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

How To Use WordPress Autosave And Post Revisions

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where, after investing much effort composing a new article, something goes wrong and you suddenly find that all of your hard work is gone because you didn’t hit the ‘Save’ button as you went along?

If this ever happens, there’s no need to feel alarmed! WordPress comes with an autosave and post revision feature that:

In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to use the built-in autosave and content recovery system of WordPress to automatically recover your pages and posts.

WordPress Autosave And Content Recovery: Tutorial

Normally, after updating a post or page, you will see a notice like this …

(Edit Post – Post updated notification)

WordPress autosave and post revisions ensure that your content is regularly saved, so you can undo changes to your drafts and revert back to older revisions of your posts when unexpected events happen, such as:

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

(WordPress Post Save Error Notice)

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

This is where WordPress ‘autosave’ can help to avert disaster.


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

By default, posts are saved to your database every 60 seconds. This time interval can be changed by modifying code in your wp-config.php file.

We recommend performing a complete backup of your data and files before making any changes to your website or blog.

If you are concerned about working with code, then get in touch. We’ll be glad to help you.

If you have been working for a while and something happens (e.g. your browser crashes), a There is an autosave of this post that is more recent than the version below’ notification like the one shown below may come up when you get back to your post or page …

(Edit Post – Autosave notice)

Click on the link to view the autosave …

(View the autosave)

The Revisions section comes up, allowing you to recover a previously saved version of your post …

(Compare Revisions page)

WordPress offers one-click post recovery. Click Restore This Autosave

(WordPress offers one-click restore of autosaved content)

The content you were previously working on will be recovered from autosave …

(Post content recovered from Autosave)

WordPress Autosave – Additional Information

Content Recovery – Session Expired

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

(Session expired notice)

If your login session expires, WordPress remembers where you were, so when you log in again, you can continue working from 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 working on is different from the version displayed in the editor and gives you the opportunity to restore the autosaved backup version.

(Edit Post – Restore backup)

Click Restore the backup

(Browser backup)

The content will be recovered from your 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 …

(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 …

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

Revision Control Feature

Post Revisions are a feature that was introduced in WordPress 2.6. Whenever a page or post is saved, a revision is automatically created and stored in the WP database.

Significant enhancements were made to the WordPress post revision management feature interface after WordPress 3.6.

The new revision system now includes a new option to the Post/Page Publish box called Revisions. This lets you immediately know how many revisions you have made to your page/post. Click the ‘Browse’ link to bring up the ‘Revisions’ panel …

(Publish – Revisions)

The Compare Revisions section comes up …

(Revisions section)

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

Comparing Revisions

A Revision Slider allows you to move through different revisions. The more revisions you have saved, the more revision segments will appear in the slider …

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

Revisions created by making changes to content and updating posts or pages display in the slider highlighted in black, along with the save interval, time, and date of the revision …

(Revision slider)

When WordPress automatically saves pages or posts, your revisions show up in the revision slider highlighted in red, with the save interval, time, and date of the revision …

(Autosave revision slider)

How To Compare Revisions – How to Use The Revision Slider

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

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

There are also buttons to help you compare the revisions.

Click ‘Previous’ to go back through past revisions …

(Compare Revisions – ‘Previous’ button)

Click ‘Next’ to inspect newer revisions …

(Compare Revisions – ‘Next’ button)

You can also select and compare revisions by enabling the ‘Compare any two revisions’ option …

(Compare any two revisions)

You can adjust the buttons to compare any two saved revisions …

(Compare different post revisions)

When you find the revision you want to restore, click the ‘Restore This Revision’ button …

(Click to restore selected revision)

To cancel the operation and exit without restoring a revision, click on the title of your page or post …

(Click on the title link to exit)

You can also go back to the post editor by clicking the ‘Return to editor’ link …

(Click to return to content editor)

WordPress Post Revisions – Additional Information

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 generally require 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 post revisions that don’t require messing around with code.

Post Editor Screen – Viewing The WordPress Revisions Box

As soon as you create, edit, and save a post or page, WordPress begins to store new revisions for the content in its database. These show up in a Revisions list at the bottom of the page or post …

(Post Editor screen – The post revisions box)

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

(Post Editor – Screen Options tab)

Select the check box for ‘Revisions’ in the Boxes section …

(Post Editor: Screen Options tab – Revisions)

You will now see the Revisions box under your content. Click any link to bring up the Revisions panel with related data for that selected item …

(Revisions Box)

Managing Revisions Using Plugins

Having autosave and automatic revisions is no doubt a great thing. If you write and edit often, however, the number of revisions can start building up. This can significantly grow 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 you have 300 posts on your site with an average of 10 revisions each your WordPress database could be storing up to 6,000 copies of unnecessary data. If your post averages 100KB data, then with 6,000 revisions of that post, the total space wasted is about 600MB.

The good news is that there are some great free plugins for WordPress available to help you control 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 earlier saved post and page revisions.


"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


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