I love “Search and Replace” functions – I use them all the time in Excel, Word, and Notepad. Sometimes we wrangle a LOT of data, so being able to make these quick changes is a real time saver.
Something we’ve been talking about with clients lately is also doing Search and Replace in a WordPress database – using MySQL.
Search and Replace within your WordPress website
This is incredibly handy if you have bulk updates to make across a big WordPress site – changing dates, links, html, or even just a few words. You can get it all done in one go, without having to edit 20+ pages or posts.
The caveat is that you need access to your MySQL database, via PhpMyAdmin. And you do need to know what you’re doing in here – it’s not for the faint hearted as one wrong step could break your website.
No pressure guys…
Step by step Search and Replace for WordPress
So first of all:
BACKUP YOUR DATBASE.
Then, to Search and Replace content within WordPress posts or pages:
- Choose your database
- Click on the SQL tab
- Write the command you want in the text area (see how to do this below)
- Double check everything
- Hit “Go”
- Check the front end of your WordPress site to make sure it worked and didn’t break anything!
Here’s what you need to write in to perform WordPress Search and Replace:
UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE (
'Item to replace here',
'Replacement text here');
The “Item to replace here” text needs to be EXACTLY what you want to replace. Remember this function is looking for a direct match If there’s an extra space or bit of punctuation, it won’t work.
Please Please Please
Please take care when you do this – it is very powerful and can quickly replace an hour’s worth of work. It can also break your site if you mess it up, so proceed with caution.
Give us a bell if you want to do this and think you might need a hand.