What Is the Autosave WordPress Feature: A Guide for Beginners

Author: | Date: Jun 10, 2024 | Category: user guides
What Is the Autosave WordPress Feature

Things don’t always go perfectly, especially when you’re working on a website. Just as you’re about to publish a post you’ve spent hours on, your power might go out, your browser could crash, or your cat might walk across your keyboard.

But don’t worry! The WordPress autosave feature ensures you can recover your work quickly and easily. Let’s explore how it works and how you can use it to protect your content.

We will know about what is the Autosave WordPress feature.

What is the Autosave WordPress Feature?

Autosave is a default feature on WordPress sites, designed to help site owners safeguard their content. It automatically saves posts and pages while you’re using the Editor, so if your site goes offline or something goes wrong, your work isn’t lost.

If an issue arises, like you embedded a document but suddenly you have gone offline or you, simply reload your browser. With autosave enabled, WordPress will have a recent backup of your post that you can restore with a single click.

Keep in mind that “recent” means the autosave occurs at regular intervals, not after every keystroke.

This is a screenshot of restore backup option of WordPress- What Is the Autosave WordPress Feature

That was a short overview of What is the Autosave WordPress Feature, now let’s focus on its types and how to deal with them in detail.

What is the Default Autosave Interval on WordPress?

Autosave intervals are generally set to be frequent to provide optimal protection. By default, WordPress autosaves every 60 seconds, though this can vary depending on your web host’s configuration.

Some hosts with limited resources may increase the autosave interval to prevent performance issues, but this is usually not a concern with quality providers.

Typically, you cannot check the default autosave interval on WordPress directly.

You can manually adjust this interval, which we’ll explain in the tutorial section of this article.

Can You Change Your Autosave Settings?

You can change the default autosave settings in WordPress, but this requires manually editing core files. To do this, you need to access your site’s server via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or your web hosting control panel.

To modify autosave settings, you can edit the `wp-config.php` file in the WordPress root directory. This allows you to:

  • Enable autosave (if it was previously disabled)
  • Disable autosave (by setting a high interval)
  • Change the autosave interval

Alternatively, you can modify the `functions.php` file of your theme to adjust autosave settings. By adding custom code to `functions.php`, you can disable autosave for specific post types or turn off the feature altogether if needed.

What’s the Difference Between Autosaves and Revisions in WordPress?

The goal of autosaves is to save your work in progress in case something goes wrong while editing a page or post. Autosaves occur in the background, without the need for you to click the Save Draft button.

WordPress revisions, on the other hand, are drafts of posts or pages that you’ve manually saved. When you save a new draft, WordPress stores the previous versions as revisions, allowing you to revert back if needed. Autosaves are not listed as revisions, as they operate on a separate system.

With WordPress, you can only have one autosave at a time. However, the revisions system lets you store multiple drafts of a post or page, allowing you to easily view changes and toggle  between them.

autasave vs revisions in WordPress- What Is the Autosave WordPress Feature

How to Use and Manage WordPress Autosaves

How can you manage autosaves and edit their settings? Making certain changes requires editing WordPress core files and dealing with code. We’ll guide you through those processes step by step. But first, let’s talk about restoring autosaves.

1. How to Restore WordPress Autosaves

Restoring a WordPress autosave is simple. If you exit the Editor without saving changes to the page or post, WordPress will warn you that you might lose those changes.

This is a screenshot of warning from WordPress that you might lose changes

After opening the Editor again, WordPress will let you know if it has an autosave available. Then, you can click on the Restore the backup button to load the autosave.

WordPress will load the autosaved version of the post you’re working on. From this point on, you can continue editing the post, but probably want to save drafts periodically to avoid further problems.

2. How to Delete a WordPress Autosave

WordPress automatically stores autosaves in its database, and there are several methods to delete them. You can manually access the database using tools like phpMyAdmin, locate the relevant autosave entry, wait for newer autosaves to overwrite the old ones, or employ a plugin for convenience.

While deleting a single autosave may not seem practical, some users have observed moderate performance improvements by eliminating unnecessary entries such as revisions and autosaves from the database.

Utilizing a plugin to streamline this process may not be essential for users with hosting plans that offer excellent performance and have already optimized their websites.

Nevertheless, plugins like Advanced Database Cleaner offer a straightforward solution and can also assist in removing orphaned tables from the database.

clean and optimize database plugin hero image

To use Advanced Database Cleaner to delete WordPress autosaves, install and activate the plugin, then go to the WP DB Cleaner tab in WordPress. This page includes a list of the database tables you can clean, including one that says Auto drafts.

option to delete auto drafts in WordPress

Select the Auto drafts element, choose Clean from the Bulk actions menu, and click on Apply. The plugin will ask you to confirm the decision and, afterwards, it will delete all available autosaves for your website.

