What is the WordPress activity log (audit log)?

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An audit trail is a security-relevant log in which a chronological record of a sequence of changes and activities are recorded. It is also commonly referred to as activity log, audit log and security log.

In our WordPress plugin’s activity log you can find a detailed record of all the changes that happen on your WordPress website or multisite network. For example you can find information about who:

  • logged in, from where and at what time,
  • published a post or a page,
  • installed, activated, updated, deactivated and deleted a plugin or a theme,
  • modified a file,
  • and much more.

Refer to the complete list of WordPress changes the WP Security audit log plugin can keep a log of for more details about what information you can find in the activity log.

What details can I see in the WordPress activity log?

For every change on your WordPress website the WP Security Audit Log plugin keeps a log of the:

  • details about the change itself,
  • IP address from where the change happened,
  • username and role of the user who did the change,
  • date and time (including milliseconds) of when the change happened.

In the below screenshot we can see a few examples:

  1. The user Alfred Sant with the Editor role created a new category called security plugins and changed the category of the post Top 4 WordPress Activity Log Plugins.
  2. Robert Abela who has the administrator role has changed the role of user rubyrobin from editor to administrator.
  3. User RubyRobin, which now has the administrator role has activated the plugin Password Policy Manager for WordPress. The plugin also keeps a log of the folder where the plugin is installed.

In case of a content change, the plugin also links to a diff of the content change. For example in event ID 2065 shown in the above screenshot there is a link from where you can see the content changes the user did. Below is an example of what the content diff looks like.

WordPress revision highlights the content changes in a post

Why do you need a WordPress activity log on your website?

There are several benefits to keeping an activity log on your WordPress website. The below points are just a high level highlight. Read the benefits of WordPress activity logs for more details on this subject.

Keep track & monitor all WordPress users’ activity

If you manage a multi-user WordPress website, you are for sure familiar with users’ conflicts. Someone has overwritten someone else’s change, someone changed a setting in a plugin or the content of the main page, and someone else changed the main menu or its location. However, you can never find out who did what. Very rarely someone owns up to their mistakes. By keeping a WordPress audit log, aka a record of user changes, you will have a clear record of who did what, when and from where.

Ease WordPress troubleshooting

Sometimes some changes can lead to technical website problems, or an unresponsive WordPress website. Even worse, sometimes you are left in the dark, especially if it is a customer website. Troubleshooting an issue without any record of what might have happened, is like looking for a needle in a haystack. However, when you have a record of all the changes that happened on the website you can trace back the source of the problem within just minutes.

Identify suspicious behavior & thwart WordPress hack attacks

When trying to hack a website, attackers launch a number of different attack vectors. They scan the website for vulnerabilities, launch a brute force attack and try several other things. The WP Security Audit Log plugin keeps a log of such malicious activity in the WordPress activity log. So if for example you notice a large number of failed login attempts, or requests to non existing pages, most probably someone is trying to hack into your website.

Such data in the activity log gives you the opportunity to spot the attack attempt early and take the necessary evasive actions. For example you can configure the plugin to send you an instant email or SMS notification when there are such attempts recorded in the logs, so you can easily thwart the attack before it happens.

Ease the forensics and post-hack recovery process

The WordPress audit trail is also very useful in the unfortunate case of a WordPress site hack. Logs are the most important source of information in forensics. For example in the logs you can see what the attackers did when they hacked the website. When doing forensics look for new WordPress users’ activity, or logins in at unusual times or from unusual locations. Forensics are very important in a post-hack scenario. Even though your WordPress is hacked you should mitigate the damage as soon as possible. Logs allow you to do just that because through them you can trace back all the malicious activity.

Ensure your WordPress meets all legal & regulatory compliance requirements

pci dss compliantAll WordPress websites that are used for online business have to be compliant to several legal and regulatory compliance requirements, such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). By keeping an log and segregating the activity logs from the WordPress database you comply to one of the requirements almost all compliance bodies have. By doing so you also improve the security of your WordPress website.

How To keep an activity log of  WordPress changes

It is very easy! Use WP Security Audit Log, the activity log plugin with the broadest coverage to keep a comprehensive WordPress audit trail of changes that happen on your website. Getting started is really easy: simply install the plugin and it automatically starts keeping a log.

Get more out of your WordPress audit log solution

Upgrade to the premium edition of the WP Security Audit Log plugin to build a complete and robust WordPress logging and monitoring solution. For example you can:

  • Receive instant email or SMS alerts of critical site changes,
  • Generate any type of WordPress user and site activity report,
  • Receive daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly summary reports directly in your inbox,
  • Run text based searchers and use filters to fine tune your search results,
  • Save the WordPress security audit log in an external database to boost the security of your WordPress websites and to meet all regulatory compliance requirements,
  • Mirror logs to your central log management solution, such as Slack and Papertrail.

Why choose the WP Security Audit Log plugin?

WP Security Audit Log has the highest user rating of all the WordPress audit log plugins. It’s comprehensive logs provide you with all the details you require and its coverage of WordPress changes is second to none. If you’d like to learn more what makes WP Security Audit Log stand out from all the competition read Why you should use WP Security Audit Log for your WordPress website.

100,000 WordPress administrators can’t be wrong. Start keeping track of all the site changes today. Getting started is really easy!