How to extract names and email addresses from your WP database

I had to do some playing around with my wordpress database when I wanted to move my install from a shared hosting to a dedicated server (which turned out to be quite easy!) and I went in a bit further to phpmyadmin to see what other things I could do.

With the current release of my new contest game, Aqua Craft, I wanted to let everyone that has visited here know about it and rather than wait for every single commenter to come back and see the post, I thought it might be easier to extract the email addresses of all commenters from the database and send them all a message. (luckily, only one person replied saying it was spam!).

I checked my wp_comments table and it had a few thousand entries, yey! I thought. I’ll send them all a message! I extracted the table into a csv file and was disappointed to see literally hundreds and hundreds of spammer email addresses in there…

wp_comments table with spam addresses

Not being a mysql database geek, I did some searching and found a way to extract all the addresses of the commenters that had been approved… here’s how…

1.) Log in to phpmyadmin
2.) select the wp_comments table on the left and click the “browse” button on comment_author_email

phpmyadmin wp_comments table

3.) Click “edit” on the mysql statment at the top of the page and change it to the following

edit mysql statement

SELECT * FROM `wp_comments` WHERE `comment_approved` = ‘1’

That will show you a list of all the comments made that have been approved.

4.) Click on the “export” tab and select these options..

export approved comments

This will give you a large .csv file ready to be opened by Excel

5.) Open the file in excel which will give you this..

raw csv file

This is a lot more than we need, so delete the columns for comment id, comment content etc so you’re left with comment_author, comment_author_email and comment_author_url

6.) Your excel file should look like this…

Fixed csv file

Now there will be a lot of duplicate email addresses from multiple commenters but if you have a decent newsletter or mass email program, you should be able to import this file and let it filter out all the dupes and discard the trackbacks and pings.

Easy peasy! I ended up with a few hundred email addresses who I could tell about my latest contest.. awesome…

14 thoughts on “How to extract names and email addresses from your WP database

  1. Andy Bailey

    Rhys: ok, I hope “enough time to formulate a proper reply” is not a euphemism for “I’m preparing the legal documents to sue your arse” :-/

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  5. Gert Hough

    You’ve got balls Andy!

    I would not even think of doing that. Just the thought of a spam complaint will send me running. I have come about a related blog post about different plugins that are available that can handle one’s list building from your blog. And I must say that I have been impressed. There are such a lot that I just there and then thought – may be later – and closed the window.

    I use aweber and I must say that is over there – at the top. Since I currently have bandwidth problems to sort out I sort of hang around until I can figure out my problems…

    In the mean time – how dedicated did you go and why?

    Gert Houghs last blog post..Business email list for sale – 5000 email addresses cheap cheap

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