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How and What you should monitor in WordPress activity logs

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WordPress website and its maintenance is not a minor job. Specifically, if you handle multisite, then the management of activities and the history of logging in must be available to you.

With the increasing number of security breaches, the concerns are pretty severe. There is a security breach every 39 seconds. At this rate, you would not want to be the victim of a cyber attack. Hence, to manage the security of WordPress, you should look into the maintenance areas and website security.

What should you monitor in WordPress activity logs

Table of Content

Understanding user activity logs

World press does not have the feature of analyzing the various activities being performed on it, such as uploading of posts, editing of posts, adding images, comments by visitors, and so on. Therefore, tracking any of such changes on the WordPress website is tedious. Since the website is accessible to lots of customers and close acquaintances, it is necessary to take preventive measures to save it from any hackers.

There are particular, well-qualified plugins for auditing the logging activities and to track the slightest changes in activities.

The changes that can be tracked down with the help of a plugin are:

  • Posts, pages, comments, theme changes
  • Menus, widgets, settings, categories, tags, changes
  • Core update, custom posts, plugin, media, export changes
  • Categories, taxonomies terms, user changes

Additional security layer: email notifications for user logins and changes in the WordPress site.

Why should you monitor WordPress activities?

Monitoring WordPress websites is very critical. By now, you must have known what monitoring WordPress activity logs is. There are many reasons to take into consideration.

monitor your wordpress site

Multiple user access

If multiple administrators are looking after the website, there might be a lack of coordination. Due to this, there may be some radical changes to the website. The website can look indifferent with the addition or deletion of special useful plugins. It is critical to keep track of who among you made those changes, when, and how.

Technical support

For smooth functioning, the regular up-gradation of the website by a team of technical experts is done. Suddenly a website may stop working and go blank. Nobody knows what happens, but if you maintain an activity user log, perhaps it might be possible to track down what happened actually.

Tight security for the website

Cyber attacks and hacking is a common phenomenon these days. With 43% of attacks made on the small business’s websites, one can understand the vulnerability. Therefore, it is crucial to keep track of user activities. A sudden change in the user or admin powers indicates a mishappening of a cyber attack. To save oneself from a disastrous situation, install a user activity tracking plugin.

If you own a WordPress website and you are the sole admin taking care of it, then do not give the login access to any other person. If you trust someone with a whole heart, you should still keep the activity tracking on.

Sometimes the users can make unwanted mistakes that may break the website. With the help of activity tracking history, you can effortlessly identify the changes and fix the issues instantly.

What should you monitor?

1. Tracking changes in the WordPress plugin

You must be aware that there are more than 50,000 plugins available in the WordPress community to serve additional purposes. As a developer, you might feel unsatisfied with the number of plugins you have.

Having too many plugins can increase the risk of functional disabilities. Hence, try to reduce the number of plugins and work more on the quality of the plugins you install. You can read our guides for details on plugins.

tracking wordpress changes

2. Tracking the website changes 

Well, this is the most noteworthy parameter to be checked while auditing your WordPress installation. Whenever there is a change in file or DNS record, you would want to receive notifications for these changes. 

website changes

3. Tracking changes in blog posts

Any changes or modifications that you might want in the future or correction should be notified immediately. Leaving a blog post without any activity can be a big turn off. Always make sure that the content you have published serves the intent entirely. This area of technical changes must generate email notifications for you. 

tracking changes in blog posts

4. Tracking changes in WordPress themes. 

It may sound totally weird, but multiple themes’ activation on your WordPress website can indeed create some bizarre situations. When you develop multiple sites, you require multiple themes. In such a scenario, it is very crucial to keep a check on the theme’s plugin. Make sure that you receive the email notification immediately whenever you make changes in the following processes related to themes.

Tracking changes in wordpress theme

If you are settled with the choice of things you have made for your website, then kindly disable any editing access to anybody. All you have to do is add a configuration line to your WordPress theme file. Also, please be careful while doing this change since hackers can take advantage of such a situation.

Read our guide on themes: Top 18 Free WordPress Themes and how to install guide (2020)

5. Tracking changes in core settings

Any slight or significant changes in the core functionality of WordPress can be an alarming situation. If the changes are not made by you, then definitely it is high time to track what’s happening with your website.

