How to search in the WordPress activity log & use filters

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The WordPress activity log can have thousands of events, especially on a busy website. Therefore it can be quite difficult to find what you are looking for unless you have some sort of search. The good thing with the WP Security Audit Log plugin is that you can still do basic searches in the WordPress activity log without text searches and filters. Though when you upgrade to the premium edition of the WordPress activity log plugin you can do text searches and use filters to fine tune the search results.

How to do text searches in the WordPress activity log?

Text search for the WordPress activity log
Use the text search placeholder highlighted in the above screenshot to do text searches in the WordPress activity log. When you use the text search the plugin searches the metadata of events and not the actual full text. So for example you can search for post names, plugin names, a file path or filename, a section of a URL or a full URL or even an event ID.

Example of Text Searches

If for example you’d like to search for a list of events about a post Fight Club with custom post type Movie you can either search for Fight Club or Movie. If you search for Movie you will get a list of all the events about all the posts with custom post type movie.

Free text searches in the activity log

When you search for Fight Club the plugin will return all the  events related to the post Fight Club so the search is much more accurate, as shown in the below screenshot.

Searching in the activity log for a particular post name

Though text searches in general have a bit of a limitation, they can return too many events. For example you need to find out when the user kypri changed the content of the post hello world. If you search for  hello world the search result might have many events because many other users have made changes to that post, as seen in the post below.

Text search results when searching for Hello world in the WordPress activity log

In case you get too many events for your text search then you can use the filters to fine tune the search results, as explained below.

Using filters to fine tune the WordPress activity log search results

Filters help you fine tune the search results of the WordPress activity log. To add filters and filter the search results:

  • click on the funnel icon next to the column header in the audit log viewer,
  • specify the filter and click the + sign,
  • close the filters dialogue by clicking the X,
  • run the search again by clicking the Search button.

Using the same example above, once we do a text search for the post Fight Club we will add a filter for event ID 8801 to see who changed the SEO title of the post. Notice the highlighted filter and text search in the below screenshot that we used to fine tune the search results.

Using the Filters and Text Based Searches in the Activity Log

Now that we have the filter in place we can see event ID 8801 for the post Fight Club. If we didn’t use the filter and searched for event ID 8801 we would get a list of all events with ID 8801 in the activity log. If you want you can add as much filters as you want to the search.

If you need to look for specific event IDs refer to the list of activity log event IDs and search the list to know what event ID is associated with a specific change.

Saving search terms and filters

If you do the same search and use the same filters often, you can save that search term and filters. To save search terms and filters:

  • Enter the search term and run the search,
  • Add the filters and run the search again,
  • Click on the Save Search & Filters button. The names of the saved searches can only by 12 characters long and can only contain letters, numbers and underscores.

Saving search terms and filters
To load saved search terms and filters click the button Load Search & Filters and click Load or Load & Run next to the saved search.