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Easy guide on how to make your WordPress site private

Easy guide on how to make your WordPress site private

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Wondering how to make your WordPress site private knowing there is no built-in option to it? Read our guide and learn all about it!

Being online and sharing content is all about driving more traffic, visibility, engagement. But what happens when we want to be online but in a restricted manner? When we don’t want the whole world to read our content, interact with us, or whatever there is, we do online? Is there a way to restrict external access to your WordPress blog or a site? Yes! And it’s something we’ll explain in full details for you to learn and implement on your website.

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Why make your WordPress site private?

There are numerous reasons to keep your site content private and all to yourself or the people you want to grant access to it. For example:

  • You’re a lecturer and want to share your content specifically to your students and attendees
  • You work on a team project and don’t want anyone from outside of it to have access
  • You want a corporate employee’s related site they can access from wherever
  • You’re starting a family blog and want to keep it private for family members and friends only
  • You don’t want to use social networks to share your photos and videos with friends and family, so you start a private WordPress blog
  • You’re creating a new site (with one of our themes perhaps) and want to keep it hidden while it’s under construction

Or, maybe, you want to keep just a part of your blog or site private, while some others are open. In each case, we have a solution and guide, so sit back and enjoy some quality reading!

How to make your whole WordPress site private

First things first, WordPress doesn’t come with the built-in 100% private option. That’s where specific plugins come in handy, and it’s the way to make your blog or site private to a large group of people. So, you install a plugin, follow its steps, and get your site protected from Google and people you don’t want to see your site. But… With so many relatable plugins out there, we tested the best of them and here’s our recommendation.

All-In-One Intranet

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A freemium plugin that instantly turns your WordPress installation into a private corporate intranet. Upon installation, go to Settings to easily configure features:

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As you can see, there’s only one checkbox to deal with to make your whole WordPress site private, how cool is that! Only people with login credentials can see your site. Bonus features are login redirect setup, as well as auto logout for inactive users.

  • A free version is designed for a single-site WordPress installation. Premium version comes with more features, such as:
  • Multisite installs
  • Sub-site Membership
  • Sub-site Privacy
  • Email support
  • Automatic updates

The price starts at $25/year.

Force Login

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With more than 20.000 installations, Force Login is one of the most popular privacy plugins. It is a simple and lightweight plugin that requires visitors to log in to interact with the website. Once you install and activate it, you’re done! Your WordPress site is private, and only people with user permissions can access it! As easy as that 🙂

Force Login is WordPress Multisite compatible, customizable, translation ready, and WPML certified. With a little coding, you can bypass Force Login, define whitelist URLs, add exceptions and more, if you want it to.

It’s the most straightforward and most effortless WordPress private plugin for anyone. And when you change your mind about privacy, click on Deactivate button and your site is open to all.

My Private Site

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Similarly to Force Login, My Private Site also has more than 20.000 installations and a few more features in its sleeves. Once you install it, you need to click the Private Site checkbox to create a private site and only logged visitors can interact with your content. Once your website is private, regular people and search engines can only see:

  • Your site’s WordPress Login page;
  • Any selections in the Visible Exclusions section;
  • Any non-WordPress components of your web site, such as HTML, PHP, ASP or other non-WordPress web page files;
  • Images and other media and text files, but only when accessed directly by their URL, or from a browser’s directory view, if available.

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Now, talking about more features, you can further define what can users see once they login /Landing Location feature/.

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Moreover, you can even configure the Custom Login – if you use a custom login page on your blog or site. Some other features also include:

  • Visible Exclusions – if you want to make some parts of your website visible
  • Self-Registration – allows people to register to see your content

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Page Restrict

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A simple plugin that will enable you to restrict either the whole site or portions of it to only registered users. Page Restrict is easy to use; upon activation there are very few things to define in  Settings:

  • Define the restriction message
  • Restriction Method – all, none or selected
  • Page list – identify the pages that you want to restrict to logged in users
  • Post list – define the posts that you want to restrict to logged in users

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Choose your preferences, click Save Changes and your site (or part of it) is now set to private!

Subway

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Subway is a simple plugin that hides your content from non-logged in visitors. This plugin redirects the users to the provided login page with a login form that allows them to type their username/email and password combination. Once you install and activate it, go to Settings > Subway to configure details, such as login page, redirect options and such:

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Apart from setting the whole WordPress site private, you can choose to hide only individual pages or posts as well.

How to make a single WordPress page or a post private

In case you don’t need the whole WordPress site set up as private but rather create a private area or a password-protected page/post in WordPress, there are several ways to do so.

Whether it’s a page or a post you want to make private, you can do so from within WordPress Editor. Simply look for the Visibility feature under the Publish section in the right sidebar,

  • click Edit
  • choose Password protected or Private

and you’re done!

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In case you choose the Password protected option, WordPress will ask you to generate a secure password you can then share to people you want to view that page or a post.

Note: Bear in mind that certain website users, such as Editors and Administrators, can still access those private or password protected pages and posts. You can check out our recent post for more details on WordPress User Roles. If you need additional information about core content visibility, there’s an excellent post about it on WordPress.org depository you should check out.

The other way is to use plugins, of course. In addition to these few mentioned above, here are a couple more worth checking out.

Client Portal

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Unlike other plugins, Client Portal enables you to manage Page restrictions through User roles. What does it mean? Upon activation, you’ll find settings features under the Users dashboard where you can configure details such as:

  • Page Slug
  • Commenting
  • Restricted message
  • Default page content and such.

So, rather than making your pages and posts set to private, it’s the Users who don’t have full access to your site.

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It’s an excellent little plugin you can use to showcase the work you do for clients where they see only what’s done for them rather than the whole site or other clients work. Or, if you have specific links, images, files for download on your site, you can make them restricted for your clients only.

Private Content

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This plugin is easy to install, yet it comes with a bit of a learning curve as it works differently from the rest. Private Content provides a shortcode to display a part of post content to users of a specific role. What does it mean? Once you install the plugin, go to View details to understand how you can use shortcodes to make your WordPress site visible to the specific users. There you’ll find several shortcodes you can then implement on your pages and posts, to define which ones to make private.

WP Private Content Plus

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This is a freemium plugin that simplifies the process of protecting your site content from guests, members, specific user roles, or group of selected users. It comes with a detailed guide upon activation that guides you step-by-step through the process of restricting your posts and pages.

how-to-make-my-wordpress-site-wp-private-content-plus-screenshot

Main features include:

  • Restrict entire pages/posts/custom post types
  • Restrict content by User Roles
  • Restrict content by User groups
  • Restrict content by WordPress capabilities
  • Restrict Admin Menus and Features
  • Global post/page protection

And more.

Pro license comes with more control and features like:

  • Membership level management
  • Private page discussions
  • Private page file sharing
  • Advanced search restrictions
  • Private user page
  • Content and widget protection
  • bbPress and WooCommerce Product protection

and more.

The price starts at $49/year for personal use.

Wrapping up

There you have it. Now you know how to make WordPress site private until launch or for whatever other reason. The same goes for restrict access to specific posts and pages as well. Therefore, with these tools and features, you can now control and decide who can see your WordPress site and its content.

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If you have any additional doubts or questions about WordPress site visibility, or how to create and manage private pages, feel free to post a comment below. And eventually, do share your result of making your WordPress blog or site private!

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Ivana Cirkovic

Ivana is a Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media consultant with over nine years experience in the field. She is also a WordPress enthusiast and an active member of WordPress community who lives online almost 24/7. In love with Twitter, WP, photography and NYC.

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