How Do I Reduce the Size of an SQLite File?

SQLite is one of the most widely used open-source database management systems that is based on the relational database model. It is a popular choice for many developers to store and process data in a lightweight and efficient manner. Despite its advantages, SQLite files can become larger over time, occupying significant disk space, and slowing down the performance of your application.

In this tutorial, I will provide an overview of the methods to reduce the size of an SQLite file.

How to Reduce the Size of an SQLite File?

You can shrink an SQLite file’s size by using some of the methods listed below:

1: Compress the Database

Database compression is one way to make an SQLite file smaller. The SQLite engine supports multiple compression techniques, such as Zip and Bzip2. These techniques can be used to compress the data in the database, resulting in a smaller overall file size. Compression techniques can be applied to the entire SQLite file or individual tables within the file.

2: VACUUM Command

Another method to reduce the size of an SQLite file is to use the VACUUM command. The VACUUM command is used to rebuild the database by creating a new file that contains only the used space and leaving out the unused space. The process optimizes the SQLite file size and also helps to reduce fragmentation. This method can significantly reduce the size of the SQLite file, especially if the database has been in use for a long time.


3: PRAGMA Command

The third method to reduce the size of an SQLite file is to use the PRAGMA command. The PRAGMA command allows SQLite users to configure and control various settings such as page size, cache size, auto-vacuum mode, and more. The SQLite file’s size can be decreased with the proper configuration of these settings.

PRAGMA auto_vacuum = FULL;

4: Avoid Redundant Data

The fourth technique is to avoid redundant data. This includes the use of normalization techniques, which involve reducing unnecessary data duplication. When there is a lot of duplication in the database, it can make the file size unnecessarily large. Normalization techniques can greatly help in reducing file size by removing unnecessary dependencies and repeating groups.

5: Avoid the Use of BLOBS

The fifth technique is to avoid the use of large BLOB data. BLOBs or Binary Large Object data types store large objects in the database in binary format. While BLOBs can significantly improve database performance by reducing the number of file system access, they can also contribute to the large file size. Therefore, it is advisable to minimize the use of BLOBs whenever possible.

6: Remove Unnecessary Indexes

Although indexes increase query performance, they can result in larger databases. In some cases, certain indexes may no longer be necessary. By dropping these unused indexes, you can reduce the size of the SQLite file. Consider the following code example:

To better understand how to remove unnecessary indexing, let’s consider a scenario where we have a table named customers with the following structure:

CREATE TABLE customers (


name TEXT,



Now, let’s populate the table with some sample data:

INSERT INTO customers (name, age) VALUES ('Jade', 25);

INSERT INTO customers (name, age) VALUES ('Jane', NULL);

INSERT INTO customers (name, age) VALUES ('Alex', 30);

Suppose we have created an unnecessary index named idx_name.

CREATE INDEX IF NOT EXISTS idx_name ON customers (name);

We can drop this unnecessary index using the DROP INDEX command.


7: Remove Unnecessary Data

The seventh method to reduce the size of an SQLite file is to remove unnecessary data. As developers, we may forget to delete unused data or unnecessary records that take up space in the database. Unnecessary data may include outdated data that is no longer in use or duplicates of data that already exists in the database. By checking for and removing redundant data, the size of the SQLite file can be reduced.

DELETE FROM customers WHERE name = 'Alex';

Now let’s check the data from the customers table.

SELECT * FROM customers;

8. Optimize Queries

The eighth method to reduce the size of an SQLite file is to optimize queries. The database query optimization process is concerned with improving the efficiency of queries executed on the database. It involves identifying and minimizing bottlenecks and ensuring that queries execute most optimally. By optimizing queries, the size of the SQLite file can be significantly reduced.


There are eight techniques for minimizing the size of an SQLite file overall. These include compressing the database, using the VACUUM command, PRAGMA command, avoiding the use of redundant data, BLOBs, removing unnecessary data, indexes, and optimizing queries. The aforementioned discussions have provided a thorough description of all these techniques.

About the author

Hiba Shafqat

I am a Computer Science student and a committed technical writer by choice. It is a great pleasure to share my knowledge with the world in which I have academic expertise.