My client sent me an email message, saying something wasn’t working correctly on their website. They made some changes, but now the site was acting “wonky.” Their words, not mine.
I asked, if they installed any new plugins, modified settings for installed plugins, or if they deleted anything.
“I’m not sure what happened,”, my client replied. “I don’t remember what I did. Can you fix it?”
If this has happened to you, it can be like a treasure hunt trying to discover what the user changed in WordPress.
Without some clues, where do you begin? You want to find out if the user:
- Changed the theme
- Deleted the theme
- Moved a widget
- Gave access to a new administrative user
- Changed a menu
- And many more items
Tracking down what users, especially users with administrative access, have changed on a WordPress site can be a challenge without a map.
Thankfully, there are a couple plugins that provide you a map that can make your treasure hunt a lot easier.
The ARYO Activity Log plugin allows you to quickly find out from your Dashboard what changes have been made to the site, and by whom.
The plugin tracks who has created, updated, or deleted posts, pages, custom post types, tags, categories, taxonomies, comments and media. Find out which users have logged in, logged out, and whether the user’s login failed.
What I found helpful was discovering if a widget was added or deleted (the source of my client’s issue), or if the widget order was changed.
ARYO Activity Log is easy to install, with minimal configuration. It adds another administrative menu choice to your Dashboard, near the top of the menu.
There are only two tabs in the settings options. You can set the maximum number of days to keep updates (no more than 30 days is recommended). And by setting up custom notifications, you can be emailed when certain events take place.
Stream, which was released late last year, offers similar tracking features and functionality, though with more customization options than ARYO Activity Log.
Once its installed, you’ll find a new “Stream” menu choice near the top of the administrative menu where you can track changes made to the site’s pages, posts, media, tags, categories, and comments.
In Stream Records, you can filter logged actions by connector, context, action and IP address, making it simple to track down changes.
Stream Settings offer you more configuration options, allowing you to restrict who has access to the activity log by role or by user name. Using their Developer API, you can create your own custom connectors.
According to their description,
Stream won’t pollute your default posts table with records or slow down content querying on your site.
Both plugins are free. Note that email notifications in Stream are only available through their premium extensions.
Do you think you’ll use ARYO Activity Log or Stream for tracking? Or are you using something else to track changes on your WordPress sites? Share your thoughts in the comments.