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How to Use Plugins to Track and Monitor Changes on your WordPress Site

Key Takeaways:

What are the benefits of a user activity log?

So, you are charged with the task of fixing something on your WordPress site, but you are totally in the dark about what changes have been recently made. What do you do? It can be rather difficult to track down who changed what and when they did it – especially on sites with multiple administrators.

That’s where a user log can come in handy. There are many benefits to tracking edits and user activity:

  • User activity logs can assist identify misuse and decreasing the risk of malware infections or data breaches by detecting improper behaviors.
  • You can quickly analyze unusual user behavior.
  • If you have many website users, you can monitor whether each person in a collaborative workplace is completing their job. You can verify that each user is completing what they need to, to the standard that they are expected to, by monitoring the user log.

Furthermore, in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong, the user activity record shows who is directly accountable. This is a great way to identify knowledge gaps and learning opportunities for you team – and yourself!

Which WordPress Plugin should I use to track edits?

Stream is a free resource that provides a log of activities made by logged-in users in the backend. It’s a simple to use, free plugin on WordPress that gives you information on recent logins, menu changes, plugin updates, content created/deleted, widgets activated/deactivated, and theme changes. The list goes on.

This plugin is an excellent solution for those who perform maintenance and troubleshooting for clients, or for businesses collaborating with an agency to improve their website. Not everyone can remember what action they took in the admin to cause changes to the site. The Stream plugin goes a long way to help with troubleshooting. At the very least, it can help you eliminate things like changes to plugins or themes while tracking down the source of a problem.

How to Install Plugin Stream on WordPress

Stream is super easy to install:

  • Go to ‘Plugins,‘ then Click on ‘Add New.
  • Search for ‘Stream,‘ then Click on ‘Install Now.
  • Wait for it to download, unpack, and install.
  • Activate the plugin by Clicking on ‘Activate Plugin.
  • You should now see the Stream plugin on your sidebar in the backend of your site.

You can even decide how long records are retrained since the Stream settings page gives you an option to determine when you want them automatically purged. You can set this depending on the amount of user activity you usually have on the site in question. It also includes an option to reset your stream by deleting all of the activity records in the database.

With Stream’s powerful logging, you’ll have the valuable information you need to responsibly manage your WordPress sites

What exactly does Stream do?

Stream is a plugin that helps you keep track of what happens on your website. It creates a table that fits nicely into the admin design – it even has user avatars and different sorting capabilities.

You can also search for records, and Stream allows you to filter by date, users, context, and actions. It even shows which IP address the event originated from. Sorting by actions allows you to find items such as the following: activated, assigned, attached, edited, uploaded, password reset, and more.

Maintaining your website is a constant effort that often requires developers, creatives, and strategists to contribute directly to website editing. With this free plugin for your WordPress website, you can track who makes changes on your site and when those changes took place.

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With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

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As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

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