3. How to Change the WordPress Autosave Interval

To change your website’s autosave interval, follow these steps:

  • Connect to your site via FTP using a tool like FileZilla.
  • Once connected, navigate to your WordPress website’s root folder. This folder may be named differently, such as www, public_html, or your site’s name.
  • If you’re unsure which folder is the root directory, look for familiar files and folders like wp-content and wp-admin.

Once you’ve located the root folder, you can proceed to edit the wp-config.php file to adjust the autosave interval.

Change the WordPress Autosave Interval

To change the autosave interval:

1. Right-click on the wp-config.php file in your website’s root folder and select the “Edit” option. This will open wp-config.php using your default text editor.

2. Add the following line of code to the wp-config.php file:


define( 'AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL', 60 );


In this example, the autosave interval is set to 60 seconds. You can adjust this number to your preference, but it’s generally recommended not to exceed one minute. Autosave has minimal impact on your site’s performance, so it’s better to run it frequently to ensure your work is saved.

3. After adding the code, save the changes to the wp-config.php file and close the text editor.

4. Your FTP client may prompt you to save the new version of the file to the server. Confirm the changes, and you’re all set.

4. How to disable WordPress autosave

To disable autosave manually for posts, pages, or both in WordPress, follow these steps:

1. Connect to your website via FTP and navigate to the root folder.

2. Find the functions.php file in your theme’s folder (usually located in wp-content/themes/your-theme-name/).

3. Open the functions.php file and add the following lines of code at the end:


add_action( 'admin_init', 'disable_autosave' );

function disable_autosave() {

wp_deregister_script( 'autosave' );



This code will disable autosave for posts and pages.

4. Save the changes to the functions.php file.

Alternatively, if you prefer to set a longer autosave interval instead of disabling it entirely:

1. Follow the steps for editing the wp-config.php file as mentioned earlier.

2. Add the following line of code to your wp-config.php file to set the autosave interval to one day (in seconds):


define('AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL', 86400);


This will make autosave kick in only after 24 hours.

Remember to save your changes after making modifications to the files.

5. How to Enable WordPress Autosave

If the autosave feature isn’t functioning on your WordPress site, it could be due to alterations in the autosave settings or code within the wp-config.php or functions.php files. Here’s how to troubleshoot and potentially re-enable autosave:

1. Check wp-config.php and functions.php files: Connect to your site via FTP and locate these files in your WordPress installation directory.

2. Inspect for custom code: Open both wp-config.php and functions.php files. Look for any custom code related to autosave, similar to what was described in previous sections for disabling autosave or modifying its interval.

3. Delete or modify custom code: If you find any code that might affect autosave functionality, you can either delete it or modify it as needed. Make sure to carefully review the code before making any changes.

4. Backup your site: Before making any modifications, it’s advisable to create a full backup of your WordPress site. This ensures that you can restore your site in case any errors occur during the editing process.

5. Test autosave: After removing or modifying the custom code, test the autosave feature on your site to see if it’s functioning properly.

6. Monitor for errors: Keep an eye on your site for any unexpected behavior or errors after re-enabling autosave. If you encounter any issues, you can revert to the backup you created earlier.

By reviewing and potentially adjusting the custom code in wp-config.php and functions.php files, you can troubleshoot and re-enable the autosave feature in WordPress.

Frequently Asked Questions About WordPress Autosave

How often does WordPress autosave content?

Ans: WordPress autosaves content approximately every 60 seconds by default. This interval ensures that changes made to posts or pages are regularly saved in the background.

Can I adjust the autosave interval in WordPress?

Ans: Yes, you can modify the autosave interval in WordPress by adding a line of code to the wp-config.php file. For example, setting the interval to 120 seconds would save changes every two minutes.

Does autosave work for all types of content in WordPress?

Ans:Yes, autosave functionality is available for all types of content in WordPress, including posts, pages, and custom post types. It ensures that your work is continuously saved regardless of the content type.

Will autosave help recover accidentally deleted content?

Ans: No, autosave does not assist in recovering accidentally deleted content. It only saves changes made to content while it’s being edited. However, WordPress does have a revisions feature that allows you to revert to previous versions of content.

Is it possible to disable autosave in WordPress?

Ans: Yes, you can disable autosave manually by adding custom code to your theme’s functions.php file. However, it’s generally only recommended if you have specific reasons for doing so, as autosave helps prevent data loss and ensures continuous saving of work.

Use Autosave Feature in WordPress and Protect Your Work

Autosave is indeed a valuable feature for websites of all types.

Its ability to continuously save changes made to content in the background helps prevent data loss and ensures that users can pick up right where they left off, even in the event of unexpected issues like browser crashes or internet connection disruptions.

While autosave won’t assist in restoring deleted content, it serves as a safety net for ongoing work, safeguarding against the loss of hours of progress.

This functionality is particularly crucial for content management systems like WordPress, where users frequently create and edit content within the platform.

Overall, autosave contributes significantly to the user experience by providing peace of mind and enhancing productivity, making it an essential feature for any website.

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