Are you looking to create a WordPress Activity Log?
A small website does not have to worry about this. Everything is under control by a single owner. As the traffic grows, new members join your crew. Or you are running a website where anyone can make an account (membership website, ecommerce stores, forums). You will find it harder to track the changes.
At that moment, you would want to know which user made what change to the website. In this post, we will learn to track the WordPress Activity Log using a plugin. And this small action does make WordPress websites more secure.
Why use WordPress Activity Log?
WordPress Activity Log keeps record of all the changes made to the website.
If you are the only user on your WordPress website, you would know (maybe not remember) that change is made by you. But as the number of website administrators, users, writers and managers grow, you need to track the changes to ensure everyone is following the website guidelines.
Beside keeping the brand image intact, one has to know who made the change to hold people accountable for any out of line task. Or to praise them for a positive change.
You would like to know things like:
- Who deleted a plugin?
- Who made the specific change to the website?
- Who added a new plugin?
- Who altered the theme?
Activity Log can also track the users activities to catch an ongoing hacking attack or resource stealing. And you cannot record all the changes manually, and that’s why you need a WordPress Activity Log plugin to do this job efficiently and automatically.
Step 1: Installing the Activity Log Plugin
First we are going to install a plugin to help us keep the log. The plugin name is Activity Log, and it is developed by the Activity Log Team. There are other Activity Log plugins, but we find this better and simpler.
Follow the step-by-step guide to install a WordPress plugin.
- Login to WordPress dashboard
- Navigate to the Plugin >> Add New from the left side panel
- Search the Activity Log
- Install the Activity Log plugin
- Activate the plugin
That’s it. You have successfully downloaded and activated the Activity Log Plugin
Step 2: Configure the Activity Log Plugin
Once activated you will find the plugin below the Dashboard on the left side navigation panel in the WordPress admin dashboard area. Hover over the name and click on the Settings button to open the plugin settings.
From the setting page, we can make changes to the Activity Log.
Keep Log for: Enter the number of Days to keep the logs. The longer you keep the log, the more space it will take on the Disc.
Keep Failed Login Logs: Whether to keep the failed login logs or not. If you are receiving plenty of failed login, it indicates someone is trying to log into your account using brute force method. You can optimize the login page security by:
- Adding Security Questions to WordPress Login Screen
- Disabling Remember Me in WordPress Login Page
- Removing Email Address Login in WordPress
- Forcing Strong Passwords on Users in WordPress
- Restricting Usernames in WordPress Sign Up
Finally, if you want to remove all the logs in one click, you can click on Reset Database. In the end, click on the Save Changes button to save the changes.
That’s it. Your Activity Log plugin is working on your website. Make changes and see yourself if the Activity Log is recording logs or not.
How to View the WordPress Activity Log?
Click the Activity Log to view the WordPress Activity Los.
You can complete logs of action on this page. Time, date, IP address, and even Context.
- Date shows the date and time of the change.
- User is the user who made the change.
- IP is the user’s IP address.
- Topic shows the category of the change.
- Context is a note on the location of the change, or other information.
- Meta provides quick information about the change.
- Action is specific information about, or the location of, the changes.
There is also a filter, because the number of logs runs high and you cannot find specific types of logs manually.
The plugin has sorted the various logs by Roles (WordPress User Roles), Users (Account on Website), Topics (Plugins, Users, Themes) and Actions (Failed Logins, Deactivated, Activated).
If you scroll down, you will find a way to export the WordPress Activity Log as CSV.
What if I Uninstall a Plugin?
If you deactivate the Activity Log plugin, the log would be kept safe. But if you uninstall the Activity log plugin, all the databases will be deleted with the Activity Log files. The uninstall or deactivation will not impact the WordPress website in any way.
Life is a butterfly effect. A small change to your website without you knowing could lead to big changes. An outdated plugin installed, an incompatible plugin updated or a quick change to the website header color – it can affect the website security, speed and even monetisation.
So if your website has lots of contributors, tracing the changes is important to ensure you are on top of things all the time.
In this quick tutorial, we learned to create a WordPress Activity log using a plugin. If you encounter any issues, please feel free to let me know in the comment box.