Content Versioning and Time Machine: Unlocking the Benefits

Victoria Burt

Enterprise businesses need to produce content at a phenomenal rate in order to keep up with customer expectations, new channels, and the need for personalization. This means new content drafts, numerous social media posts, and more.

When producing content at scale, however, mistakes can arise, especially when multiple content teams that are scattered across various locations are involved in the content creation and publishing process. 

In order to deal with this potential for mistakes, businesses need to have the option to roll back content to previous versions. Facilitating this, however, requires control over not only the publishing process but also content workflows and user permissions. This is where content versioning and Time Machines come into play. Content versioning can be an incredible resource for companies in numerous industries as it can enable them to take a snapshot of content at a particular instance. Yet, to accomplish this you need the right technology in place. 

What Is Content Versioning?

Content versioning enables editors to see the evolution of content from creation to publication and roll back to a previous version if necessary. Before enterprise companies publish a piece of content, it typically undergoes a long approval process where several people ensure everything is perfect. 

However, even when working in large teams with four or six-eye approval processes, things can sometimes slip through the cracks. In many cases, a previous version of content may be ideal for alternative campaigns or a localization expansion strategy. Having content versioning is ideal for situations just like this, enabling editors to revert to a previous edition of the content in question. 

How Time Machine Enables Content Versioning

Time Machine, dotCMS’ content versioning feature, allows you to take a snapshot of a page at a specific point in time and save them as backups. It allows you to keep track of changes to content and store backups of that content in case of rollbacks or compliance. Time Machine is also used to preview pages containing content that is scheduled for publishing in the future.

Read More: Exploring TimeMachine: How dotCMS Handles Content Versioning

Why Do You Need Content Versioning? 

Content versioning can be a useful feature for an enterprise CMS. Here are some of the benefits:

Security and Quality Assurance

Content versioning helps keep track of changes made to content. If any unintentional changes are made, versioning can help editors restore content to a previous state before the damage was done. This provides an added layer of security for content and ensures that it undergoes all of the right quality assurance protocols. 

Track Changes

Sometimes brands can get confused as to who was the last person to edit a piece of content or if it’s ready for the last person to review. Tracking changes makes it easy to see who the last editor was and allows published content to revert to a previous version for another step in the process. This can be useful when updating blog content over the years to ensure that all required changes have been made. 

Preview and Compare

Content versioning can be combined with previewing to determine if changes made will still align with brand guidelines and customer expectations. dotCMS also offers side-by-side comparisons to make the editing experience even more streamlined.

Approvals and Workflow Management

Every content team relies on some form of approvals and workflow management. Content versioning is a critical element in managing content workflows. For marketing campaigns with departments spanning multiple countries, time zones, and digital channels, content versioning helps ensure proper approval processes and more.  

Versioning Use Cases


Financial institutions and others in the banking industry may need to show snapshots of their website at a particular time or date to determine if deposits or transfers were registered. Version control enables them to do this easily. 

Legal Challenges

Content versioning can be useful for battling digital legal challenges. Rolling back to a previous version of a piece of content can be critical for compliance. 


Content versioning helps ecommerce and retail companies know what the price of a product was at a particular point in time. This can be useful when launching new products, unveiling product campaigns, and more.

Content Versioning Using dotCMS

Digital campaigns nowadays are extremely complex with numerous people involved. They require coordination of multiple touchpoints along the customer journey and the help of several people to be successful. 

With dotCMS, you can easily create and manage sophisticated, multi-step workflows without worrying about extensive ones, thanks to our NoCode tooling and capabilities. One of these capabilities is our content versioning Time Machine, which fits seamlessly with our flexible and extensible workflow and approval features. 

Utilizing these features will help your brand maintain consistency across its various touchpoints and allow companies in controlled content industries to impose strict governance rules. The intuitive drag-and-drop interface in workflows allows for the simple creation and editing of custom workflow schemes. 

dotCMS also makes your overall content governance much simpler through four-eye approvals, which require two or more approvals before content can be published, custom actions, and action groups to extend workflow actions or allow a single action to trigger multiple subactions that streamline your workflow processes. All of these features can be combined with content versioning and Time Machine to ensure that the right piece of content gets published every time. 

Discover more about how dotCMS does content versioning by reading about our Time Machine feature. 

Image Credit: Lukas Blazek
Victoria Burt
Director of Product Marketing
October 06, 2022

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