If you have a WordPress website, you might want to be able to track the activity that happens on it. By tracing every single modification on your site (and who completes it), you’ll be better equipped to resolve any problems that may arise.
Fortunately, you can use a WordPress plugin to track user activity on your site. There are many tools available that enable you to monitor changes made to your content.
In this post, we’ll discuss why tracking user activity is important and what kinds of actions to prioritize. Then, we’ll explain how to track and log user activity in WordPress, and list six plugins that get the job done.
Why track user activity and changes in WordPress?
The ability to track user activity is important to maintaining a secure and efficient website. It helps improve transparency and streamlines any troubleshooting you may find necessary.
Additionally, it enables you to monitor suspicious activities, like failed login attempts from the same IP address. The activity log will tell you if someone’s trying to log in from an unusual location so that you can stop a WordPress security breach before it’s too late.
But it can also be useful when it comes to keeping track of your team’s activity. You can easily see if a team member is doing their job, as well as identify suspicious behavior. Let’s say a post disappears from your website. You can look back at the list of changes in the activity log, and see exactly who deleted it and when.
And with Jetpack Backup, you can use the Jetpack activity log to identify a specific point in time to which you want to restore a backup — like right before a post was deleted or a plugin update caused an issue.
What kind of user activity should you track?
There are different kinds of activities that you can track on your WordPress site. For security purposes, you might want to monitor plugin additions and changes. If users add or deactivate plugins without your consent, it could put your site at risk.
If you run a blog, you might want to track any changes made to your posts. For instance, you can see when a contributor creates and publishes a new article. You’ll also be able to see who changed the status and content of your posts.
Additionally, you might want to oversee any changes made to your site’s settings. Some people might modify your permalink structures or site title. They might also add new users to your site. These modifications could be fine, or they could signal potential malicious activity. So you’ll want to make sure these actions are only taken by authorized individuals.
Lastly, you may want to monitor your comments. If anyone modifies or deletes a comment without permission, it can cause serious headaches.
How to track and log user activity in WordPress
By default, WordPress doesn’t enable you to track user activity. Fortunately, Jetpack lets you easily set this up. The plugin’s Activity Log keeps a record of all activities on your site, including plugin and theme updates, user logins, and settings modifications.
Once you install the plugin, you can simply navigate to Jetpack → Activity Log in your WordPress dashboard to start monitoring your changes.
Here, you can see the most recent activities on your site. If you have a premium Jetpack plan, you can filter events by date range and activity type.
Six best plugins for tracking user activity in WordPress
Now that you know why it’s important to track activities on your website, let’s take a look at some tools that can help you do this. We’ve rounded up six WordPress user tracking plugins that will help you monitor changes on your site.
Jetpack is a multipurpose plugin that can help you run a safer, faster, and more successful site. One of the features it includes is a WordPress activity log. There’s a free version available, but Jetpack also offers paid plans that not only boost the features of the activity log, but include essentials like real-time backups, one-click restores, malware scanning, and more.
Jetpack logs many types of events, including login attempts, and published or updated posts and pages. You can also monitor plugin installations and updates.
Key features of the Jetpack activity log:
- A full list of events that occur on your site, including login attempts, published and edited pages/posts, comments, settings modifications, updated or deleted plugins/themes, and more.
- Access to the 20 most recent events or up to a full year of activity, depending on your plan
- Information about each action, like the time it occurred, the user that performed it, and specific details
- Easy integration with paid tools for one-click restores, real-time backups, malware scanning, etc.
- Filters that enable you to view activities based on activity type and time range (for premium plans)
Pros of the Jetpack activity log:
- It’s easy to set up, going to work on your site immediately after installation.
- It’s made by the team behind WordPress.com, so it works seamlessly with the CMS.
- It’s compatible with WooCommerce, so you can view activity around sales, product changes, etc.
- You can view your activity log even if your site is completely down.
- It integrates with Jetpack Backup, enabling you to restore your site to a specific point in time based on when an action took place.
Cons of the Jetpack activity log:
- The free plan doesn’t include personalized support.
Ease of use:
Jetpack is beginner-friendly and easy to set up. There are also plenty of resources to help you get started.
- The majority of features are available for free.
- The Backup plan starts at $4.95 per month and includes real-time backups, priority support, a 30-day archive of all activities, and filters.
- The Security plan costs $10.95 per month and adds real-time malware scanning, anti-spam tools, and other helpful features.
- The Complete plan costs $39.95 per month, includes a one-year archive of activities, and adds tools like super fast search functionality and a premium Jetpack CRM plan.
Each plan comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with the plugin’s performance, you can get a full refund.
2. Activity Log
Activity Log is a solid tool that has basic features to help you track the most important changes on your WordPress site. This plugin lets you see any new modifications right away, so you can act quickly. The setup process is simple, so you won’t need to spend lots of time figuring out how it works.
Key features of Activity Log:
- Around-the-clock user activity tracking for single or multisite websites
- The ability to spot suspicious behavior immediately to prevent hacking
- Real-time monitoring and email notifications when dangerous activity occurs
Pros of Activity Log:
- It lets you look for specific information using a text search feature and a variety of filters.
Cons of Activity Log:
- It doesn’t provide many details on activities.
- It doesn’t offer many configuration options for the activity log.
Ease of use:
Activity Log is very easy to use. The interface is intuitive, and there’s a search feature that helps you find the data you’re looking for more easily.
Activity Log is free to download and use.
This plugin tracks a wide range of activities, including category changes, media uploads, user exports, and menu edits. The premium version lets you select which activities to track and export your log. You’ll also get customizable email notifications.
