Searching in the activity log without search & filters

WordPress activity logs (also known as activity logs) are become popular in the WordPress ecosystem. Many administrators, consultants and website owners install the WP Activity Log plugin to keep a log of all the changes that happen on theirs and their customers’ websites.

Logs are like an insurance; they go unnoticed most of the time. However, they are priceless those few times that you need them. For example, when you need to know who installed a plugin that broke something on the website, or who deleted the top performing blog post.

If you are using WP Activity Log Premium you can use the Search and Filters functionality to easily track down a specific functionality. Though if you are not using the premium edition, there is still a way to look for a specific change. However, it requires a bit more work, as we will explain.

Search by using the activity log column sorting

Audit log viewer within the WP Activity Log which list different events and changes on site by different users

As can be seen from the above screenshot, the WordPress activity log has eight columns:

  • ID
  • Severity
  • Date
  • User & Role
  • Source IP address
  • Object
  • Event Type
  • Message

The activity log events are sorted by date by default. However, they can be sorted in ascending or descending order by Event ID, Date, User & Role, IP address, object and also Event Type.

Searching for a Specific Change

If for example, you would like to check who installed the Website File Change Monitor plugin, you should look for event ID 5000. This event ID is reported when a plugin is installed on the website. For more information on which event ID is reported on a specific change refer to the complete list of WordPress activity log events.

To sort the events by ID click the ID column title. A small arrow appears in the ID column title when they are sorted by ID, as highlighted in the below screenshot:

 

The WordPress activity log sorted by event ID

If you are using the infinite scroll activity log view mode, scroll down until you reach the events with ID 5000. However, in this case it is more convenient to use the pagination view mode. Refer to the activity log view modes for more information on how to change the view mode.

In pagination view mode, use the page navigation arrows highlighted below to browse through the activity logs. Browse through the pages until you find all of the events with ID 5000. If you have a lot of events, manually specify the page number to skip a number of pages. Once you find the page with all the events with ID 5000, check which one is about Website File Changes Monitor. As highlighted in the below screenshot, the plugin keeps a detailed record. It tells who installed it, when and from where, and the plugin’s name and path.

 

Looking for a specific event ID 5000 in the activity logs

Search by user, object and event type.

You can use the same concept and sort the activity logs by user, object or event type. Sort by user if you are looking for the changes a specific user has done. If you are looking for changes in a WordPress user profile, you can sort the activity log by Object. Then look for the User object. The same applies to Event type. For example, if you are looking for when someone deleted something, sort the activity logs by Event Type. Then look for the Deleted event type.

Refer to the list of objects and event types in the activity log for more details about all the different objects and event types available in the activity logs.

Upgrade to premium for text search & filters

The above might not be the most efficient way of searching for a specific change. But, it still allows you to find what you are looking for. However, if you are looking for something more efficient, upgrade to WP Activity Log Premium.

In WP Activity Log premium you have the text search and also filters. Filters can be used to fine tune the search results. For example, I would like to know what changes Giovanni, our editor made. More specifically what changes he has done to a post titled Use activity logs. So I run a search for activity log. However, this will return a list of all the changes done to any post that has activity log in the title. So I add a filter for First Name Giovanni. Now I just have two events, which is exactly what I needed:

Searching in the activity logs and using the filters

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