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 …

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WP Post Recovery And Autosave

Have you ever been in this situation? After investing much time composing a new article, something goes wrong and you suddenly find that all of your hard work is now gone because you did not remember to save it?

If this happens and you use WordPress, there’s no need to worry! WordPress has a powerful autosave and content recovery management system that:

  • Automatically saves earlier versions of your posts and pages,
  • Gets your page or post back if something happens to your browser or computer while you’re working, and,
  • Lets you recover an earlier version if you’re unhappy with the content of your article and would like to backtrack.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to use the WordPress autosave and post recovery function to easily save, recover, and restore your pages and posts.

WordPress Autosave & Recovery: Step-By-Step Tutorial

Normally, after updating a post or page, you will see a notice like the one shown in the example below …

Edit Post - Post updated message

(Post updated notification)

WordPress post revisions ensure that your content is saved periodically, allowing you to recover older post revisions if an unlikely event were to happen, for example:

  • Your wi-fi is temporarily disconnected,
  • Your browser freezes up,
  • You experience a power outage,
  • etc.

When this happens and you try to save your work, you may end up seeing a message like this instead …

WordPress Failure Notice

(Are you sure you want to do this?)

If you the message “Are you sure you want to do this? Please try again” appears on your screen and you click on ‘Please try again’, you will normally be taken back to a page/post editing screen displaying an earlier version of your post, minus any changes that you recently made.

This is where ’autosave’ can bring you peace of mind.

WordPress Autosave

The autosave function is automatically enabled for all WordPress posts and pages, but this does not overwrite any content that has already been published.

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


Always make a full backup of your data and files before making any modifications to any files in your website or blog.

If you feel nervous about editing code, then get in touch. We’ll be glad to help you.

If you were working on your post for a while and something happens (e.g. your wireless connection is temporarily disconnected), you could see a There is an autosave of this post that is more recent than the version below’ warning like the one shown below when you return to your post …

Autosave notification

(Edit Post – Autosave notification)

Click on the ‘View the autosave’ link …

Click to view the autosave

(Click link to view the autosave)

The Revisions page appears, allowing you to restore an autosaved version of your post …

Revisions interface

(Revisions panel)

WordPress offers one-click recovery of autosaved content. Click the ‘Restore This Autosave’ button …

WordPress offers one-click recovery

(WordPress offers one-click recovery of autosaved content)

Autosave recovers the content …

Autosave restores the content of your latest post revision

(Autosave restores the content of your latest post)

WordPress Autosave – Additional Info

Content Recovery – Session Expired

Sometimes, your login session will simply expire while you are in the middle of your work …

Session expired notice

(WordPress – session expired)

If your login session expires, WordPress remembers where you were. Login again and pick up where you left off …

Session expired notice

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

WordPress also warns you if the backup of the post you are working on is not the same as the version displayed in the content editor and gives you the opportunity to restore your autosaved backup.

'The backup of this post in your browser is different from the version below.' notice

(Restore backup of post from browser)

Click Restore the backup

Edit Post - Restore backup of post saved in browser

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

WordPress recovers and restores your post from the browser backup. Click the ‘Undo’ link to revert to your previous post content …

Post restored successfully!

(Your post has been 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

(Recover content if you lose your internet connection)

Another improvement made after WP v. 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 …

Recover content after loss of internet connection

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

What Are WordPress Post Revisions?

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

WordPress overhauled the post revision control function in version 3.6.

The new revision system also added a new option to the Post/Page Publish box called Revisions. This automatically calculates how many revisions you have made. Click the ‘Browse’ link to quickly bring up the ‘Revisions’ feature panel …

Publish Box - Revisions

(Publish – Revisions)

The Revisions panel comes up …

Compare Revisions section

(Compare Revisions screen)


Note: This function is available on both Pages and Posts.

How To Compare Revisions

A Revision Slider displays at the top of the screen, allowing you to move through your revisions. The more revisions you have saved, the more segmented your slider will be …

The more revisions, the longer the slider

(The more revisions, the longer the slider)

Revisions created by editing content and updating your post or page display in the revision slider marked in black, along with the save interval, time, and date of the post/page revision …

Revision marker

(Revision slider)

When WordPress automatically saves posts or pages, your revisions display in the revision slider marked in red, along with the save interval, time, and date of the post revision …

Autosave revision slider

(Autosave revision)

Page/Post Revision Feature – Navigation

To navigate between revisions, move the slider button left (older) or right (newer) …

Move the button to the right or left of the slider

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

There are also buttons to assist you when comparing revisions.

Click ‘Previous’ to view previous post versions …

Compare Revisions - 'Previous' button

(Compare Revisions – ‘Previous’ button)

Click ‘Next’ to advance through newer versions …

Click 'Next' to browse more recent revisions

(Compare Revisions – ‘Next’ button)

You can also select and compare any two revisions side by side by selecting the ‘Compare any two revisions’ check box …

'Compare any two revisions' option

(’Compare any two revisions’ box)

You can adjust the slider buttons independently to compare any two revisions …

Compare different post revisions independently

(Compare two different revisions)

When you find the saved version you want restored, click Restore This Revision

'Restore This Revision'

(‘Restore This Revision’ button)

To go back to the current saved version of your post/page, click the post or page title link …

Click on the post title link to return

(Click the title of your post to return to the editor)

You can also exit and return to the content editor by clicking on Return to editor

Click to return to content editor

(Revisions – return to editor)

WordPress Post Revisions Management – Additional Notes

As mentioned earlier, there are some changes you can make to the WordPress revisions feature such as changing the autosave interval or disabling the feature altogether, but these usually require making edits to code in core installation files. If you are not confident working with files inside your server, then contact your web host or get professional assistance.

Let’s focus, then, on some additional areas of WordPress revisions control that don’t require editing code.

Post Editor Screen – View The Post Revisions Box

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

Viewing the post revisions box

(Viewing the WordPress revisions box – Post Editor section)

If the Revisions box isn’t visible, click on the Screen Options  tab near the top of the screen …

Screen Options tab

(Screen Options tab)

Make sure that the checkbox for ‘Revisions’ in the Boxes section is ticked …

Post Editor: Screen Options tab - Revisions

(Screen Options tab – Revisions)

You will now see the Revisions box below your content. Click any link to bring up the Compare Revisions feature …

Revisions Box

(Revisions Box)

Managing Revisions – WordPress Plugins

Autosave and revisions are no doubt functions that help make work more efficient. If you write and edit extensively, however, over time the revisions can start building up. This can significantly increase the size of your WordPress database, so it’s important to be able to manage your revisions.

Post revisions can really add up after a while

(Post revisions can really add up after a while)

For example, if you have 200 posts published on your site with an average of 10 revisions each your database could be storing around 2,000 copies of unnecessary data. If your post averages 100KB data, then with 2,000 revisions of that post, the total space wasted is about 200MB.

Fortunately, there are various free WordPress plugins available to 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 older post and page revisions.

The WordPress Post Recovery And Autosave Feature


"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now