In WordPress, transients are a particular way of caching data for a certain period of time. Instead of storing data in the object cache, transient data in WordPress is stored only temporarily, with the hopes that it will be updated occasionally. Transients are generated with a set maximum lifetime, after which they expire and are deleted.
However, things can go wrong, over time, and sometimes transient data needs to be managed by you.
Plugin and theme developers typically use transients to store time-sensitive information in your database. This feature helps improve the functionality and speed of your site and reduces server load, overall.
However, nothing is perfect.
Potential issues from transient data
If you are experiencing issues with your popular posts or have share counts not showing up, and you’ve cleared your cache already, there might be an issue with your transients.
Sometimes, you need to clear out expired transients.
Clearing out these transients can also aid in optimizing your WordPress database and can give you better performance overall. This can be especially useful when you’re moving a staging site to go live.
Transient data in WordPress is a lot like cookies in that they both let developers store temporary info. However, transients are far more powerful and can do a much more than cookies can.
For instance, cookies are kept in your visitor’s browser and have numerous limitations.
They also aren’t as customizable, and they are definitely less secure. However, transients are stored in your database, are easily programmable, they can store multiple kinds of data, and they're more secure.
Let’s take a look at how you can take a stab at managing transient data on your WordPress site.
Managing transient data in WordPress
If you’re a developer that really knows their stuff, you can always manage transients manually. But who has the time for that? After all, why do manual labor when there is a plugin to do the heavy lifting for you?
Enter the Transients Manager plugin. With this groovy plugin, you can easily manage, edit, and even delete transient data in WordPress.
Once the plugin is installed and activated, you simply select Tools > Transients. This takes you to the dashboard.
From the dashboard you can delete individual or bulk transient data. Just select the checkbox to the left and visit the dropdown menu up top for the list of actions.
Here are the actions you can choose from:
This plugin is cool because it provides:
- Toolbar button to suspend transient writes
- View all transients in the database
- Edit the name, expiration, and value of any transient
- Delete any transient
- Search for transients by name
- Bulk actions to delete all, expired, unexpired, or persistent transients
You even get a toolbar toggle that allows you to suspend transient updates to help with testing and debugging situations.
Closing thoughts on transient data in WordPress
Again, you can certainly go nuts and manually manage transient data in WordPress, but why do that when you can perform the same task in seconds with a free plugin? I’ve personally used this plugin and have found it extremely helpful. And best of all, did I mention it’s free?