Owning a website is just like any other multi-part project, whether it’s teaching a class of students, running a household, or managing a business: the more you know about what’s happening, the better you can keep things operating safely and smoothly.
People count on your site to deliver important information, indulge them with a moment of levity, or provide access to products for sale. If you run a business, your employees rely on it for their livelihood. But how can you keep track of everything happening on your site? If a change is made, would you know who made it? If there’s an error, how do you know what caused it?
Transparency is critical, which is exactly why we created the Jetpack activity log, a complete record of everything that happens on your site.
It’s like a parent who has eyes in the back of their head. But instead of focusing on control, it empowers you with the knowledge needed to fix errors, improve procedures, respond quickly to urgent matters, and protect your stakeholders.
What types of changes does the activity log record?
The activity log stores a variety of actions, including:
- Changes to images, comments, plugins, menu items, themes, pages, and posts
- Details about backups
- User logins in and logouts
- Contact form submissions (if you’re using Jetpack’s contact form)
You can also view the time and date each action took place, along with who performed it. View a complete list of recorded data.
Let’s take a look at four ways to use this information:
1. Troubleshooting website issues
If your website breaks or goes down, it can be difficult to identify the cause. Troubleshooting often requires a time-consuming guessing game to figure out what happened, much less find a solution. And when every minute your site is down loses you money or subscribers, you don’t have time to waste! The activity log takes the guesswork out of site debugging.
When something goes wrong, use the activity log to review what happened and determine the cause. See if you or one of your users deleted a plugin, edited a line of code, or updated something just before your website broke — there’s the culprit.
Jetpack’s activity log is trusted by agencies like FreshySites, which uses Jetpack to manage over 1,200 websites. With hundreds of clients depending on them, they rely on the activity log to provide valuable information and speed up the debugging process.
2. Restoring backups
If there’s a problem with your site — a plugin conflict, code error, hacker, or a variety of other causes — you need to restore a backup as quickly as possible. The activity log works seamlessly with real-time backups so you can restore your website to the point right before the error, even if you can’t log into your WordPress dashboard.
Simply navigate to your activity log, find the event at the point you’d like to restore to, and click the button to restore. This is especially valuable for eCommerce sites or blogs with regular updates, because you minimize the risk of losing your hard work or any valuable order information.
In the activity log, you can also find detailed updates on your automated backups and whether there are any errors.
3. Stopping hackers in their tracks
If your site is hacked, you want to know right away to prevent downtime and stolen information. But how?
Use the activity log to keep an eye on updates and changes, and know exactly when something takes place that you didn’t perform or authorize. Watch out for login attempts, plugin and theme deletions, settings modifications, and page updates. If you spot something suspicious, you can react right away.
This feature works hand in hand with Downtime Monitoring, which alerts you any time your site goes down. In the activity log, find out exactly when it went down, how long it was down, and which action took place right beforehand.
By using these two tools together, you can be the first to know about site issues and fix them before your visitors realize what happened.
4. Confirming that website tasks are completed
You might have multiple team members or contractors working on your website. Perhaps they’re responsible for blogging, maintenance, design, or customer service — how do you know they’re doing their jobs without constant check-ins?
One glance at the activity log takes care of this. Find out:
- If blog posts from your content marketing team are ready for your review.
- If your employee is responding to comments.
- If plugin and theme updates are being performed regularly.
- If your web designer is making the page changes you requested.
You can also check your site activity — and even restore your site when traveling — using the WordPress app.
Stay on top of your site:
Tracking website activity keeps your site healthy and functional, which is critical for growth and success. The activity log allows you to stay on top of your users and their actions (including your own!) so you can make sure everything is running smoothly, prevent any issues, and restore backups if needed.
Don’t ever be in the dark about your website again. With the free version of Jetpack, you can see the 20 most recent site events, while paid plans show you every activity in the past 30 days or in the last year.