This is an issue only for larger blogs. If you’ve got less than 100 posts, you probably don’t need to worry about it at this stage.
WordPress automatically saves a copy of your post every time you update it. If you’re like most people, some posts can have lots of versions before you’re happy with it.
The versions come from every time you hit Update after the post has been published, as well as some auto-saves.
On a large blog, this can seriously bloat the size of your database where the posts are stored. It’s made even worse if you tend to write long posts.
This feature is there as a safety net, in case you mess up down the track and delete something important. It’s also great when you have multiple authors, so you can track who did what.
Most of the time, these versions are redundant. How often do you go back to a post after you’ve published it and are happy with it?
To see the revisions, scroll down to the bottom of a published post in your admin area and you’ll see them listed by date under “Revisions”.
Once you’ve completed a post, it’s usually safe to delete the revisions.
The easiest way to delete the revisions is to install the plugin “Better Delete Revision”. You can get it here or just search “better delete revision” under Add Plugin.
Make sure you back everything up, just in case something goes wrong. Our recommended way is using the WordPress Database Backup plugin.
To use it (after you’ve installed it, obviously), go to Better Delete Revision under Settings. Click “Check Revision Posts”. The plugin will then list the revisions that can be safely deleted. Click “Yes I would like to delete them”. And you’re done.
You’ll have to run this plugin every so often (best practice for an active blog is every 6 months), so just disable it when you’re not using it.
When we ran this on a site that had 107 posts and, it removed 651 revisions and it reduced the overall size of my database backup by 45%, which is a fairly significant improvement in our books.
The speed test we ran to compare the differences before and after didn’t work as it should have, unfortunately, so we are unable to say whether there was a speed improvement >-(
However, logically it should have sped up the site load time significantly, as it has half as much information to load to display the post.
If you want to prevent revisions completely (NOT recommended by Local SEO Perth), you’ll need to do some coding. Check out this post on Sitepoint on what you need to do.
The reason we don’t recommend completely preventing the revisions is that it they are a good safety net in case a post gets corrupted. This was extremely useful for an old and popular post on one of our sites where half of the post just disappeared one day and saved as a new version. Revisions saved us that day :)