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How to Undo Changes in WordPress with Post Revisions

Did you know that WordPress comes with a built-in feature that allows you to undo changes and go back to a previous version of a post. This feature is called Post Revisions or simply Revisions.

Most of us make mistakes when writing. Sometimes you might wish that you hadn’t deleted what you wrote earlier. Revisions allow you to fix that by going back in time and undoing the changes.

In this article, we will show you how to easily undo changes in WordPress with post revisions.

Easily undo changes in WordPress with post revisions

Note: This article covers how to undo changes on WordPress posts. If you’re looking to undo WordPress updates, then see our guide on how to rollback WordPress.

What is Post Revisions?

WordPress comes with a powerful system to store revision history for each post or page you are writing.

For each draft you are working on, WordPress automatically saves a temporary revision. This type of revision is called auto-save.

WordPress stores an auto-save every 60 seconds. It also automatically replaces the older version with the new auto-save.

Autosave Posts in WordPress

The autosave feature helps you restore content if something goes wrong before you can save it. For example, if your browser crashed or your computer hanged while writing, then you can restore your latest draft from the autosave.

WordPress also saves post revisions each time a user clicks on the save, update, or publish button. Unlike auto-saves, these revisions are permanently stored in the WordPress database.

You can locate, browse, and revert back to any of these revisions from the post edit screen.

Useful workflow features like these is what makes WordPress the most popular blogging platform on the planet.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to use post revisions feature to undo changes in WordPress posts and pages.

Why You Should Use Post Revisions

Almost every WordPress user can benefit from post revisions. Writing great content requires a lot of tweaking and edits. Post revisions allow you to see your process and take a bird’s eye view of how your post has evolved.

You can then switch between different states of your draft, make changes, and make your article perfect for publishing.

For multi-author WordPress sites, post revisions allow editors to easily manage the work of multiple authors. You can see who made changes to an article, what changes they made, and so on.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to use post revisions to improve your WordPress posts and pages.

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How to use Post Revisions to Undo Changes in WordPress

WordPress displays the number of revisions under the ‘Document’ panel on the post/page edit screen.

You can find that on the right-hand side of your post editor screen. Clicking on the ‘Revisions’ will take you to post revisions screen.

Gutenberg WordPress Post Revisions

The post revision screen will show you the latest revision of the post with a scrollbar on top. Sliding the button on the scroll bar will take you to earlier revisions of the post.

WordPress Post revision screen

Changes made in each revision will be highlighted in green and pink colors. On the top, you can see the user who made these changes, time, and other information.

WordPress will also let you know if a revision is an autosave or a draft.

Autosaved Post WordPress

You can use the next and previous buttons to move around revisions.

Plus, you can check the box on top that says ‘Compare any two revisions’. Doing so will split the scrollbar button into two, and you can take each button to a different revision and compare the difference between two distant revisions.

Compare Two revisions WordPress posts

To restore a revision, you can simply click on Restore This Revision or Restore This Autosave button.

WordPress will restore the selected revision as your current post revision, and you can then save it as a draft.

Restore a Revision in WordPress

Keep in my mind that restoring to an earlier revision will not delete the latest version of your post. Instead, WordPress will store it in the database as another revision.

Using Post Revisions with Old WordPress Editor

In case you haven’t upgraded your WordPress to Gutenberg and still using the old Classic Editor, you’ll find the post revisions in the publish meta box on the right panel of the post/page edit screen.

Browse Post Revisions in WordPress Classic Editor

To view the post revisions, you can simply click the ‘Browse’ link next to the number of revisions. Apart from this, the post revisions work similarly in both the Classic Editor and Gutenberg.

Limiting or Deleting Post Revisions in WordPress

All post revisions are stored in your WordPress database. Due to this, many users worry that too many revisions can slow down their websites.

It is not true.

WordPress skips post revisions when making database calls on the front end. It only looks for revisions on the post edit screen, or when you are actually browsing revisions.

WordPress allows you to control how many revisions you want to keep for an article. To limit post revisions, simply add this code to your WordPress site’s wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 10 );

Don’t forget to replace 10 with the number of revisions you want to keep for each post.

You can also delete old post revisions. If you are sure that you’ll never need those revisions, then here is how you can delete them.

