This may be just me being a stickler for order, but sometimes I start a new project using an old database where I have to delete a bunch of data. Some of that data includes member info. Now, while deleting members, if I add a new one, the member ID assigned to that member is based on the previously added/deleted member. So if the last member was ID 200, the new member is ID 201.

However, if I delete it all down to the original 4 members, Member ID still follows the last one when I add the 5th member!

So it's like, Member ID 1, 2, 3, 4, then 201. Which looks super super odd.


If I delete members & add a new one, is it possible to have their member ID to be consecutive to current member IDs, not the deleted?

  • This bothers me as well with entry IDs so you're not alone on this one :)
    – Natetronn
    Jan 16, 2013 at 18:43

2 Answers 2


What you're referring to is the auto increment value in a table. You can change this by running the following query:


...where X is the next number you'd expect for your IDs.

This is a database-level change and not something ExpressionEngine has as a "feature". Only make this change if you understand you might break something.

If I delete members & add a new one, is it possible to have their member ID to be consecutive to current member IDs, not the deleted?

Ultimately, I'd say "get over it" (as a friend, of course). Keeping the IDs in order is not worth the hassle (and potential risk) involved.

  • Need more clarification. Does X = number I want to start it at? e.g. if the last member ID was 4, should I put 4 in X or 5?
    – lealea
    Jan 16, 2013 at 18:39
  • As for potential risk, if it's a new site with little to no entries (ie i'm just setting things up from an old db), would that risk be quite low?
    – lealea
    Jan 16, 2013 at 18:41
  • Yes, X would be the next number you'd be looking for. As for risk, you're correct in saying risk would be low for a site with so little data involved. Brandon touched on that a bit in his response as well. Jan 16, 2013 at 18:43
  • I edited the post to clarify the X in the query. Jan 16, 2013 at 18:50

This is because all “id” columns in EE are set to AUTO_INCREMENT in MySQL. Expressionengine is never explicitly choosing what the next member/entry/etc.’s ID is going to be – MySQL assigns it automatically.

MySQL stores the latest auto-increment value internally, and it won’t automatically drop it back when a row is deleted. Some tools like phpMyAdmin will let you reset the auto increment value. But it’s probably not a good idea to mess with it, especially when talking about EE, since other areas of the system might still be referring to that deleted member, via their now nonexistent member_id. (Other systems solve this problem using foreign keys, but EllisLab chose not to use those in ExpressionEngine.)

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