Stream: The Ultimate WordPress Activity Logging Plugin
If you’re a WordPress developer, you know how frustrating it can be to troubleshoot issues on client sites. You may receive an email from a client saying that something has gone wrong with their site, and they don’t know what happened. This could be because they did something and aren’t aware that it broke something, or another user on their site did something, malicious or benign, that caused the problem.
This is where Stream comes in. Stream is a fresh and exciting new plugin that tracks everything that happens on your WordPress site and records it. This can be useful for many reasons, the main one being that you can troubleshoot how issues arise, particularly on client’s sites.
Stream logs everything that happens on your site, whether by a logged-in user or by a plugin, so at a quick glance, you can see exactly what has changed recently (or further into the past if the problem has existed for a while). Here’s a rundown of the kinds of things that Stream tracks:
– Custom Post Types
– Custom Taxonomies
– Custom Backgrounds
– Custom Headers
– Media Library
– Theme Editor
– WordPress Core Updates
Using Stream is easy. The UI is gorgeous: one of the best I’ve seen. Stream provides both a dashboard widget for a quick glance at what’s been happening recently, and its own admin screen, where you can dig in a little deeper. In the admin screen, you have the ability to filter by time, user, and the category, or specific action performed. In this manner, you can quickly see what’s been happening during a particular timeframe, by a particular user, or who’s been taking specific actions, like modifying widgets or creating deleting pages.
In the plugin’s settings, there are a few useful tools, like the ability to exclude certain items from being recorded. For instance, you may want to ignore everything that your user account does (because you know yourself and you trust what you do). Or you may want to ignore information that doesn’t matter to you, like logins and logouts.
Another handy feature is the ability to restrict how long Stream keeps its data for. The default setting is 90 days, which is perfect in my opinion: long enough to keep a record of potentially relevant information, but not too long that you’ll have massive database bloat by keeping unnecessary information around.
Stream also has several extensions that can enhance its functionality. These include:
– Cherry-Pick: This extension allows you to go through all of your Stream records and delete ones that are not important, either individually or in bulk.
– Data Exporter: If you need to export your data to a CSV, JSON, or XML file, you’re in luck. Just narrow down which dates, authors, connectors, contexts, or actions you want data from, or go nuts and export everything!
– Notifications: With this extension, you can set up extremely customizable rules that will send you a notification when something specific occurs on your site. Better yet, you can get the notifications by email or as a push notification to your smartphone (Android and iOS supported, through the free Pushover application).
– Reports: Create responsive and interactive reports that let you analyze your data in an easy-to-read format. Great for seeing who’s been writing the most or who’s been responding to comments.
– WooCommerce Connector: This extension joins Stream with the popular e-commerce platform, WooCommerce, enabling you to track all activity related to orders, coupons, products, or settings.
The extensions are reasonably priced: for one site, you get all of the extensions for just $5, and if you’re a developer, you can have up to 25 sites for just $49.
It’s nice to know that the plugin has been developed with the best in coding standards. The developers at X-Team are extremely competent, and Pippin mentioned in the Apply Filters episode that he had tried it on a larger site, and it had zero impact on performance. And so long as plugins and themes are using the right hooks and filters to make changes to your site, Stream can record everything that they do, without a performance hit.
In conclusion, Stream is the ultimate WordPress activity logging plugin. It’s easy to use, has a beautiful UI, and tracks everything that happens on your site. With its extensions, you can customize it to fit your needs. And best of all, it’s developed by competent developers who have ensured that it won’t impact your site’s performance.