I work with an EE website that has 293 custom fields, and 125k entries. Nowadays, whenever I am adding a new channel field, it takes between 4 and 5 minutes to complete the task! Also, it can take up to 2 minutes to delete a channel field.

I understand that this task requires adding a row to the exp_channel_fields table, as well as adding at least 2 columns to the exp_channel_data table.

Anybuddy have any insight into why this is taking so long? Any tricks to speed this up?


  • EE 2.5.5
  • My guess is the database is getting too large for the memory available for the server. 125,000 entries and 293 fields is a massive number. I'm not sure how to optimize this, but hopefully someone else will provide insight.
    – CreateSean
    Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 20:24
  • Definitely sounds like it's a memory issue as CreateSean mentioned. To start, you might want to start throwing resources at it (i.e., increase memory on the server) to see if that's the case. Beyond that, you'll need to use something like New Relic to drill down and find out where the bottlenecks are.
    – A Herrera
    Commented Jul 12, 2013 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


...wow. Just...wow. That's a hell of a lot of content, AND a lot of fields!! It sounds like the database is just getting very very large, so of course it's slowing down.

You didn't mention why you're adding all these new channel fields. Do you have multiple channels? If so, is it at all possible to consolidate channel field groups, so that similar channels use the same fields (and only display certain ones on the front end?) If that's possible, you'd have to do some work to consolidate the fields/channels/content, but that would both start the optimization process, AND make expansion easier - if you tried to re-use wherever possible, instead of creating new field groups for each channel.

(You might also want to speak with your server admin/web host, see if they have any suggestions for optimizing server performance / SQL responsiveness. But this should not be a substitute for optimizing the database itself.)

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