MySQL databases, like any other software product, are constantly being developed and new features are being added all the time. Popular CMSs like WordPress and Joomla are quick to adopt these new database features in order to improve security, reliability, and performance. In this article, we will take a look at one of the most important aspects of a MySQL database – its storage engine. We will discuss what a storage engine is and how to change the storage engine for your MySQL database tables.

What Is a Database Storage Engine?

At its most basic level, a database storage engine is a program that directly manipulates the information stored within the database. The storage engine accepts commands through its programming interface (API). These commands instruct the engine to create, read, update or delete one or more database entries.

What Is the Default Storage Engine?

Currently, if you start creating new tables in your database without specifying a storage engine, the MyISAM storage engine will be used by default. The good news is that if you later realize that you need a different engine for your table, you will be able to change it without any data loss.

How Can I Discover Which Storage Engine Is Used on a Particular Table?

If you are not sure which storage engine is being used in your table, you can easily find out through phpMyAdmin or by sending an SQL query. We will cover both approaches.

To discover which storage engine you are using through phpMyAdmin’s interface, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the phpMyAdmin utility in your web browser.
  2. If necessary, log in using your database credentials (not your hosting account credentials).
  3. Click on the table name which you would like to inspect from the list of the left.
  4. Switch to the Operations tab.
  5. You will find your Storage Engine listed in the Table options section.