WordPress For Non-Techies: Free WordPress Tutorials – WPCompendium.org

How To Use WordPress Autosave And Post Revisions

Have you ever found yourself in this situation? After investing much effort editing an article, something unexpected happens and you suddenly find that you have lost all of your hard work because you didn’t save it?

If this happens and your website is built using WordPress, then worry not! WordPress comes with an autosave and content recovery management function that:

In this step-by-step tutorial, we will show you how to use the built-in autosave and revision feature of WordPress to easily recover your posts and pages.

How To Use WP Autosave And Recovery: Step-By-Step Tutorial

Typically, after updating a post or page, you will see a confirmation message like the one below …

(Post updated notice)

Things can and do go wrong, however. For example:

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

(WordPress Post Save Error Message)

If you get the message Are you sure you want to do this? Please try again and click on the ‘Please try again’ link, you will normally return to a screen displaying a previous version of your post, minus any recent changes.

This is where the built-in autosave function of WordPress can be really handy.

WordPress Autosave

Autosaves are automatically enabled for all WordPress pages and posts and stored in the site’s database as a special kind of revision so they won’t overwrite the current post you are working on.

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

Always make a backup of your website before making any changes to your website.

If you don’t feel comfortable working with files inside your server, feel free to get in touch for help.

If you have been working on your post for a while and something happens (e.g. your internet connection goes down temporarily), a There is an autosave of this post …’ notice like this may come up when you return to editing your post …

(Autosave notice)

Click on ‘View the autosave’ …

(Autosave notification)

The Revisions feature comes up, allowing you to restore an autosaved version of your article …

(Compare Revisions interface)

Click the ‘Restore This Autosave’ button …

(WordPress offers one-click post/page recovery)

The content you were previously editing will be restored using autosave …

(Post content restored from Autosave)

Autosave – Additional Information

Content Recovery – Session Expired

Sometimes, you will get a ‘Session expired’ message …

(WordPress – session expired)

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)

WordPress also warns you if the backup of the post you are currently looking at is different from the version showing in the content editor and gives you the opportunity to restore your saved backup.

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

Click on ‘Restore the backup’ …

(Edit Post – Restore backup of post saved in browser)

The post will be restored successfully from the browser backup …

(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)

Another improvement made after WP 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 version 2.6. Whenever WordPress saves a post or a page, it automatically creates a revision and stores it in the WP database.

Significant enhancements were made to the post revision control function interface after WP v. 3.6.

The new WordPress revision system also added new settings in the Publish box called Revisions, which allows you to see at a glance how many revisions you have made. Click ’Browse’ to easily bring up the ‘Revisions’ work screen …

(WordPress automatically records all changes made)

The Revisions panel comes up …

(Revisions section)

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

How To Compare Revisions – Revision Slider

A Revision Slider allows you to move through your saved revisions. The more revisions you have saved, the more segmented your slider will be …

(The more revisions you have saved, the longer your slider will be)

When you make changes to content and update your post or page, your revisions show up in the slider marked in black, with the save interval, time, and date of the post/page revision …


When WordPress automatically saves your post or page, your revisions display in the slider highlighted in red, with the save interval, time, and date of the post/page revision …

(Autosave marker)

Comparing Revisions – Options

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

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

There are also buttons to assist with navigation.

Click ‘Previous’ to compare past revisions …

(Click ‘Previous’ to view older revisions)

Click ‘Next’ to review newer revisions …

(Compare Revisions – ‘Next’ button)

As well as comparing sequential page/post revisions, WordPress lets you select and compare any two revisions side by side by ticking the ‘Compare any two revisions’ option …

(’Compare any two revisions’ option)

This lets you adjust two buttons independently to compare any two versions …

(Compare 2 different post revisions independently)

When you find the saved version you would like to restore, click Restore This Revision

(Click to restore selected revision)

To return to the post or page you’re working on, click the title link of your post/page …

(Click on the title of your post to return)

You can also exit without making any changes by clicking the ‘Return to editor’ link …

(Click to return to content editor)

WordPress Post Revisions – Plugins And Additional Info

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 usually require making edits to server files. If you feel uncomfortable about working with code, then contact your web host or get professional assistance.

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

Post Editor Screen – View The Revisions List

As soon as you create, edit, and save posts and pages, WordPress begins to store new post revisions in its database. These are displayed in a Revisions box at the bottom of the post editor …

(Post Editor section – View the post revisions list)

If you can’t see the Revisions list, click the Screen Options  tab in the top right-hand corner of the screen …

(Screen Options tab)

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

(Post Editor: Screen Options tab – Revisions)

You should now see the Revisions list displayed under your content. Click any link to bring up the Revisions screen …

(Revisions Box)

Managing Revisions – WordPress Plugins

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

(Your WordPress database could be storing lots of unnecessary data)

For example, if there are 100 posts published on your site with an average of 10 revisions each your database could be storing up to 2,000 copies of unnecessary data. If your post is approximately 100KB data, then with 2,000 revisions, the total space wasted is about 200MB.

The good news is that there are several plugins available to help you control and 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 recover older page/post revisions.


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