible websites on the identical time. Out of the websites which can be efficiently hacked, the bot continues from there.

However then again, if some website admins have modified their desk prefix, then the bot wouldn’t be capable to efficiently execute their first question because it solely accounted for the default settings and would transfer onto websites the place the question labored.

In case your website had been one of many ones the place the prefix was modified, then your website would primarily be “protected” in the meanwhile.

Remember that on this scenario, your website would nonetheless have a significant vulnerability so if it’s not patched up instantly, it’s probably solely a matter of time till a hacker will get their squirmy fingers in there – so to talk.

For this reason altering your database desk prefix isn’t your be-it-end-all safety answer. Removed from it, really.

Whereas it will probably assist the combat towards hackers, it’s essential to have a safety plugin put in like our free Defender to actually safe your website.

Whereas altering your database desk prefix isn’t the be-all-end-all of safety measures, it’s nonetheless well worth the effort of making use of it to your website, amongst your different safety necessities. Learn on to learn the way to make the change to your website.

Like I’m Gonna Lose You

Because you’re going to be altering your database in a elementary manner that would fully break your website, it’s essential to make a backup of your total website as in case you had been going to lose every little thing.

That manner, in case you do, you may simply restore your website so that you don’t find yourself shedding every little thing for good.

For particulars on tips on how to create a full backup of your website, try a few of these articles:

Tips on how to Backup Your WordPress Web site (and Multisite) Utilizing Snapshot
Making a Handbook Backup of WordPress When It’s Down or Locked
Backup Plugins Aren’t About Backing up, They’re About Restoring
4 Prime WordPress Multisite Backup Options Examined and Reviewed
7 Prime Premium and Freemium WordPress Backup Plugins Reviewed
11 Greatest Free High quality Backup Plugins for Defending Your WordPress Website

After you have created a backup of your website, you can begin altering your desk prefix.

The Recordsdata, They Are A-Altering

To rename your desk prefix, first, begin along with your wp-config.php file. You’ll be able to both obtain a duplicate to edit it, then re-upload it to your website by way of FTP or the command line and SSH otherwise you edit it instantly in cPanel.

After logging into cPanel, go to Recordsdata > File Supervisor and find your website’s recordsdata. Click on on the wp-config.php file from the record, then click on Edit on the high of the web page.

Within the editor, find the next line:

Change wp to no matter you need, however it’s really useful that you just maintain the underscore after it’s intact. Your new prefix can comprise letters, numbers, and even underscores.

For instance, you might select one thing like wp2748, il0ved0gs, sg7bn40dg or ug44_db87, however don’t use these precise examples since they’re public and everybody can see them together with hackers.

When you’re glad along with your adjustments, save the file. In the event you used FTP or SSH, add the file again to your website and exchange the previous model.

You’re not achieved but and chances are you’ll even discover your website is totally damaged now. That’s regular since your database’s information doesn’t match your adjustments.

To repair this and end renaming your prefix fully, go forward and transfer on to updating your database.

Rolling within the Database

To begin making the change to your prefixes in your database, log in to phpMyAdmin so you may run some queries.

For particulars on tips on how to run SQL queries in phpMyAdmin, try that part in one among our different posts 10 Suggestions for Retaining a Squeaky Clear WordPress (and Multisite!) Database.

You’ll be able to enter your queries, line-by-line to vary the principle tables in your database. The construction it’s best to comply with for all of your tables is beneath:

Don’t neglect to exchange tablename with the precise identify of the desk in addition to change newprefix to the brand new prefix you saved to your wp-config.php file.

For single installs of WordPress, you may enter these queries, however don’t neglect to vary newprefix to the actual prefix you created:

For Multisite networks, additionally add on these queries remembering to additionally exchange newprefix with the brand new prefix you selected:

Past these queries, you additionally want so as to add any customized tables that plugins in your website have created in addition to all of the tables which can be created for every subsite in your community.

Right here’s a listing of the location tables you also needs to embrace in your queries record:


You should definitely exchange # with the location ID of your subsites. For instance, you would come with wp_2_commentmeta in your question in your subsite with the location ID of two.

For extra info on database tables, try one among our different posts MySQL and WordPress: Understanding How Databases Work.

Some Desk That I Used to Know

When this half is finished, you continue to must replace some entries within the choices and usermeta tables talked about above.

Replace Choices Desk Entries

There are going to be fairly a number of entries you should replace within the choices desk and you’ll seek for them with a question to make the method simpler.

Use the next question to run a search on the choices desk and don’t neglect to replace newprefix with the precise prefix you selected:

The search ought to retrieve a listing of all of the tables that must be up to date. You’ll be able to click on the edit buttons for each to make the change.

Replace Usermeta Desk Entries

Just like the choices desk, the person meta desk additionally wants lots of its entries up to date. As an alternative of searching for them one-by-one, you may seek for them as effectively.

Right here’s the question you should utilize to seek for entries that embrace the default prefix:

You should definitely rename newprefix to the actual prefix you wrote into your wp-config.php file.

Lastly, edit all of the entries that seem within the search outcomes to replicate your new prefix.

Gained’t Get Fooled Once more

You’re fairly effectively achieved updating your database desk prefix to one thing fully customized, however the remaining step is to create yet another full backup.

As soon as that’s achieved, you may go to your website and take pleasure in its glory. Whereas nothing has modified on the entrance finish, you made a step towards a safer website.

Though it’s not the one safety measure it’s best to take, it’s an added measure that may assist defend you towards hack bots that systematically attempt to infiltrate websites and their databases en masse.

In the event you go to a website and also you get a “permissions” or “database connection not established” error, you forgot to rename one of many tables or entry prefixes.

It’s essential to return into phpMyAdmin and seek for the tables or entries you forgot to vary.

You may also try Tips on how to Repair “Error Establishing Database Connection” for WordPress to get extra particulars.

Some plugins depend on the default database prefix so in case you’re positive you haven’t missed updating and tables or entries, you may disable all of your plugins and re-enable them one-by-one till your website breaks.

The final plugin you activated is the offender and it’s best to contemplate deleting it and discovering an alternate.

And Knowledge Do It

Now that you understand how to vary your WordPress database prefix and your safety needs to be beefed up and bots and hackers shall be heading elsewhere.

Remember that at any level, in case you get caught attempting something on this publish or something, ever for that matter, you may ask our knowledgeable help staff for twenty-four/7 assist. In the event you’re already a WPMU DEV member, you’re all set to ask your query. In the event you’re not a member but, you may take one among our premium memberships for a free trial and ask away.

Additionally, to actually increase up your WordPress safety, you should definitely try our free Defender plugin. Defender blocks hackers at each stage with two-factor authentication, login masking, login lockout, 404 detections, and extra!

You’ll be able to learn all about his malware scanning, login safety, firewall, and getting probably the most out of him right here.

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