Turn on receiving email alerts for any updates to WordPress versions and alterations to directory permissions. Any manipulations in WordPress or can lead to incompatibility with the plugins installed on your WordPress website. You must plan cleverly to avoid any risk in the future, especially if you run an e-commerce website.

tracking changes in core

6. Tracking changes in user login activity

We believe that this is a very critical activity that you must regularly keep checking on. Any doubtful login activity on your website must be taken care of immediately. WordPress allows countless logins to users by default.

This feature leads to an unwanted network attack by invaders. Try to add extra security to your website by reducing the number of login attempts by using a special plugin or a firewall.

Read our guide on firewall plugins 10 Best WordPress Firewall Plugins Compared

tracking user activity

7. Tracking the security changes 

If you are a regular user of the website and there is too much activity on it, then you must give serious thought to the security solutions. If you are using an advanced website security solution, then it’s healthy but, if you’re not, then the chances of getting your website hijacked his way higher. 

tracking security changes

You can use several advanced plugins for detecting any security changes. Read our guides on Best 3 WordPress Security plugins in 2020 and The risks and threats that can ruin your WordPress websites. They prevent malicious individuals and users from accessing your WordPress administrative area.

How should you monitor?

By default, WordPress does not have the facility to keep track of any activity on the website. You will need plugins to track user activity. Once you install a plugin, the monitoring of the site will start automatically. You can either see the changes from the admin area or receive notifications for any changes to the administrator’s email address.

The 3 Best activity logs plugins

Before choosing any plugin for navigating user activity in WordPress, check for the following criteria in a plugin:

  • Make sure that the plugin supports the admin unconditionally.
  • The plugin should be efficient in providing improved security services.
  • The user activity plugin must help in better debugging.
  • The plugin should not interfere with content integrity.

1. Activity Log plugin

Based on these criteria, we believe that the Activity Log plugin is one of the best WordPress user activity monitoring software. The plugin can monitor the following activities/changes on your website:

Core updates, pages, post types, tanks, categories, comments, taxonomy is, understand, media uploads, user profile updates, registered users, topics, plugins, widgets, menus, configurations, links, options, exports, and much more.

activity log plugin

You shall receive email notifications for any changes done. This plugin is quick to save the data such as date and time of activity, the IP address from where the changes are operated, and the user profile who made the changes.

2. Simple history plugin

It is a simple plugin to track the changes on the website. It is simple to use and view analytics. The report on the following changes are provided by the Simple history plugin: Pages, entries, comments, widgets, plug-ins, users, attachments, duration of the session starts, gravity forms, and much more.

simple history plugin

These are the default set of functions that provide a simple history, such as logging activities, upload media, changes in post page editing, etc. There is a possibility of extending the functions by adding some configuration options.

3. Stream plugin

Just like simple history, the Stream plugin is a very simple to use WordPress monitoring plugin. By default, it can track down the changes in users, themes, plugins, tags, categories, menus, widgets, comments, theme editing, and updates. The functionalities can be increased, and the following changes can be recorded, such as Jetpack, gravity forms, BuddyPress, advanced custom fields, Woocommerce, and more.

Stream plugin

The plus point of this plugin is that it is free to use. The free version allows the backup of a 30-day history. The paid version would enable access to the activity history of any day.

Final thoughts

In this article, we have discussed the  WordPress activity logs that you should carefully monitor. These are some straightforward and to the point activities that persistently occur on your website. To avoid any mishappening of hacking or theft on your site, you must regulate the security and maintenance.

We have also mentioned how to monitor the activities using the 3 best plugins- Activity logs, Simple history, and Stream. You can rely on these plugins for tracking WordPress activity changes. The plugins monitor the website efficiently, quickly alert any hacking situations, and protect from unwanted activities. You must read about it in detail.

We hope you like this article, and you make the best out of this.

Author avatar
Tim Michaels
I am into WordPress and web development for the last 10 years. I use my experience to help people just starting with WordPress. Follow my blog at WP Uber for everything related to WordPress.
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