It can be challenging to manually stay on top of WordPress security when you run a large website. However, your WordPress log files can provide valuable information on changes made to your site. Therefore, it’s in your best interests to track your WordPress activity log and look for suspicious activities.
In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of monitoring your WordPress activity logs. Then, we’ll review some plugins that can help you streamline the process. Let’s get started!
What and Why You Should Track Using WordPress Activity Logs
WordPress activity logs are records that show all changes made on your website. These logs can be helpful if you have many people working on your site. This is especially important if those users have administrator permission levels:
Essentially, WordPress activity logs can be handy if you suspect suspicious activity. You’ll be able to see who has made certain changes. Furthermore, these logs can identify hacking attempts.
Types of WordPress Activity Logs
There are different actions you can track in your activity logs, including:
- Content changes. Tracking these logs enables you to stay on top of content quality control, schedule posts, and make sure that permalinks are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) friendly.
- New and removed users. If you run a membership site, tracking new users will let you keep an eye on your community. Plus, users that have been added or removed unexpectedly could indicate a cyberattack.
- Plugin and theme changes. If these changes were made by other users, it could signify a hack. Alternatively, you might consider reducing someone’s permission levels (below administrator).
- Changes to user profiles and permissions. Someone being given higher privileges or multiple password changes can signify security problems on your site.
- Failed login attempts. These can signify brute force attacks. Therefore, tracking the logs will enable you to block malicious IP addresses or strengthen your WordPress login page before it’s too late.
- Changes to WordPress core and its settings. These adjustments can affect your site’s functionality. Therefore, you might want to monitor changes made to your permalinks, homepage and comment settings, and other important areas on your site.
- Technical issues. Monitoring database issues, PHP problems, and other WordPress errors can help you troubleshoot them before they interfere with your website’s performance.
It might sound overwhelming to keep track of all these changes. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it manually. A WordPress activity log plugin can handle the heavy lifting for you.
5 Best WordPress Activity Log Plugins
Here are five of the best WordPress activity log plugins to help you identify and monitor suspicious activity on your website.
1. WP Activity Log
WP Activity Log is one of the best WordPress activity log plugins, that also serves as an excellent security plugin. It shines with the level of detail it provides in your WordPress dashboard. For example, you can see post and page changes, user notifications, and updates to your core files from a single report center.
Furthermore, WP Activity Log is very precise. It logs the user name and role, IP address, and exact second for each event. Plus, if you upgrade to the Pro version, you can sign up for email and SMS alerts.
Key Features for WP Activity Log:
- Track content, user, plugin, theme, core, and multisite changes.
- View changes to your WordPress database or site files.
- Access logs with IP addresses, precise incident times, users, and objects.
WP Activity Log is for you if…
- You’re looking for an all-encompassing activity log plugin.
- You like precise data.
WP Activity Log Pricing: Free. Upgrading to a Premium plan will cost at least $99 per year. The premium version includes email notifications, search filters, and more. | Learn More About WP Activity Log.
Sucuri is a WordPress security solution that includes malware scanning, security auditing, and activity log monitoring. For instance, Sucuri can track plugin and theme changes to identify malicious scripts. Also, the plugin monitors user sessions and logs specific actions in detailed reports.
Sucuri is one of the only activity log plugins that will send you email notifications with the free version. You’ll receive instant alerts, enabling you to act against suspicious activity immediately. Plus, you can export your logs to study them further.
Key Features for Sucuri:
- Receive instant email communications for plugin, theme, core software, and user changes.
- Log user sessions and content updates.
- Export activity logs into detailed reports.
Sucuri is for you if…
- You’re looking for a comprehensive security solution with activity log tracking included.
- You’d like to receive immediate email notifications of security threats.
3. Activity Log
Activity Log is a simple but effective activity log plugin. It can track changes to your core WordPress software, plugins, themes, posts, and pages. Additionally, Activity Log can monitor media files, comments, and widgets. Then, you can view all the data from your WordPress dashboard or export it.
Unlike some other monitoring plugins, Activity Log is optimized for WooCommerce stores. It can log changes to your online shop’s settings. Therefore, it can help you stay on top of your e-commerce security.
Key Features for Activity Log:
- Export your activity logs into CSV format or add support for custom data formats.
- Track changes to content, core settings, users, menus, plugins, and themes.
- Monitor changes to your WooCommerce store.
Activity Log is for you if…
- You’d like to download and analyze your activity logs.
- You run an online store.
Activity Log Pricing: Free | Learn More About Activity Log.
4. Simple History
If you’re looking for a user-friendly WordPress activity log plugin, you might consider using Simple History. Like many other tools on this list, Simple History logs important changes to your site, including failed login attempts, content updates, and reconfigurations of key WordPress settings.
Furthermore, Simple History is an excellent option for GDPR compliance. The plugin identifies data removal requests and logs when they’ve been completed. Moreover, it has native compatibility with various plugins, including Jetpack.
Key Features for Simple History:
- Track content, user, attachment, login, theme, and plugin activities.
- View your activity log via an RSS feed.
- Manage and monitor GDPR data erasure requests and fulfilments.
Simple History is for you if…
- You’re worried about user privacy.
- You’d like to view a complete audit log of your WordPress site.
Simple History Pricing: Free. | Learn More About Simple History.
5. Error Log Monitor
Finally, if you’d like to keep track of technical problems on your site, Error Log Monitor is a simple but effective plugin. It creates a summary page with messages from your PHP error log. Furthermore, you can opt into email notifications.
Additionally, Error Log Monitor can identify the exact location of PHP errors. Therefore, it can help you save time on troubleshooting. Plus, you can choose how many errors you’d like to log and clear the file as needed.
Key Features for Error Log Monitor:
- Instantly identify PHP errors and their locations.
- Set up email communications.
- Handle small and large log files alike.
Error Log Monitor is for you if…
- You’re worried about your WordPress website’s performance.
- You’d like email notifications with your activity log.
Error Log Monitor Pricing: Free. Additionally, upgrading to Error Log Monitor Pro costs $19 per year or $59 for an annual license. This plan includes summary reports, stack traces, and contextual information. | Learn More About Error Log Monitor.
Final Thoughts on WordPress Activity Log Plugins
An activity log and monitoring plugin can identify changes across your WordPress website. Therefore, it can help you keep track of content updates, user actions, and hacks. Using one of these plugins can be essential for protecting your site against security threats.
Overall, if you’re looking for an effective WordPress activity log plugin, we recommend WP Activity Log. The tool collects precise data on various incidents across your website. Alternatively, Sucuri can be a great option if you’re looking for a complete security solution with in-built activity logging.
Do you have any questions about WordPress activity log plugins? Let us know in the comments section below!
Featured image via Vektor illustration / shutterstock.com