Have you ever found yourself in a situation where, after spending a great deal of time editing an article, something crashes and you suddenly find that you have lost all of your hard work because you forgot to save it?
If this ever happens and your website or blog is powered by WordPress, then worry not! WordPress comes with a powerful built-in autosave and revision management system that:
- Helps to prevent losing your work if you forget to save,
- Gets your post or page back if your web browser crashes while you’re working, and,
- Lets you recover an older draft if you’re unhappy with the content in an article.
In this tutorial, we will show you how to use the WordPress autosave and post recovery system to restore content in your posts and pages.
How To Use The Autosave And Post Recovery Function Of WordPress: Step-By-Step Tutorial
Normally, when you save a post or page, a confirmation message like the one shown below will display …
(Post updated notice)
WordPress autosave and post revisions ensure that your content is saved periodically, allowing you to restore older versions of your posts when an unlikely event were to happen, for instance:
- Your modem is disconnected,
- Your browser crashes,
- You experience a power outage,
When this happens and you try to save your work, you may end up seeing a ‘WordPress Failure Notice’ like this instead …
(WordPress Failure Notice)
If you the message Are you sure you want to do this? Please try again pops up on your screen and you click on ‘Please try again’, you will normally go back to a screen displaying an earlier version of your post, minus any changes that you recently made.
This is where the built-in autosave feature can really save you time.
The Autosave Feature Of WordPress
The autosave function is automatically enabled for all WordPress pages and posts, but this does not overwrite any published content.
By default, WordPress autosaves your post in the WordPress database every sixty seconds. This interval can be changed by modifying code in your wp-config.php file.
We recommend making a full backup of your data and files before modifying website files.
If working with code makes you feel uncomfortable, feel free to get in touch. We’ll be glad to help you.
If you have been working on your post for a while and something happens (e.g. your browser crashes), you could see a warning like the one shown below when you return to editing your post or page …
(Edit Post – Autosave notification)
Click on the link to view the autosave …
(View the autosave)
You will be taken to the Compare Revisions screen where an autosaved version of your post can be restored …
WordPress offers one-click restore of autosaved content. Click Restore This Autosave …
(WordPress offers one-click content recovery)
The content you were working on will be recovered using autosave …
(Autosave restores the content of your latest post)
WordPress Autosave – Additional Info
Content Recovery – Session Expired
Sometimes, a ‘Session expired’ message will appear …
If you get logged out, WordPress remembers where you were. Login again and pick up where you left off …
(Session expired notice – log in again to continue working)
WordPress also warns you if the backup of the post you are currently working on is different from the version showing in the editor and gives you the opportunity to restore your autosaved backup version.
(Edit Post – Restore backup of post from browser)
Click on ‘Restore the backup’ …
(’The backup of this post in your browser is different from the version below. Restore the backup.’ notice)
The post will be restored from the browser backup …
(Post recovered successfully!)
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)
Another improvement made after 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 losing internet connection. Source: WordPress 4.6 updates)
WordPress Post Revisions Feature – What Is It?
The Post Revisions feature was introduced to WordPress in v. 2.6. Whenever a post or a page is saved, it automatically creates a revision of that post and stores it in your WP database.
Significant improvements were made to the WordPress content revision control system interface after v. 3.6.
The new revision system also added a new option to the Publish box called Revisions, which automatically calculates how many revisions you have made to your post/page. Click ’Browse’ to easily view the ‘Compare Revisions’ feature panel …
(WordPress keeps a record of all changes you make)
The Revisions section comes up …
(Compare Revisions feature)
Note: This function is available for WordPress Posts and Pages.
A Revision Slider allows you to move through your revisions. The more revisions you have, the longer your slider will be …
(The more revisions, the longer the slider)
When you make changes to content and update posts or pages, your revisions show up in the slider marked in black, along with the save interval, time, and date of the post revision …
When WordPress automatically saves your post or page, your revisions show up in the slider highlighted in red, with the save interval, time, and date of the post revision …
Page/Post Revision Feature – Options
To navigate between post revisions, move the revision slider right (newer) or left (older) …
(Move the button to the left or right of the revision slider)
There are also buttons to assist you when comparing the revisions.
Click ‘Previous’ to browse older post revisions …
(Click ‘Previous’ to view previous revisions)
Click ‘Next’ to compare newer revisions …
(Compare Revisions – ‘Next’ button)
You can also compare two different revisions by checking ‘Compare any two revisions’ …
(’Compare any two revisions’ checkbox)
Adjust the slider buttons to compare any two revisions …
(Compare two different post revisions)
Find the saved version you want restored and click the ‘Restore This Revision’ button …
(‘Restore This Revision’ button)
To exit, click the page/post title …
(Click on the post title link to go back)
You can also return to the content editor without making any changes by clicking the ‘Return to editor’ link …
(Compare Revisions – return to content editor)
WordPress Post Revisions – Plugins
As mentioned earlier, there are some changes you can make to the WordPress revisions function such as changing the autosave interval and disabling the feature altogether, but these typically involve editing WordPress files. If editing files inside your web server worries you, then contact your web host or get professional assistance.
Let’s focus, then, on some additional aspects of WordPress revisions that don’t require editing code.
The Post Revisions List
As soon as you create, edit, and save posts and pages, WordPress begins to store new revisions of your content in its database. These are displayed in a Revisions box at the bottom of your content editor …
(The post revisions list)
If the Revisions list isn’t visible, click on the Screen Options tab near the top right-hand corner of your screen …
(Post Editor – Screen Options tab)
Make sure that the checkbox for ‘Revisions’ in the Boxes section is checked …
(Post Editor: Screen Options tab – Revisions)
You should now see the Revisions box displayed under your content editor. Clicking the links will bring up the Compare Revisions panel …
Managing Revisions – WordPress Plugins
Autosave and post revisions are no doubt functions that help create a more productive workflow. If you write or edit often, however, the revisions can start building up. This can significantly bloat the size of your WordPress database, so it’s important to also be able to manage your revisions.
(Post revisions can really add up after a while)
For example, if there are 250 posts published on your site and each post has an average of 10 revisions your WordPress database could be storing up to 2,500 copies of old data. If your post averages 100KB data, then with 2,500 revisions, the total database space wasted is about 250MB.
Fortunately, there are a few great plugins for WordPress available to help you control your revisions and reduce the size of your 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 revisions of your WordPress posts and pages.