How to Recover a Previous Version of a WordPress Post

By Al  |  26 August 2015

WordPress to the rescue!

There is nothing worse than writing a great piece of content and losing all your hard work. Thankfully WordPress can come to the rescue, with its great revisions feature that lets you restore previous versions of an article, compare two versions and even restore an auto-saved version of an article if your browser crashes.

The WordPress revisions system stores a record of each saved draft or published update. The revision system allows you to see what changes were made in each revision by dragging a slider (or using the Next/Previous buttons). The display indicates what has changed in each revision – what was added, what remained unchanged, and what was removed. Lines added or removed are highlighted, and individual character changes get additional highlighting. – WordPress Codex

Saving revisions of a WordPress post

When writing content, WordPress will automatically save a draft of your article approximately every minute. This will not, however, save it as a revision version to allow you to restore it at a later date. To have WordPress save a revision that can be restored, select the “Save Draft” button if you are still writing your content, or the “Publish” button if your content is ready.

Each time you select “Save Draft”, “Update”, “Schedule” or “Publish” (depending on the state of your content), WordPress will save a new revision that you can restore at a later date should you need to.

WordPress will show you how many revisions are available under the Publish panel on the right hand side as shown highlighted in red below.

Recover WordPress

You can also see a more detailed list of the latest revisions and who they were created by under the Revisions panel usually located underneath your content creation area.

Recover WordPress-1-1

Viewing revisions of a WordPress post

As revisions build up, you will want to view them in more detail to see which version is the one you want to restore. To view a revision, from the detailed revision list under your content, select the underlined date link of the revision you wish to review.

Once selected, WordPress will display a detailed view of the revision compared to the current version of your content. From here there are many ways to compare your content, but the easiest is to use the handy slider located above the two versions of your content.

The revision screen will show two columns. On the left, is the previous version of the content, and on the right is the revision version you are currently viewing. As you move the slider, you will see the content change, with deletions highlighted in red, and additions highlighted in green.

Once you find the revision you wish to restore, selecting the “Restore This Revision” will load the content into your editor screen ready for you to edit as the current version.

Just remember to save your work regularly, and you are all set. You’ll never have to rewrite that lost work again. Learn how to update your WordPress Plugins with our next article. Find out more.

Written by Al  |  26 August 2015