MySQL is the world's most popular open-source database. SQL is the language you use to interact with it.
What is SQL?
MySQL is technically not a coding language. It's a database management system that is developed, distributed, and supported by Oracle Corporation. SQL stands for Structured Query Language, and it is the programming language used to query your WordPress database.
In WordPress SQL statements are used to dynamically generate content on your site. These statements generate queries from a client program to the database. Database administrators can execute a wide range of data manipulation using these statements.
Your WordPress hosting service will provide your MySQL database. PHP programming stores and retrieves data from it. The web application phpMyAdmin lets you manage your database using a graphical interface. You will rarely if ever, need to do so.
MySQL organizes, stores, and retrieves all the critical parts of your site like pages, posts, user profiles, and images in the database.
How Does MySQL Work?
To use data in a computer database, you need a database management system such as MySQL Server. I am going to let Oracle handle the technical explanation of the system.
"MySQL databases are relational. A relational database stores data in separate tables rather than putting all the data in one big storeroom. The database structures are organized into physical files optimized for speed. The logical model, with objects such as databases, tables, views, rows, and columns, offers a flexible programming environment. You set up rules governing the relationships between different data fields, such as one-to-one, one-to-many, unique, required or optional, and "pointers" between different tables. The database enforces these rules, so that with a well-designed database, your application never sees inconsistent, duplicate, orphan, out-of-date, or missing data."
You can enter SQL directly, embed SQL statements into code written in another language (PHP), or use a language-specific API that hides the SQL syntax.
Its connectivity, speed, and security make MySQL Server perfect for accessing databases on the Internet. And that is why WordPress uses it.
Again according to Oracle, "the MySQL Database Software is a client/server system that consists of a multithreaded SQL server that supports different back ends, several different client programs and libraries, administrative tools, and a wide range of application programming interfaces (APIs)".
What Can SQL do?
SQL and WordPress
- SQL executes queries against your database.
- SQL retrieves data from your database.
- SQL inserts records in your database.
- SQL updates records in your database.
- SQL deletes records from your database.
- and much more!
A variety of elements make up SQL. A Command Line Interface (CLI) executes language commands.
These commands include:
- Queries- Queries retrieve data based on provided criteria.
- Predicates – Predicates establish conditions to limit the effects of Queries and Statements or to redirect a program's flow.
- Clauses – Clauses are components of queries and statements.
- Expressions – Expressions produce tables, made up of rows and columns of data.
- Statements – The data handler controls the following using statements:
- Program flow
I am by no means a database expert but I hope this article has been helpful for understanding how SQL works with your WordPress website. You will most likely never have to interact with your database, but it's nice to know about the role it plays. More helpful information is in the recommended resources below.
- Introduction to SQL (How-Tos) - https://www.w3schools.com/sql/sql_intro.asp
- Official MySQL Site - https://www.mysql.com/
- SQL Commands: The Complete List (w/ Examples) – ttps://www.dataquest.io/blog/sql-commands/
- Official Reference Manual - https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/
- SQL and PDO Operations Reference - https://www.taniarascia.com/overview-of-sql-commands-and-pdo-operations/
- Beginner’s Guide to WordPress Database Management with phpMyAdmin - https://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/beginners-guide-to-wordpress-database-management-with-phpmyadmin/
- MySQL Workbench - https://www.mysql.com/products/workbench/
- Using MySQL with WordPress - https://wpengine.com/resources/mysql-wordpress/
- LAMP, the WordPress Software Stack – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LAMP_(software_bundle)