In this post, I present the Simple History plugin, which you can use to log and monitor user activities and WordPress events. The plugin creates logs with all important changes in your WordPress installation.
The plugin is particularly useful for WordPress websites with multiple users with access to the backend. In the editorial context, it is easy to see who and when content was created and edited.
For admins, detailed logs are useful for troubleshooting. If a shot-up layout or performance problems arise, the history of Simple History provides information on whether plugins have been installed or updated.
The plugin is available for free in the WordPress plugin directory and has an impressive 5-star rating with a good 200 reviews and 50,000+ active installations.
The detailed description on the plugin page and the translation into many languages, including a full German translation, are very nice.
The display of the log and the number of entries can be configured in the options of the plugin under Settings → Simple History .
In addition, all events can be exported as JSON or CSV in order to evaluate them elsewhere or to prepare them as statistics.
If desired, the activities can also be output as an RSS feed and thus subscribed to. But since it is sometimes sensitive information, I advise against it.
Show WordPress logs
The history of the last events is displayed directly in the dashboard as a widget. This gives you a first overview of the activities of other WordPress users or upcoming updates immediately after logging in.
Visible events are based on the user role of the user. For example, editors can only view changes to articles and pages, but not the activation and deactivation of plugins. These are only displayed for admins.
For a clearer display of the logs, however, the menu item Dashboard → Simple History is recommended.
The screenshot shows that the plugin really records a lot of details. Every small change is saved, which can result in dozens of entries very quickly with the creation of a single post.
This means that every little thing can be traced later.
Despite the many entries, the plugin works very well.
Simple History uses existing WordPress hooks such as save_post to save the events. However, there is no noticeable slowing down of the page. The numerous plugin reviews also show that the plugin works very reliably and quickly.
I activated the plugin for testing last month. Over 30,000 events were logged in 28 days. In the case of larger installations, you should initially keep an eye on the size of the database, as it can grow quickly.
Simple History automatically deletes entries after 60 days in order to prevent the accumulating data from becoming excessive. In the plugin settings (see above) all logs can also be cleared with one click.
With the large number of recorded activities, the overview must of course not be lost. Here the plugin offers detailed search options to limit the logs to certain events.
Events can be filtered for a period of time, type of message (content, plug-in, options), protocol level (information, warning, error), users and the words they contain.
Show rearranged and deleted widgets from the last 30 days?
The plugin supports a wide range of activities and events, which are recorded and stored in the Simple History Log.
Amongst other things:
- Create and edit posts, pages, categories and keywords
- Uploading and deleting media files
- Edit and share comments
- Installation and update of plugins
- Adding and changing widgets
- Log in and log out of users
- Changes to WordPress core settings
A full list can be found in the plugin description on WordPress.org
In addition, Simple History supports a number of other plugins and documents their events, such as User Switching, Enable Media Replace, Limit Login Attempts, Redirection or Duplicate Post.
With a little code and the SimpleLogger () function, theme and plugin developers can have Simple History log their own activities for their plugin at any time.
Simple History is a simple and useful plugin to record all activities of your WordPress installation and thus make them traceable and monitorable.
Before using the plugin, we recommend that you obtain the consent of all editors and admins. I am not a data protection expert and cannot legally provide any information here, but I would advise against monitoring user activities without consent.