Soft Deletes

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Modules and plugins can add soft delete support to their components by following this guide.

All element types support soft deletes out of the box. See Element Types for information on how to make them restorable.

# Prepare the Database Table

Components that are soft-deletable must have a dateDeleted column in their database table. Rows that have a dateDeleted value will be considered soft-deleted.

// New table migration
$this->createTable('{{%mytablename}}', [
    // other columns...
    'dateDeleted' => $this->dateTime()->null(),

// Existing table migration

Tables containing soft-deletable component data should not enforce any unique constraints (besides a primary key). If yours does, you’ll need to remove them.

use craft\helpers\MigrationHelper;

// Stop enforcing unique handles at the database level
MigrationHelper::dropIndexIfExists('{{%mytablename}}', ['handle'], true, $this);
$this->createIndex(null, '{{%mytablename}}', ['handle'], false);

# Hard-Delete Rows When Their Time Is Up

Table rows that have been soft-deleted should only stick around as long as the softDeleteDuration config setting wants them to, and then be hard-deleted.

Rather than check for stale rows on every request, we can make this a part of Craft’s garbage collection routines.

craft\services\Gc (opens new window) will fire a run event each time that it is running. You can tap into that from your module/plugin’s init() method.

use craft\services\Gc;
use yii\base\Event;

public function init()

        function() {

hardDelete() (opens new window) method will delete any rows with a dateDeleted value set to a timestamp that’s older than the softDeleteDuration config setting.

If you need to check multiple tables for stale rows, you can pass an array of table names into hardDelete() (opens new window) instead.

# Update the Active Record Class

If the component has a corresponding Active Record (opens new window) class, you can add soft delete support to it by importing craft\db\SoftDeleteTrait (opens new window):

use craft\db\ActiveRecord;
use craft\db\SoftDeleteTrait;

class MyRecord extends ActiveRecord
    use SoftDeleteTrait;

    // ...

That trait will give your class the following features:

  • find() (opens new window) will only return rows that haven’t been soft-deleted (where the dateDeleted column is still null).
  • A findWithTrashed() (opens new window) static method will be added for finding rows regardless of whether they’ve been soft-deleted.
  • A findTrashed() (opens new window) static method will be added for finding rows that have been soft-deleted (where the dateDeleted column is not null).
  • A softDelete() method will be added that should be called instead of delete() (opens new window), which will update the row’s dateDeleted column to a current timestamp, rather than deleting the row.
  • A restore() method will be added for restoring a soft-deleted row by removing its dateDeleted value.

Internally, the trait uses the ActiveRecord Soft Delete Extension (opens new window) for Yii 2, which is implemented as a behavior (opens new window).

If your class already defines its own behaviors, you will need to rename the trait’s behaviors() (opens new window) method on import, and manually call it from your behaviors() method:

use craft\db\ActiveRecord;
use craft\db\SoftDeleteTrait;

class MyRecord extends ActiveRecord
    use SoftDeleteTrait {
        behaviors as softDeleteBehaviors;

    public function behaviors(): array
        $behaviors = $this->softDeleteBehaviors();
        $behaviors['myBehavior'] = MyBehavior::class;
        return $behaviors;

    // ...

If your class is overriding yii\db\ActiveRecord::find() (opens new window), you will need to add a dateDeleted condition to the resulting query yourself:


public static function find()
    // @var MyActiveQuery $query
    $query = Craft::createObject(MyActiveQuery::class, [static::class]);
    $query->where(['dateDeleted' => null]);
    return $query;

# Update the Rest of Your Code

Check your code for any database queries that involve your component’s table. They will need to be updated as well.

  • When selecting data from your table, make sure that you’re ignoring rows with a dateDeleted value.


    $results = (new \craft\db\Query())
        ->where(['dateDeleted' => null])
  • When deleting rows from your table using your Active Record class, call its new softDelete() method rather than delete() (opens new window).

  • When deleting rows from your table using a query command, call craft\db\Command::softDelete() (opens new window) rather than delete() (opens new window).

        ->softDelete('{{%mytablename}}', ['id' => $id])

# Restoring Soft-Deleted Rows

There are two ways to restore soft-deleted rows not yet hard-deleted by garbage collection:

  1. With your Active Record class, by calling its restore() method.
$record = MyRecord::findTrashed()
    ->where(['id' => $id])

  1. With a query command, by calling craft\db\Command::restore() (opens new window).
    ->restore('{{%mytablename}}', ['id' => $id])

See this Stack Exchange post (opens new window) for supporting custom element restores from the control panel.