The purpose of this article is to list the WordPress dashboard activity monitoring plugins I’ve used between Jan 2014 and June 2015.
As my memory deteriorates from excess Google usage, this article is as much a primer for my security-minded clients than anything else. I hope you’ll find this summary helpful as well.
This is not a “what is the best WordPress logging plugin” article. I’m not so sure there is a best. Please take my opinions regarding each plugin with a grain of salt. Your mileage may vary…
A little background. In ancient times, 2012 CE, the WordPress activity monitoring plugin landscape was essential barren. Then, in 2013, there was an apparent renaissance of WordPress activity loggers. The recent increase in security awareness has most certainly driven the rise of quality login monitoring plugins. Today’s activity monitoring plugins do all manner of things from logging user activities, plugin updates, and reporting certain types of activity by email.
Sadly, activity monitoring plugins have garnered a bad reputation over the past few years. The good news is that in 2015, reports of sluggish website performance mostly due to activity logging plugins supersizing databases have mostly died off. Today’s current activity monitoring plugins have greatly improved their performance, and rarely impact a website’s performance.
Internal website activity monitoring is an important part of any good website security plan.
Below is a list of the WordPress activity monitoring plugins I’ve used most recently (linked below).
|Activity Log||Notable: Notification Events rule editor sends an email notification when a specific event is triggered.|
|Not so good: Events rule editor is too limited.|
|Simple History||Notable: Shows actual text changes in change log|
|Not so good: No database clearing option.|
|Simple Login Log||Notable: Export log to CSV file.|
|Not so good: Not updated in over a year.|
|Stream||Notable: Integrates nicely with MainWP.|
|Not so good: The Sign up process can be confusing to some.|
|WP Security Audit Log||Notable: Mature plugin with loads of advanced features.|
|Not so good: Premium features, like email notifications, are free in other plugins.|
Yes, I’ve purposely left out the WordPress security plugins which include a number of nice activity logging features. If you are using any of the top WordPress security plugins that’s great! I still recommend you try one or two of the above plugins as well.
All of the internal activity monitoring plugins shown here report activities completed by users to varying degrees of detail, to include user account related changes, content changes and installations related changes. Automated tasks may be logged as well.
|Activity Log||Simple History||Simple Login Log||Stream||WP Security Audit Log|
|Author||various||Pär Thernström||Max Chirkov||Frankie Jarrett||Robert Abela|
|Exclude Activity Rules||no||no||no||yes||yes|
|Limit Review By User Role||no||no||no||yes||yes|
|Limit Plugin Settings By User Role||no||no||no||yes||yes|
|Can Delete Logs||yes||yes||yes||n/a||yes|
|Periodic Log Clearing||yes||yes||no||n/a||yes|
|Hide Plugin On Plugins Page||no||no||no||no||yes|
|Cron Activities Tracking||no||no||no||yes||yes|