Key features of User Activity Log:
- A detailed activity log, including an old/new comparison
- Password security
- Ability to add custom events for generating activity logs
- Ability to export CSV file of log details
Pros of User Activity Log:
- It tracks many different kinds of user activities on your website.
- The premium version is very customizable.
Cons of User Activity Log:
- The functionality of the free version is pretty limited.
Ease of use:
User Activity Log is relatively simple. You’ll need to configure some preferences, but it isn’t too complicated to set up.
- The Lite version includes basic activity log functionality.
- The Pro version includes additional features like password security, custom logs, and sorting options, and more for $99.
Stream helps you keep track of all user activity on your site. It displays actions performed by contributors to help trace the source of any issue that may arise. This plugin also supports WordPress multisite networks and provides email alerts.
Key features of Stream:
- Built-in tracking for popular plugins like Gravity Forms, WooCommerce, and Yoast SEO
- Multisite view of all activity records on a network
- Live updates of user activity records
- The ability to export your Activity Stream as a CSV or JSON file
Pros of Stream:
- This tool enables you to filter your activity log by user, action, and role.
- It gives you the option to exclude specific types of activity or users.
Cons of Stream:
- Stream limits your options for customizing email alerts, which can lead to unnecessary messages.
- It doesn’t offer many details in the activity log, so you may have to do some digging to find out more information.
Ease of use:
Stream is a straightforward plugin to use — all you need to do is upload it to your WordPress site.
Stream is free to use and download.
If you run a blog or a smaller site with less activity, Simple History may be a good choice for you. It keeps track of the most important modifications on your site, including plugin activation, content edits, and changes to user profiles.
Key features of Simple History:
- See who added, updated, or deleted attachments, taxonomies, posts, and pages
- Monitor privacy data exports and failed login attempts
- View details about changes made to your site settings, including permalink structures
Pros of Simple History:
- It’s easy to use and you don’t need to sort through a lot of data to find what you’re looking for.
- It lets you track changes on your dashboard or by exporting the data to a CSV file.
Cons of Simple History:
- This plugin doesn’t provide many details and only tracks basic changes, so you may miss some important activities.
- It doesn’t offer much when it comes to log management features and search filters.
Ease of use:
This tool lives up to its name and is easy to use. You can sort through the logs without hassle — they’re displayed on your dashboard’s home page and provide a quick update on any changes that were made since your last login.
Simple History is free to install and use.
WP Activity Log is a comprehensive plugin that offers a robust set of features for WordPress, including multisites. It enables you to turn events on and off, and offers granular details about the time, user, and component that was altered.
Key features of WP Activity Log:
- Instant SMS and email alerts for suspicious activity
- The ability to manage user sessions in real-time
- The capacity to search and find specific activity within seconds
- The ability to generate any type of WordPress report from the activity log
Pros of WP Activity Log:
- It’s compatible with other well-known plugins like WooCommerce and Yoast SEO.
- It tracks a broad range of activities in WordPress and offers more specific details about each change.
- It includes plenty of support through its knowledge base, forums, and email.
Cons of WP Activity Log:
- This plugin requires the premium version to get access to its advanced features. This includes fully configurable instant notifications and integration settings.
Ease of use:
The interface can be a bit complicated to use, but the plugin is quite customizable.
- There is a free version of WP Activity Log.
- The Starter plan costs $99 per year and includes email notifications, text-based search, and search filters.
- The Professional plan costs $139 and offers SMS notifications, WordPress reports, and the ability to see logged-in user sessions in real-time.
- The Business plan starts at $149 a year and includes the ability to save the activity log in external databases, and other advanced features.
- The Enterprise plan starts at $199 per year and comes with priority support.
Comparison of the best plugins for tracking user activity
|Jetpack||Activity Log||User Activity Log||Stream||Simple History||WP Activity Log|
|Core WordPress actions||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Price||Free – $39.95 per year||Free||$99||Free||Free||Free – $199 per year|
Frequently asked questions about WordPress activity logs
There are plenty of powerful tools that you can use to track user activity in WordPress, but you might still have some concerns or queries about the process. Let’s address some of the most common questions about monitoring changes on your site.
Can tracking user activity slow down my WordPress website?
If you choose a plugin like Jetpack, you won’t need to worry about slow loading times. It’s also important that you only use one activity tracking plugin at a time. Otherwise, you might experience compatibility issues that affect your site’s performance. Additionally, having too many plugins on your site can slow it down.
How much does user activity tracking cost on WordPress?
The amount you’ll pay for tracking user activity will depend on the tool you choose. There are many free plugins available as well as paid options, and they all offer different features.
A more robust plugin will provide you with more security and granular control. Jetpack is one of the best options on the market. It’s free to install and you can use it for detailed tracking of recent events. If you’re ever looking for more features, you can upgrade to a premium Jetpack plan.
What else can I monitor and track to further secure my WordPress site?
There are many actions you can monitor and track on your WordPress site. For example, activity logs provide you with a record of changes made to plugins. This way, you can stay up to date with any modifications made on your site.
Another crucial element to monitor is your password. This is the gateway to your website and should be prioritized when it comes to protecting your data. There are ways to optimize your site’s security, like changing or resetting your password on a regular basis.
Your WordPress login page is another essential feature to keep safe. This page is vulnerable to hackers, so it’s important to monitor any suspicious activity like failed login attempts from the same IP address.
Ensuring the safety of your WordPress site
Having a secure WordPress website can be a challenge if you have a lot of hands on deck. Using an activity log plugin is one of the most effective ways to track changes in WordPress. The process is simple, and you’ll be able to access this data if needed.
You can use a plugin like Jetpack to track user activity on your WordPress site. The Activity Log feature helps you monitor and store events like login attempts. It also enables you to get to the root of any issues that come up on your site.