We develop a plugin called PublishPress Revisions that allows you to submit, approve and schedule changes to your WordPress content.
However, PublishPress Revisions doesn't (yet) keep an easily visible log of all your content changes. This week, someone emailed us and wanted to know if this was possible using another plugin.
I decided to install and test seven plugins that can track content changes.
Please keep a couple of things in mind:
- I'm not looking for the best activity log plugin. If you want a great activity log then we recommend Logitivity. It's built by some of the PublishPress team. Your needs may be different. I'm simply focused on which plugin has the best tracking for content and status changes.
- Pay attention to the plugin names! As you'll see, many of these plugins have almost identical names.
Recommended: Simple History
Simple History is a very accurately named plugin. It doesn't come with millions of integrations, advertisements and premium add-ons. It does a simple job and does it very well.
In this image below, it clearly records that I changed the body text and the featured image. You can see that it uses the clear red-and-green color scheme from the core WordPress revisions:
In this next image, you can see that Simple History is able to record the status changes, including the custom statuses in PublishPress:
I know that some sites will need more detailed logs than Simple History can provide. I've worked on some of those sites myself, and for those use-cases, I'd choose another plugin.
However, when it comes to detailed information on content changes, then Simple History is my clear recommendation on this list. That's what the advice I gave to our PublishPress customer.
Stream is a plugin that I've used in the past and found very useful. Unfortuantely, it's content tracking is limited to “Updated”.
#3. User Activity Tracking and Log
This is another solid plugin that just didn't meet our needs. User Activity Tracking and Log will only show that your posts were “Updated”.
#4. WP User Activity
WP User Activity is another plugin that tracks content changes, but doesn't record what those changes are. All you'll see is that the post was “Edited”.
#5. WP Security Audit Log
As the name implies, WP Security Audit Log is more focused in security, and it does have a useful activity log.
However, I did have two reservations about this plugin:
- The activity log is very busy. Being a security plugin, it tries to record absolutely everything that happens. And searching through the logs seems to be a premium feature.
- About those premium features … adverts are everywhere in this plugin and can't be hidden. They're even inserted into the activity log itself.
All-in-all, it wasn't a good fit for this task:
#6. Activity Log
The Activity Log plugin may be very useful, but unfortunately for our needs, it didn't track enough information about content changes. It just shows “Created”, “Updated” and “Deleted”.
#7. User Activity Log
Remember me saying that lots of these plugins had similar names? Well, now we're talking about User Activity Log, rather than “Activity Log”, “User Activity Tracking and Log” or “WP User Activity”, but the same limitations are in effect. The plugin can only tell us “Post updated”.
So, we reviewed 7 plugins. All of them seemed like solid plugins with good use-cases.
However, we had a very particular use-case in mind that was tracking content changes with a great amount of detail.
For this particular situation, Simple History was the clear winner. It's easy to see why it has over 100,000 active users.
Over to you … can you recommend any other activity log plugins for WordPress content? Did we miss any useful feature in the plugins we did include?