Tracking the user activity on your WordPress site is very important since it allows you to know what happens in your WordPress site and audit logs. For example, you will know if someone is trying to brute force your password or if one of your contributors edited an old post when you carry out a security audit. This information can’t be accessed out of the box and requires help from a WordPress login plugin. This post highlights the various ways you can monitor user activities inside the WordPress dashboard. Read along for more information.
Benefits of Monitoring WordPress Activities
Don’t get me wrong, monitoring user activity on your WordPress site is not being paranoid but rather a precaution since not everyone is supportive and your competitors may jeopardize your work. There are real and legitimate reasons to monitor user activity, so long as you’re open with your users about tracking activity. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything morally wrong with it.
Some of these legit reasons are:
Improved Security – Monitoring your user activity helps you improve your security log. It helps you to know who tried to access you’re your WordPress admin login URL. For example, if someone repeatedly tried to log in to your site, every failed login attempt can be tracked, forcing you to take extra precautions to better your site security. WP security audit log also allows you to prevent hackers from penetrating your WordPress firewall.
Also, you can check Sucuri: Free Malware Scanner
Better Debugging – By tracking user activity, you will pinpoint exactly which change caused an error. This is done by quickly going back to see which plugin was activated by you or other users, thus allowing you to fix the problem before it does more damage when accessing your WordPress session.
Content Integrity – Tracking user activity ensures no one goes back to edit your work at a later date, if you still allow edit access to published posts, thus upholding the integrity of your work.
Informed support – For those running membership sites or something similar, you can offer better support for your members by tracking user activity to find out what exactly is causing them problems.
Now that you are convinced that tracking your WordPress dashboard login is not such a bad idea, it’s time we look into ways of monitoring your WordPress from the dashboard. You will notice that tracking isn’t as hard as it seems. At the end of this tutorial, I will suggest other plugins that you can you to track your WordPress site.
Monitoring Activity Using Activity Log
The WordPress activity log is a WordPress dashboard plugin that is freely provided and regularly updated by Pojo. It allows you to track several activities in your WordPress admin dashboard. From marking comments as spam, publishing posts to entering an incorrect password. There is nothing that this plugin can’t handle as far as tracking is concerned, including WooCommerce edits and bbPress activities. What makes it even better is that email notification can be set to quickly notify you if something important happens and you can also access WordPress dashboard themes.
How to Use Activity Log
Step 1 – Install and Activate Activity Log
For any plugin to work you first need to install and activate it. Since Activity Log is freely available in the WordPress directory, you can do it directly from your WordPress dashboard.
Step 2 – Configure Activity Log
After activation, you will be provided with a new Activity Log tab in your dashboard sidebar. The Plugin can be configured by selecting Activity Log → Settings. There isn’t much to configure. All you have to configure in the General tab is how many days to store your log for. As much as you may be tempted to store a lot of data this is not advisable as this will lead to increase your database by a great margin. You don’t have to store unlimited logs, although WordPress Activity Log does use a separate database table to improve performance.
For a site with only a few users, you can leave it as default for 30 days. Consider shortening the duration of your site has lots of users. This area also allows you to manually delete your log. Heading over the Notification tab, email notifications can be set up in case of any special event. For example, to get notification incorrect password attempt, you can chain conditions together using AND logic. This means you can require two or more things to happen at the same time in order to trigger an email notification.
Step 3 – View Your Activity Log
If you want to view your user activity log, go to Activity Log → Activity Log and to filter the activity log, you can use the dropdowns at the top to quickly drill down to specific actions. As you can see using this plugin is pretty simple. There are also other plugins available in the market to help you track user activity from your WordPress dashboard. Some of these are:
WP Security Audit Log
WP Security Audit Log plugin is focused more on the security aspect of activity monitoring, as the name suggests. The plugin also supports WordPress Multisite installations. It has almost the same features as Activity Log but the pro-add-ons give you access to features like:
User Session Management – This feature allows you to see who’s logged in to your site and you can remotely terminate a user’s session.
Search – This feature allows you to perform text searches on your activity log.
External databases – You can use this feature to store all data in an external database. This optimizes your WordPress install.
Reports – Gives you more elaborate reports. Price: Free. Add-ons ~$59 each or save in a bundle.
Simple History Another great plugin that you can use to monitor user activity on your WordPress site is Simple History which has a nice clean interface. It has three major differences from the other plugins. These are:
Post-Quick Diff – This unique feature allows you to see specific differences between two versions of a post quickly.
Support for third-party plugins – This plugin also logs activities for some specific plugins like Limit Login Attempts, Redirection, User Switching, and a couple of others.
RSS feed – Simple History also allows you to download an RSS feed of all changes to your site. Price: Free.
Overall, tracking your user activity on your WordPress site is paramount for the growth of your site. Fortunately, WordPress has several plugins that can help you carry out this function. These plugins can easily help you view the activities that are taking place on the back-end of your website. Whether you just want a record of logged-in users by using the Simple Login Log plugin, or you need the full set of audit features found in WP
Security Audit Log, there is an option for you.
If you’re the only one with access to your site, that information won’t be quite as helpful. On the other, if you’re running a site with contributors or members, you can log in user activity and track what happens on your site much more accurately. Activity Log works well for those looking for free solutions, but if you are not working on a budget, the premium add-on bundle of WP Security Audit Log is another good option.
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