First, make a new WordPress backup of your site. This will allow you to restore your website if something goes wrong.

Next, you need to install and activate the WP-Optimize plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to WP-Optimize » Database page and check the box next to ‘Clean all post revisions’ option.

Clean post revisions

Now click on the ‘Run optimization’ button to delete all post revisions. You can uninstall the plugin after you have deleted the revisions.

Note: Deleting revisions will not stop WordPress from saving revisions for your future posts.

We hope that this article helped you understand how to use post revisions to undo changes in WordPress. You may also want to see our tips on how to add keywords and meta descriptions in WordPress, and our expert pick of the best WordPress plugins to grow your website.

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Reader Interactions

32 CommentsLeave a Reply

    • If your site says that the revision was removed then the revision may have been deleted which would prevent you from using it.

      Admin

  1. What if my first developers did not have revisions turned on. Then I got a new developer, I messed up my site then had revisions turned on. Will they still work to revert back to the date before they were turned on?

    • If revisions were disabled, you would not have revisions from before it was active.

      Admin

  2. Thank you so much, very informative, I accidentally removed all my content and updated the site but I followed your steps, and yes it’s again back…

  3. Thanks so much for this. I accidentally overwrote a post when I thought I was working in a clone of it. I felt so sick, but this saved me!

  4. I’ve just applied a ton of changes and saved, and accidentally pressed wrong key where all my changes were rolled back. THIS SAVED MY DAY! Thanks a lot!

  5. When I click on the 26 revisions, it takes me to the Compare Revisions of “page”, but it is completely blank. Any ideas how I can see my revisions?

  6. I’m not finding the Revisions section when editing a page.

    I see the Status and Visibility block on the right (Visibility, Publish Date, Author, Move to Trash) and then the Permalink block. No list of revisions anywhere…did something change in WordPress 5.5??

    • You would want to ensure the post has saved versions of if to revert to. You may have plugins or settings that are limiting or removing the post revisions from your site.

      Admin

  7. Is it possible to take something from a previous revision and bring it to your current one without changing the whole thing?

    • You could copy the content and paste it into the current version, but currently reverting to a revision would take all of the previous version’s differences.

      Admin

  8. suggestion – it would be great if you could include a screenshot of “WHERE” to go to get to ‘Revisions’ I used it before, but can’t remember how to get back to it. I was hoping your article would help me, but unfortunately it’s useless to me because I have no idea where “the ‘Document’ panel on the post/page edit screen” is. There is a tab for Pages and a tab for Posts. Where is post/page edit screen??

    • When you edit a specific page or post with the block editor you should see the document editing on the right-hand side of the page

      Admin

  9. Good day,
    I am a complete beginner. I work for a small business, which had an existing website. I was trying to change the look of the website, and lost the original website and all it’s content by saving and publishing to the new theme. Is there any way I can restore the original website?

    • Yes, you can connect to your website using an FTP client. Go to /wp-content/themes/ folder and download all files and folders inside it to your computer as a backup. After that delete all theme folders (using FTP) except the one that last worked on your site.

      Admin

  10. Is this something that has been discontinued? It does not exist in the current version that I have. I just lost a good 1,000 word post and I don’t even know how it happened. I’m so bummed.

  11. I restored a older version by using Revisions. Is there any way to undo that and go back to the newest version again?

  12. I cam to this page seeking help in undoing revisions to themes and other changes. This page is helpful in affirming that posts or pages can have be “revision-ed” but that is not what I need.
    How do I undo other kinds of saved changes?

  13. I need to know how to undo the changes made on home page?????// please help me at earliest

  14. Is there a way to undo publish in general?

    I was in the themes section, clicked ‘customize’ and by mistake clicked on ‘save & publish’… the page wasnt even close to finished so the original website is gone and I’m stuck with a website with no content yet.. help!

  15. I always knew this was there but never really used. Thanks for bring this up.

    What is the impact and performance hit on the database? Is there a build in way or a good plugin that will selectively flush the old versions for the database?

  16. This is a very practical and great instructional article – wish you had more of these which is geared for the novice. e.g. when doing testimonials – it is cutting off and not allowing two pages – how can this be fixed?

    how do you change your menu to have a button look using an object to insert in your page descriptions rather than plain test.

    this was written well and very easy to follow – some are written for programmers…

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