What is the one thing that you care about most when it comes to your website?
If you think it’s performance, you’re partly correct. Performance is indeed important for a website. But that’s not the most important one.
Your website’s security should be your top priority. Poor website security not only reduces the user’s trust, but it also impacts website’s SEO and hurts your business in several other ways. In order to ensure that your website stays secure, you’ll definitely want to know every single small thing that happens to your website.
However, as your business grows, it becomes hard to keep track of everything. While it’s possible to take precautions like keeping your software up to date and implementing secure WordPress forms, it’s equally important to monitor activities on your website.
If you’re getting a good amount of traffic every day, it’s practically impossible to track everything manually. That’s when WordPress activity tracking and log plugins come in handy.
WordPress activity plugins give a chronological audit trail of what modifications were made, when and by whom. These plugins are useful for you when you’re not around to overlook everything that happens on your site.
Today’s post is all about that. Here we’ve taken the recent best-performing WordPress activity log and tracking plugins and reviewed them side by side.
What is user activity log in WordPress?
Audit logs, security logs, and activity logs are all different terms for the same thing. They keep track of all the changes made to a website.
WordPress logs all user activity inside the database. This helps the CMS to keep track of all the changes made to a website. You can access the log at any time and view all the changes that happened on your website for a specific time period.
The log file includes unique event IDs, date and time, user role, and details of the activity. It is also possible to see the user’s IP address, event type designation (blog post updated, imaged changed etc.), and details of what changes were made to a page, post, or element.
However, accessing those logs is the most difficult part. While WordPress provides a built-in log tool, it isn’t user-friendly. This is where user activity log plugins come in handy. They provide everything you need to understand whether your website is in a security threat or not.
Importance of a WordPress activity tracking plugin
If you own a membership website and are under relentless attack by hackers, or if your website keeps crashing and you can’t figure out the problem, WordPress activity tracking plugins can be helpful in that case.
For example, with a user activity tracking plugin you’d be able to track user logins, downloads, and many other actions on a WordPress membership site. These plugins are also useful in detecting unusual activities like fake accounts, spam, and even DDoS attacks.
Having an activity tracking plugin is mandatory if others have access to your website. It makes no difference if they’re friends, family, coworkers, freelancers, or people you trust the most. You must know what’s happening on your website. Especially, if you accept public submissions, account profiles, and other alterations by your website visitors.
Troubleshooting and log files
Log files are essential if you’re having issues with WordPress, themes, or plugins. They’re widely used in the IT sector to help people in detecting and fixing errors.
Although WordPress and its many themes and plugins are extremely dependable, errors do occur. If you’re constantly trying to diagnose and resolve issues or bugs, log files can be incredibly helpful. If you have log files, you can easily save hours if not days, of debugging and rolling back.
WordPress log files
WordPress provides a built-in log tracker called Debug Mode. It’s not activated by default, and it’s not very user-friendly. It includes a variety of logs created solely for monitoring WordPress core and can provide you with amazing information about how your installation is performing.
However, it doesn’t track users, plugins, content, media, WooCommerce, and other website activities. That’s the reason why we don’t recommend using this tool and instead suggest these specific plugins.
Why you should keep track of user activity
Keeping a log of user activities is beneficial in so many ways. The following are some of the advantages of using a user Activity Log Plugin:
Better site security
Failed login attempts, system setting changes, system changes, any changes made with your plugins, and user account changes are all visible in the WordPress activity logs.
If your current security solution doesn’t track failed login attempts, this is immensely beneficial. You can block the IP address or take additional steps if you see frequent login attempts. You’ll also be able to track or resolve system settings, plugins changes, or back-end changes quickly.
Users who are aware of the website’s log updates are aware that they will be held responsible and should act accordingly. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Many WordPress activity logs display the user, the time, the modifications that were made, and a unique identifier. All of this leads to the creation of an audit trail that shows who made what change and when.
This is proof that you can use it however you want.
Identifying and Resolving Problems
A change of some kind causes a lot of website difficulties. If a website functioned well one minute ago and didn’t do the next minute, then you can go to logs to figure out what changed, when, and why.
They’re an important aspect of all sorts of troubleshooting and can help you save hours of detective work trying to find out what went wrong.
Keeping track of published posts activity
Updates to content can help you see if your content plan is being followed, if members are meeting deadlines, and if they are fulfilling their KPIs. You can also monitor when the content was last edited to see if it needs to be updated.
Smooth report creation management and customers
If you maintain your client’s website or a company’s, a WordPress activity log will show that you did the job you were assigned to and that you’re fulfilling your commitments.
It’s difficult to quibble with data, and if you keep these logs as part of your reporting, you’ll have proof to back up any assertions you make.
Ensure Regulatory Compliance
Log files can be used as an audit trail to maintain better compliance if you work in a regulated business or deal with information about regulated industries.
It’s a specialized usage for WordPress activity logs, but it can be essential if you work in a regulated workplace.
Quick malware detection
Security log tools assist you in tracking and identifying if any malware has attacked your website or application. It lets you take fast preventative actions to sort things out.
