How To Use WordPress Autosave And Post Revisions

Learn how to use the WordPress autosave and post revisions feature to restore and recover content revisions in your posts and pages …

The WordPress Revisions & Autosave Feature

Have you ever been in this situation? After spending much time editing an article, something happens and you suddenly find that all of your hard work is lost because you forgot to hit the ‘Save’ button as you went along?

If this happens, don’t despair! WordPress has a built-in autosave and revision management system that:

  • Automatically saves earlier versions of your posts,
  • Gets your post or page back if your browser crashes while you’re working, and,
  • Lets you recover an earlier draft if you’ve changed the content in an article.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to use the built-in WordPress autosave and content recovery function to automatically recover your posts and pages while working on your content.

Revisions And Autosave Function Of WordPress: Tutorial

Usually, after updating a post or page, a confirmation notice like the one shown below will display …

Post updated successfully!

(Edit Post – Post updated notification)

Sometimes, however, things can go wrong. For example:

  • Your modem gets temporarily disconnected,
  • Your internet browser crashes,
  • You’re struck by a power outage,
  • etc.

When you try to save your work, a ‘WordPress Failure Notice’ message like this may end up being displayed on your screen instead …

Failure Notice - WordPress

(WordPress Failure Notice)

When you the message Are you sure you want to do this? Please try again displays on your screen and you click on ‘Please try again’, you will normally return to a screen displaying an earlier version of your post, minus any changes that you recently made.

This is where WordPress ‘autosave’ can be useful.


In WordPress, autosaves are automatically enabled for all posts and pages, but this does not overwrite your published content.

By default, WordPress saves the current version of your post in your database every 60 seconds. This interval can be changed by adding code to your wp-config.php file.


We recommend performing a full backup of your site files and database before updating important website files.

If you feel nervous about editing files inside your web server, then get in touch. We’ll be glad to assist you.

If you have been working on your edits for a while and something happens (e.g. your wi-fi connection temporarily drops), a There is an autosave of this post …’ notice like the one shown below may come up when you get back to editing your post …

Edit Post - Autosave notification

(Autosave notice)

Click on the link (‘View the autosave’) …

Autosave notice

(’View the autosave’)

You will be taken to a revision page where an autosaved version of your post can be recovered …

Revisions feature

(Compare Revisions feature)

Click the ‘Restore This Autosave’ button …

WordPress offers one-click post/page recovery of autosaved content

(WordPress offers one-click recovery of autosaved content)

Autosave recovers the content you were working on …

Autosave restores your latest post revision

(Autosave restores your latest post revision)

Autosave – Additional Notes

Content Recovery – Session Expired

Sometimes, your login session will simply expire while you are working on content …

Session expired notice

(Session expired notice)

If you get logged out, WordPress remembers where you were, so if you login again, you can pick up where you left off …

Session expired notice - log in again to continue working

(Session expired notice – log in again to continue working)

WordPress also warns you if the backup of the post you are looking at is not the same as the version displayed in the content editor and gives you the opportunity to restore the saved backup.

Restore backup

(’The backup of this post in your browser is different from the version below.’ warning)

Click Restore the backup

Browser backup

(Edit Post – Restore post backup)

WordPress recovers the post from the browser backup …

Your post has been restored!

(Your post has been successfully restored!)

Content Recovery – Loss Of Internet Connection

WordPress can also help you recover content if you lose your internet connection …

WordPress can help you recover content if you lose your internet connection

(WordPress can help you recover content if you lose your internet connection)

Another improvement made after WordPress 4.6 is content recovery from loss of connection. If you lose your internet connection while writing, your drafts are saved locally to your browser. When you return to edit, WordPress notifies you if there is a more recent draft, allowing you to restore the most recent version of your content …

Content recovery after losing internet connection

(Content recovery after loss of internet connection. Source: WordPress 4.6 updates)

Revision Management

The Post Revisions feature was introduced in WordPress version 2.6. Whenever a post or a page is saved, it automatically creates a revision and stores it in the WP database.

Significant improvements were made to the WordPress revision control feature after WordPress 3.6.

