How to create a searchable database

How To Create A Searchable Database In WordPress

A searchable database on your website can improve user experience and help visitors find information quickly. A web developer with advanced knowledge in programming can make one, but if you use WordPress, you have other solutions. Creating a searchable database for your website requires three main phases: 

  • creating an indexed database
  • making it searchable
  • creating advanced database queries 

You will not need to learn PHP, HTML, Python, or any programming language if you decide to use a plugin. The most popular tools to create database-driven websites without coding are phpMyAdmin and MySQL Workbench. They enable you to access your website’s database through an online interface, making changes directly from your browser window without installing anything locally.

2 ways to create an online database website without coding skills

Since it is installed by default for most hosting plans, you will find the MySQL database with PhpMyAdmin by accessing your cPanel (or another control panel). A custom coding method is better if you have a massive database like Facebook, Quora, or Twitter.

Otherwise, I recommend using a form plugin or a WordPress database plugin. You can use the form plugin to create contact forms, conversational forms, and landing pages other than just creating a database for your site.

1. Using a form plugin to create a database

formidable form

I suggest using the formidable forms plugin because its free version gives plenty of features to create a searchable database site. It also has an easy drag-and-drop form field.

Formidable form stores all of your input data in the WordPress database directly, and you can use both the front end and back end to access this data. You can easily create a searchable database, just like having a database in Excel.

If you want to use posts, pages, or post types fields, then formidable forms can store this data with regular WordPress posts and custom fields without duplicating.

You can easily view and import Google sheets, excel spreadsheets data, and .csv format. It is possible to edit the data elsewhere, and it will remain the same.

Here’s what the formidable form interface looks like. You can easily drag and drop fields in the right-side editor and hit update after editing the form.

formidable interface

As every searchable database requires different ways of searching and filtering data, Formidable’s dynamic fields make the setup and management of your searchable database easy. These dynamic fields allow users to search and filter data just as they would in an app. You can even design multi-column form layouts with the Formidable plugin.

For example, take a student database that a user can filter by searching for the class.

When a student clicks on the submit button after selecting the class, it will lead to another table form to fill in the required data. This way, you can create many dynamic relationships using the formidable form.

2. Using a WordPress plugin to create a database

WordPress database plugins allow you to back up the database, fix your database and clear the clutter. They let you create new tables, download a local copy of your DB, and repair wp-config.php without modifying core files.

You can find plenty of WordPress database plugins in the WordPress repository. Some are clunky and hard to use, while others are feature-rich but may not meet your requirements. Some of these excellent database plugins are wp-DBManager and WpDataTables. WpDataTables is a better option because it comes with a formidable form add-on.

The formidable form has an easy way to collect data, while wpDataTables is good at displaying your data beautifully.  

What you should know about website databases

website searchable database

What is a searchable database website?

A searchable database is a data collection organized to easily find queries using specific criteria. You type your questions, and the database will provide the best answer possible. A searchable database is beneficial for large websites because it facilitates web navigation and improves user experience.

You can choose a specific database structure depending on the type of information and the usage. For example, relational databases are popular. They store data in tables with columns and rows so it can be queried using specific criteria. 

Here are two examples of searchable databases:

The Library Catalog: You usually find it at libraries, but other types are also available. When you go into the library and ask for a book, the librarian will check if it is available from their catalog system. Then, show you where to find it on the shelves (or on the computer if they have one).

You can also use this system online by going to any significant library website and typing in the title or author of what you’re looking for. This will bring up all books containing those words so that you can easily find what you need without going through every shelf.

Google Search Engine: Google has made huge strides over time to ensure that people can quickly find what they need online. 

One example of a searchable database would be an online bookstore like Amazon or Barnes & Noble; when you shop for books on those sites, you are using their databases to find the books you want to buy based on price, author name, or genre (or all three!).

What is a WordPress database?

WordPress has its database manager “MySQL, ” which stores all of the WordPress website content. It includes everything from the username, passwords, posts, and pages. MySQL is the backbone system or the brain of the WordPress database that directs all of the content forms, security, and administrative accounts.

All WordPress websites have a default database, but it has limited features. When you make a searchable database with Formidable, you extend it and make it more accessible to users.

Where’s the database stored on a WordPress site?

A web server stores the database. If you are using localhost to host your website, then servers like XAMPP will store your database. If you are hosting your site on any live Webhosting, then your web hosting server will keep it in the Database section under the cPanel.

WordPress uses a database of several tables that store most of your information in rows, as you can see on any Excel spreadsheet. And every time you add new data, the number of these tables increases. All your posts are in one table, your users in another table, and products in yet another table – and so on.

WordPress uses a programming language, SQL, and MYSQL quires to store and retrieve the data and generate it in webpages. Now, you can understand that your data is stored in a table, and SQL is the programming language that keeps these tables in MYSQL queries.

WordPress will retrieve and generate these queries on web pages. You can access this MySQL database with MYphpAdmin in your cPanel.

Choosing a database creation method [Final thoughts]

To create a searchable database site with WordPress, you can use a plugin to add extra functionality or PHP programming to code it. Both options will work perfectly well if you are comfortable with programming, but if not, using a plugin is much easier.

Your choice of creation methods will depend on the database structure and your level of expertise in coding. For many website owners, a WordPress database application builder (or WordPress frontend database plugin) will help them save time and money.

But sometimes, you may need to hire a web developer to set up a much more complex database design.

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