To help detect and eradicate malware, we suggest combining logging with malware removal security plugins.
Increased security of login page
Every user is responsible when you keep track of logins on your website. This log aids in identifying the root cause in the event of a data breach, data loss, or system failure caused by user action.
Best WordPress activity tracking plugins
Now, we have a clear understanding of what WordPress activity logs are and why we should use them on our WordPress site.
Let’s now turn our attention to the plugins!
If you’re looking for a plugin that features logging as its main feature, Sucuri is your perfect match. It’s a paid plugin that lets you remove malware, restore your SEO and blacklist status, and defend against hacking attacks, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attempts, zero-day exploits, and brute-force attacks.
Sucuri is a well-known security plugin that keeps an eye on your website for changes, hacking attempts, login attempts, user sessions, content changes, and pretty much anything else you would require.
Pros of Sucuri
- An all-in-one WordPress security suite
- Provides protection from both external and internal attacks
- DDoS and firewall protection
- Logging of the entire site
- Built-in malware removal tools
Cons of Sucuri
Activity Log is a great user activity plugin that is very easy-to-use, comes free with a neat and clean user interface. With this WordPress logging plugin, you can check what’s happening with your website right from the WordPress dashboard.
This plugin will work just fine for you if you need a plugin that logs core activity. Activity Log keeps track of all user sessions, modifications to posts, pages, comments, custom post types, tags, media, plugins, menus, settings, themes, and many more.
Tracking bbPress or WooCommerce websites is much easier with this plugin as you can keep an eye on your membership site or online store to log suspicious activities. This plugin can send email alerts for specific actions and you can also export logs to a CSV file for deep analysis.
- Keeps track of user sessions and activities
- Informs about WordPress core updates
- Observes suspicious admin activity and possible hacking attacks
- Lets you block people to prevent unwanted logging in
- Email notifications
- Limited number of log management tools
Stream is another great user activity logging plugin that is absolutely free. The name of this plugin describes what it specializes in.
Stream shows every logged-in user activity in an “activity stream”. It can proactively notify you if something goes wrong with your WordPress site with the help of real-time notifications and third-party integrations.
If you want detailed information of what your users are doing, especially if you’re using plugins like bbPress, WooCommerce, Yoast, BuddyPress, Stream could be the perfect fit for you. You can check what’s changed, when and by whom such as plugin activation, post deletion, new user creation, login attempts, etc.
Moreover, you can configure email notifications and webhooks for Slack and IFTTT to alert you and your team when something unpleasant happens.
- Keeps track of the lions share of your site activities
- Integration with popular plugins like WooCommerce, bbPress, Slack, etc.
- Compatible with WordPress Multisite
- Limits your possibilities for customizing email notifications
User Activity Log
User Activity Log is a simple yet great solution for tracking your website activities. This plugin helps you track all user activity on your site. It’ll notify you when a specific user logged in. Isn’t it great?
The plugin has both free and pro versions.
The free version of this plugins logs activities of WordPress updates, changes to posts and pages, categories and taxonomies, media and user sessions, plugins, themes, comments, menus, site settings, etc. It integrates with plugins like Gravity Forms, Yoast, WooCoommerce, and many more.
Premium version of User Activity Log lets you set up what’ll be in your tracklist despite all logs, gives you sorting options, password protected log, log filtering option to store separately, export option in CSV format, the elongated figure of logs, and many more integration options.
- Comes with a lots of advanced log configuration in the premium version
- Can track many third-party WordPress Plugins
- Records a large number of users and activity types
- Export your log file and email notificantion feature
- There are so many restrictions in the free version
FluentSMTP is the most feature-packed and lightweight SMTP plugin available in the market. It’s grown very rapidly and earned trust. With this SMTP plugin, you can solve your email deliverability problem smoothly and you can have this plugin without spending any penny.
Apart from solving your email deliverability issues, FluentSMTP also provides you:
- Email logging
- Email notifications
- Email reporting
With the help of email logging, you can monitor every email sent from your site. It’s a useful feature as you can resend an email if the first one doesn’t succeed to reach your subscriber inboxes. Email logging is also beneficial for storing emails, viewing them, and debugging during site development.
You’ll get daily or weekly notifications for the emails that get sent, failed, or broadcast. Email reporting lets you see a thorough visual depiction of the total number of emails sent every day by multiple senders. Just filter out the start and end dates to get the report for a specific time.
- Extremely lightweight, so it won’t slow down your site
- Setting up FluentSMTP is very easy
- Free forever
- There isn’t much to complain about
Start monitoring your WordPress website today
Do you know many established websites vanish without any warning just because of security vulnerabilities?
A user activity tracking plugin not only provides insights about site security but also improves user responsibility and communication, facilitates troubleshooting, and betters your site security along with other things. So, it’s high time you took a proper step to keep your site safe and secure.
How do you ensure your WordPress site’s security? Do you use a WordPress user activity tracking plugin to secure your site? Don’t forget to share your thoughts regarding this matter in the comment section below!