What is the Auto-Draft Status in WordPress?

In another post, we wrote about the 8 default statuses in WordPress. These statuses control who can view your WordPress content.

Six of these post statuses are easily visible. 

That leaves only two statuses that are harder to see in WordPress: Auto-Draft and Inherit. In this tutorial, I’m going to explain the Auto-Draft status.

Auto-Draft is a useful status, because it helps WordPress to automatically save your post while you are editing it. In fact, it helps WordPress save posts before you even start writing. As soon as you click “Add new post”, WordPress will save a copy of your post every 60 seconds. The latest copy of your auto-drafts will appear in this Revisions area.

You might ask why you don’t see hundreds of revisions? After all, if you’re writing a post for hours, shouldn’t there be many auto-drafts? No, because there is only ever one autosave per user. New autosaves overwrite old autosaves.

These auto-drafts never overwrite published content unless you click “Publish” or “Update”. However, if you browser crashes you may see this message:

Because WordPress has automatically saved a copy of your post, you haven’t lost your work! Thanks WordPress!

You can see auto-drafts in your wp_posts table but only when you’re editing a post. They will vanish when you stop editing the post:

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