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 price 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 not at all the most effective or solely resolution for defending your website, it’s one step you may take to make your WordPress set up that little bit safer.

So on this submit, 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 Bought to Do with It?

To grasp why altering your database’s tables prefix might assist as part of your website’s preventive measures in opposition to assaults, it’s vital to discover each side of the argument.

Realizing the reasoning behind the modification ought to offer you 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 apply to alter the desk prefix within the first place?

SQL Injections and the Widespread Advice

Once you’re testing the professionals and cons, it’s vital to notice that the primary motive why it’s extensively really helpful to rename your desk prefix is to forestall a hacker from overtaking your website with a profitable SQL injection.

In brief, when your website is weak to an SQL injection, it implies 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 implies that there’s an open connection to the goal database.

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

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

They may achieve full entry and management to your website and the primary job is normally altering the admin login credentials.

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

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


The primary motive in opposition to 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.

Which means if their first SQL question fails, it’s simple sufficient for the hacker to run a question trying to find the second half of the desk names which are nearly at all times equivalent to the default.

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

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

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

On the finish of the day, in case your website and database aren’t weak 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 might simply determine what you named your prefix making it ineffective.

Fairly reduce and dry, proper? Effectively, not precisely.

There are a few components and one main one which’s disregarded 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 look like 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 take advantage of.

That’s why including a bit of precaution could be a priceless 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 by 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 lot if not hundreds of websites in a matter of minutes to robotically seek for vulnerabilities.

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

However alternatively, if some website admins have modified their desk prefix, then the bot wouldn’t be capable of 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 have been one of many ones the place the prefix was modified, then your website would basically be “secure” in the meanwhile.

Understand that on this state of affairs, your website would nonetheless have a serious 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 resolution. Removed from it, really.

Whereas it may possibly assist the combat in opposition to hackers, it’s essential to have a safety plugin put in like our free Defender to really 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 basic method that would utterly break your website, it’s vital to make a backup of your whole website as for those who have been going to lose every little thing.

That method, for those who do, you may simply restore your website so that you don’t find yourself dropping every little thing for good.

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

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

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

The Information, They Are A-Altering

To rename your desk prefix, first, begin together with your wp-config.php file. You may both obtain a duplicate to edit it, then re-upload it to your website through FTP or the command line and SSH otherwise you edit it instantly in cPanel.

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

Within the editor, find the next line:

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

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

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

You’re not performed but and you might even discover your website is totally damaged now. That’s regular since your database’s knowledge doesn’t match your adjustments.

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

Rolling within the Database

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

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

You may enter your queries, line-by-line to alter the primary tables in your database. The construction you must comply with for all of your tables is under:

Don’t neglect to exchange tablename with the precise title 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 alter newprefix to the true 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 are created for every subsite in your community.

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


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

For extra info on database tables, try one in all 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 just a few entries it is advisable to 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 may click on the edit buttons for every one 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 on the lookout 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 true prefix you wrote into your wp-config.php file.

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

Gained’t Get Fooled Once more

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

As soon as that’s performed, 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 you must take, it’s an added measure that may assist defend you in opposition to hack bots that systematically try to infiltrate websites and their databases en masse.

Should 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 vital to return into phpMyAdmin and seek for the tables or entries you forgot to alter.

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

Some plugins depend on the default database prefix so for those who’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 wrongdoer and you must take into account deleting it and discovering an alternate.

And Knowledge Do It

Now that you know the way to alter your WordPress database prefix and your safety ought to be beefed up and bots and hackers will probably be heading elsewhere.

Understand that at any level, for those who get caught making an attempt something on this submit or something, ever for that matter, you may ask our skilled help workforce for twenty-four/7 assist. Should you’re already a WPMU DEV member, you’re all set to ask your query. Should you’re not a member but, you may take one in all our premium memberships for a free trial and ask away.

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

You may learn all about his malware scanning, login safety, firewall, and getting probably the most out of him right here.

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