Suppose you were searching for a way to make your WordPress site private, then you have come to the right place. Even if you want to have a public site but with private pages and posts in it.
I will show you all how to do it. It’s not a complex thing to do, but it isn’t straightforward to non-tech savvy people. Hopefully, you will learn how to do it easily by following the instructions that I have made for you below.
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The Reasons for a Private WordPress Site
Having a private WordPress site or that it requires a password and username to see specific pages is not something unheard of in the online world. Whether it’s for strategic purposes or for personal ones, you have that option available at any time.
For example, you may have a part of your website that you want to be available to paying members only so that a specific page you make private for everyone and only visible for the members. This is a strategic use of this feature, and it works perfectly.
Another example that you may want the website to be private is if you have a team working on improving the look of the page or adding features. You make the site private and display an under maintenance sign for visitors while you perform these changes. This is done to avoid a bad user experience and ensures that when you publish the product, it’s well tested before.
Other Reasons Might Be
- A private blog sharing family events, pictures, etc.
- Private classroom website that is available to registered members only.
- A private page that is available to privileged members of a community only.
- Personal blog that you may rant in but want only your friends to be able to see it.
- A blog where you have paid articles hidden from the ones that are free.
- And many more reasons.
How to Make a WordPress Website Completely Private
Making a WordPress website completely private is done through the ‘My Private Site plugin‘ since there is no built-in feature that lets you do that. Just remember that when you make your site, private search engines aren’t going to be able to index it. This plugin will be available in WordPress Marketplace.
You can find the marketplace in the WordPress Dashboard panel by hovering over Plugins, which is on the left, and press the Add New button. When the next page loads, search for the plugin that I mentioned above and install and activate it.
After you install and activate the plugin successfully, you need to configure its settings. You can do that by going to ‘My Private Site’ in the left side panel of your Dashboard and there click on the Site Privacy option.
When the next page loads, you will see a Site Privacy option, you will need to enable it so that the privacy features that you want for your site become available. You can complete that action by checking the checkbox to the left of ‘Enable login privacy.’
The next tab is the ‘Landing Page’, and there you can choose what happens when users log in successfully to your website and where they will get redirected. You can have them go to the same URL they requested before logging in, redirect to the site’s homepage, to the WordPress Admin Dashboard, or you can redirect them directly to a specific website available for registered visitors.
The next tab is ‘Home Page,’ and from there, you can allow the homepage to remain visible and accessible to visitors without logging in or not. You can do that by checking the checkbox next to Site Home, as seen in the picture below.
The next tab I’m going to talk about is ‘Membership,’ and it has some important features. From there, you can choose whether users will be allowed to self-register or not. You can do that by checking both the checkboxes that you can see there.
Last but not least, let’s talk about the ‘Advanced’ tab, which is the last one. Under this tab, you can find a lot of different options for your site so let’s start with the Custom Login Page. If you check the checkbox on the side of the Custom Login Page, you will enable it.
After you have enabled this option, you can also use the settings from the ‘Landing Page’ tab to redirect users to the new custom login page. Just be careful because if you make a mistake here, you could get locked out of your website.
You also can change the login URL and add a password reset URL. If you are making changes in this tab, then these two are important to change as well. Remember that the URLs should start with the domain of your site then proceed to the custom part.
And lastly, you can allow the custom landing location for users who log in to your website. You can do that by checking the checkbox at the side of Custom Landing Location.
This option, under some specific circumstances, can lock you out of your site entirely. The visitors can’t see your site, and you can’t log back into the admin panel. That’s why you should be knowledgeable and should know that what you are doing is.
If you are unlucky and want to get back your site, you need to remove the plugin folder from your website by logging in with an FTP client.
You can find the folder in this location: /wp-contents/plugins/jonradio-private-site/
Remember that after every change in each tab, you should press the ‘Save Changes’ button. These are all the options that this plugin offers, and hopefully, now you have configured your website to your privacy likings.
Depending on the settings that you chose, users will be required to log in to see your homepage or not be able to see it at all. You can edit almost anything that you like from there, so take your time and figure out what you want.
How to Make Individual Pages or Blog Posts Private
To make an individual page or post private differently from what we saw above, it doesn’t need a plugin. It’s offered directly from the WordPress itself.
It’s really simple, and some of you might already know how to do this. Let’s start with making a page private or password protected.
Then from the WordPress Dashboard you need to go to Pages, and Add New. Or, if you already have one then press the edit button on the page that you want to modify the visibility. On the right, you will see the Publish section and from there, click edit on the Visibility option. As you can see from the picture above.
There are three options. Public which is self-explanatory, password-protected, and private. When you choose password protected, a new bar will be shown to you below where you can enter the password for the page.
After choosing the password, press the ‘Ok’ button and then ‘Update. Now, the only people that will be able to view that page are the ones have a password. When people navigate to the password-protected page, a pop-up will require them to enter the password to view the page.If you choose private instead, then you are limiting the people who are able to view the page. Example: visitors won’t be able to see the contents of the said page. Administrators and editors of your site will still be able to see it.
When a user who has no access to that page, some how stumbles across it, there will be a 404 missing page error shows. This assures the security and privacy of said page from unwanted visitors.
If you want a single blog post to be private, then the steps above for pages are exactly the same. You can have a password protected post or even make it private, whatever you want.
The best thing is that the functions of these two are the same, also. When the blog post is set to private, normal user can’t not be able to see it all. Only the ones that have access to your page as editors or administrators will see it. It will also have a private tag before the title.
If you followed through this article carefully, you would be able to make your WordPress website or blog completely private. From adding memberships to making individual pages or posts, private everything is here for you to learn.
It just depends on what your needs for your site are. Hopefully, I’ve made this process fairly easy for you, and for whatever question you may have regarding the article. Please don’t hesitate and ask me the questions down below.