How to protect your Drupal content with single editor access

Post by Mike C Picture of Mike C
Ixis Service
Reading time 3 mins clock

Is there anything more frustrating than when your website content edits vanish in the Content Management System (CMS) because multiple people were tweaking the same page at the same time?

Working on a website as part of an editorial team involves good communication and coordination. You need a plan on who is working on what content and when. As people are working more distributed today, it's increasingly important to prevent wasted time and causing frustration for your team.

A popular request in tenders, new site requirements and existing client support tickets has been the ability to prevent overwriting of each other's content edits when working in a CMS.

Does Your CMS Help or Hinder Your Work?

Content Management System features vary when it comes to the content editor experience. Whilst some may have introduced collaborative multi-user editing of pages, others have kept it simple with a user being able to edit whatever they wish and whoever saves last gets the final version published.

Many CMSs cater for plugins and modules to extend the base functionality but a lot of organisations never bother to take advantage of this power to improve the administration experience of their website often leaving the focus to enhancing the public-facing parts of the website. Sometimes, it hasn’t been a consideration until the inevitable happened.

Locking Access

One simple solution to preventing multiple editors on a team from overwriting each others content is a simple lock flag. This works by setting the status of a page to locked when a user enters the content edit form. When the content is saved the status flag is removed and unlocked.

Whilst not as collaborative as something like the multi-user editing experience of Google Docs, it prevents errors and wasted time between the team quickly.

A Drupal Solution

The frustration is noted from organisations who are now looking for a new CMS that solves this problem - and we’re pleased to say that the Drupal CMS solution is delivered by the free Content locking (anti-concurrent editing) module which is available as a simple and effective drop in for any Drupal 8+ website. There are some great features delivered too:

  • Block concurrent editing: when editing a node, any other user that attempts to edit the same node will be blocked and notified that the content is already being edited.
  • By node type: configurable to only lock certain content types against concurrent editing.
  • By format: configurable to only lock specific filter input formats against concurrent editing.
  • Avoid losing content by accident: Optionally, if a user is editing content and attempts to leave the edit form without first saving it (e.g., closing the browser window/tab, clicking on a link, etc.), they will be notified. If the user confirms that they want to leave without saving the node, the edit lock gets automatically removed.
  • Avoid forgotten locks: Users are notified if they forget to unlock a node. They will be prompted to click on a link to unlock the node.
  • Views integration: All open locks can be listed using Views to create an administrator dashboard.

Configuration is as simple as setting what user roles need the content to be locked (probably most authors and editors!) and what user role has the authority to break a lock and release content to be edited again (probably an administrator and senior editor role).

Making your site a safe place for editors

The main goal is to be 100% safe when working on the production website for your organisation. That means that under no circumstances should a user be able to edit the content that another user is already editing.

The Content Locking module for Drupal delivers this functionality in a self-contained, safe and simple way to immediately enhance your site's administration experience - it’s a no-brainer install to any Drupal 9 website.

Not sure how to install a module on your Drupal site? If you haven’t got a safe pair of hands to support your team and website then get in touch with Ixis about our Drupal support service.


Mike C

Managing Director

Many years of Drupal development wrangling and a background in digital project architecture.

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