Have you ever been in this situation? After spending a great deal of time and effort composing an article, something unexpected happens to your computer or your software program, and suddenly, you find that you have lost all of your hard work because you forgot to save your work as you went along.

If this happens, don’t dismay! WordPress has an Autosave and Revision Management feature that help you to prevent losing your work if you forget to save, that can get your post or page content back if something happens to your browser or computer while you’re working, or if you just change your mind about a given direction you were taking with your article and want to be able to refer back to older drafts.

In this tutorial you will learn how to use the WordPress Revision Management system to recover and restore your posts and pages while working on your content.

Watch the video below and then complete the step-by-step tutorial to learn how to use the WordPress autosave and revision management features …

 

How To Use WordPress Revisions: Step-By-Step Tutorial

Typically, whenever you save (update) a post or page, you will see a confirmation message like the example shown below …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

Sometimes, however, when you try to save your work, you might see a message like this displayed on your screen instead …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

When you get a message that says “Are you sure you want to do this? Please try again” and click on Please try again, you will normally be taken back to a Post or Page Edit screen displaying a previous version of your post, minus any changes you have recently made.

This is where the autosave feature comes in handy.

WordPress Autosave

Autosaves are automatically enabled for all WordPress posts and pages but do not overwrite your published content. Autosaves are stored as a special type of revision so they won’t overwrite the actual post you’re working on.

By default, WordPress saves the current version of your post in your WordPress database every 60 seconds. This time interval can be changed by adding code to one of your WordPress software files (the wp-config.php file).

If you have been working on your post for a while and something happens (e.g. your browser crashes), you may see a message like the one shown below when you get back to your post or page …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

Click on View the autosave

How To Use WordPress Revisions

You will be taken to a revision page where a previously saved version of your post can be restored.

Additionally, if your login session expires, WordPress remembers where you were, so when you login again, you can pick up working exactly from where you left off …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

WordPress Revision Control

WordPress 3.6

WordPress introduced a significant enhancement to its Revision Management system interface in WordPress 3.6.

How To Use WordPress Revisions

When you compare revisions, a Revision Slider displays at the top of the screen, allowing you to move through your saved post revisions.The more revisions you have saved, the more revision markers you will see displayed in the slider …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

Revisions created by making changes to your content and updating your post or page display in the Revision Slider in black, along with the save interval, time and date of the revision …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

Revisions saved automatically by WordPress display in the Revision Slider in red, along with the save interval, time and date of the revision …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

You can navigate between revisions by moving the slider to the left or right …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

There are also buttons available to help you navigate through the revisions. Click Previous to navigate through past revisions …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

Click Next to advance through your newer revisions …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

You can also compare revisions by checking the Compare any two revisions option. This lets you adjust two slider buttons to compare any two saved revisions …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

When you find the saved version you would like to restore, click the Restore This Revision button to restore your selected revision …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

To return to the current saved version of your post or page, click on the title link …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

WordPress revisions also warns you if the backup of the post you are trying to restore is different from the version you have displayed and gives you the opportunity to restore your saved backup version …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

The new WordPress revision system introduced in version 3.6 has also added a new option to the Publish box called Revisions. This lets you see at a glance how many revisions you have and allows you to bring up the Revisions screen by clicking on the Browse link …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

WordPress Version 3.5 Revisions

If your site uses an earlier version than WordPress 3.6 (e.g. version 3.5.X) then you will see a screen that looks like the example screenshot below …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

At the bottom of the screen, you will see the Revisions section, which gives you the option of comparing revisions, or restoring one of your previous revisions …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

To compare revisions, select which revisions you want to compare from the Revisions table, then click on the Compare Revisions button …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

Typically, you will be offered the option of comparing your current post revision and the autosave version, but you can select and compare any two revisions you want by clicking on the radio buttons in the Old and New columns …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

Your revisions will be shown side by side, with any differences highlighted in the text …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

If the revisions being compared are the same, the message “These revisions are identical” will be displayed …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

To restore the revision you prefer, click on the Restore link next to the item in the “Actions” column …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

Your post or page revision will be restored …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

WordPress Revisions Feature – Additional Information

As soon as you update (i.e. save) a post or page, WordPress begins to store revisions of your content in its database. You can see these displayed in a Revisions box below your post or page …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

If you can’t see the Revisions box, click on the Screen Options tab at the top of your screen and tick the checkbox next to Revisions in the Show on Screen section …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

You will now see the Revisions box displayed under your content editor section …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

Click on any of the revision links to view and restore a previous version of your content …

How To Use WordPress Revisions

Managing Revisions

For most WordPress users, having features like Autosave and Revisions is a good thing. If, for some reason, however, you really don’t want these features to be present, then you can disable them, but this requires modifying some code in your WordPress files.

One thing that can happen if you write and edit a lot, is that after a while the revisions start to build up. This can significantly increase the size of your WordPress database, so it’s important to manage your revisions.

Fortunately, there are a number of WordPress plugins that can help you control and manage your revisions and reduce the size of your database.

Congratulations! Now you know how to use the WordPress Revisions feature to recover or restore earlier saved versions of your WordPress posts or pages.