The new WordPress revision system also added a new option to the Publish box called Revisions. This automatically calculates how many revisions you have made. and allows you to quickly access the ‘Revisions’ page by clicking the ‘Browse’ link …

WordPress automatically tracks all post changes

(WordPress tracks all changes you make)

The Revisions panel loads in your browser …

Revisions section

(Compare Revisions interface)

Practical Tip

Note: This function is the same for both Posts and Pages.

Comparing Revisions – Revision Slider

A Revision Slider allows you to move through your revisions. The more revisions you have saved, the more revision markers you will see displayed in the slider …

The more revisions, the longer the slider

(The more revisions you have saved, the more revision segments will appear in the slider)

When you make changes to content and update posts or pages, your revisions display in the slider highlighted in black, along with the save interval, time, and date of the revision …

Revision marker

(Revision slider)

Revisions saved automatically by WordPress display in the revision slider in red, with the save interval, time, and date of the post/page revision …

Autosave marker

(Autosave revision slider)

Post Revision Control – Options

You can navigate between different post revisions by moving the slider button right or left …

Move the button to the right or left of the revision slider

(Move the revision slider button to the left or right)

There are also buttons to help you navigate between revisions.

Click ‘Previous’ to inspect past revisions …

Compare Revisions - 'Previous' button

(Compare Revisions – ‘Previous’ button)

Click ‘Next’ to browse later revisions …

Click 'Next' to browse later revisions

(Compare Revisions – ‘Next’ button)

In addition to comparing adjacent page/post revisions, the feature lets you select and compare different revisions by enabling the ‘Compare any two revisions’ option …

Compare any two revisions

(Compare any two revisions)

This lets you adjust two sliders to compare any two saved revisions …

Compare 2 revisions independently

(Compare two different post revisions independently)

Choose the revision you want to restore and click Restore This Revision

'Restore This Revision'

(‘Restore This Revision’ button)

To return to the content editor, click the title …

Click the title link to return

(Click on the title of your post to exit)

You can also leave the Revisions page by clicking the ‘Return to editor’ link …

Click to return to content editor

(Compare Revisions – return to post editor)

WordPress Post Revisions Feature – Additional Notes

As mentioned earlier, there are some changes you can make to the WordPress revisions feature such as changing the autosave interval and disabling the feature altogether, but these usually involve making edits to code. If you are concerned about editing code, then contact your web host or get professional assistance.

Let’s focus, then, on some additional aspects of WordPress revisions control that don’t require messing around with code.

WordPress Post Revisions List

As soon as you update your pages/posts, WordPress begins to store new revisions in its database. These show up in a Revisions section below the post or page …

Post Editor section - View the post revisions box

(Revisions box – Post Editor section)

If the Revisions list isn’t visible in the Post editor screen, click on the Screen Options  tab near the top right-hand corner of the screen …

Screen Options tab

(Screen Options tab)

Make sure that the check box next to ‘Revisions’ in the Boxes section is enabled …

Post Editor: Screen Options tab - Revisions

(Screen Options tab – Revisions)

You will now see the Revisions box under your content. Click any of the links to bring up the Compare Revisions feature panel with related content for your selected item …

Post Editor Screen: Revisions Box

(Revisions Box)

Managing Content Revisions – WordPress Plugins

Autosave and post revisions are no doubt features that help create a more effective workflow. If you write often, however, over time the revisions can start to build up. This can significantly increase the size of your WordPress database, so it’s important to manage your revisions.

Your WordPress database could be storing lots of unnecessary data

(Your database could be storing lots of unnecessary data)

For example, if you have 50 posts on your site with an average of 10 revisions each you could be storing around 1,000 copies of unnecessary data. If your post averages 100KB data, then with 1,000 post revisions, the total space wasted is about 100MB.

The good news is that there are various free plugins for WordPress available that can help you manage your revisions and reduce the size of your WordPress database.

To learn more about WordPress plugins that will help you manage your post revisions, go here:

Congratulations, now you know how to use the WordPress Revisions feature to restore earlier versions of your WordPress posts or pages.

Content Revisions & Autosave Feature Of WordPress


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