Ever noticed how sometimes you can’t read all the articles on your favorite news site without subscribing?
You can do the same thing on your own website using WordPress private pages and posts.
It’s not just for news, there are actually lots of reasons you might need a WordPress private page.
You may want to show content only to specific people, or you need to hide from everyone except yourself.
It’s a very powerful feature. If you do it right, you get to decide who sees what on your website and perhaps make a little money while you do it.
In this tutorial, we’ll show you both the basic and advanced methods, so you can control your website like a pro.
Think of a private page like a private club where only people with permission can get inside.
For example, if you have a community website, you might want to share exclusive deals with the folks who pay to be members and not the general public.
The same goes for online courses – you’d want your lessons to be just for your students and not for everyone.
Even if someone has the link to your private page, they can’t see what’s there unless they have permission
On a WordPress site, there are different roles that have the power to create exclusive pages.
Before we dive deeper, let’s talk about different roles on a WordPress website:
- Administrator: They can do anything on the website – add, change, or delete pages or posts, manage users, and more.
- Editor: Editors can work on posts, but they can’t add new themes or plugins.
- Author: Authors can only work on their own posts and publish them, not someone else’s.
- Contributor: They can write and edit posts but can’t publish them.
- Subscriber: Subscribers can just log in and look at the site. For instance, a website that only allows subscribers to access the content. This can be such a useful role.
Only Administrators and Editors have the power to see, edit, and delete private pages. The administrator is the one who can decide who gets these special permissions in the first place.
So, unless the setting changes from “Private” to “Public,” private pages are accessible only to a select few.
There are two popular methods to create private pages and posts in WordPress.
One is a core feature and the other is through a plugin – SureMembers in this case.
Let’s make a WordPress private page!
You have two ways to control who gets to see your posts and pages using the built-in features in WordPress.
You can make them private or protect them with a password.
Let’s try both methods:
For this method, you need to open a page in editing mode.
Inside the WordPress admin area, go to Pages > All Pages and open the page you want to restrict access to.
We have an existing page “Members Only” on our website. You can open any existing page or create one as you like.
On the right side of the block editor, you will find two pages, Block and Page.
Under the Page, go to Visibility and change the value from Public to Private.
You may come across a notification to confirm your choice. Press the OK button to change the status to Private.
Now the page is private. Press the Update button on top to save changes.
Now the page is no longer available to the public.
It’s now a WordPress private page and will not show anywhere on your website.
If someone with the URL tries to open the page they will see “This page doesn’t seem to exist”, and won’t be able to see the content.
Only admins or editors can see this page in their web browser.
However, they’ll see the word “Private” before the page title.
If you want to password protect a page, you can do that too.
This can be useful when you need to share a draft of a press release with your team before making it public. There are many other possible uses too.
The process is similar to the previous method, but the outcome is a bit different.
Select Password Protected in the block editor this time rather than Private.
Choose a strong password and share it with the people who you want to have access to the page.
Once you’re finished, click the Update button.
Now, whether you open this page as an administrator, editor, or with any other user role, you’ll find the content protected.
Only those with the password will be able to unlock and view it.
These are simple solutions that have their uses, but they do have their drawbacks.
For instance, if someone shares the password with someone who shouldn’t have access, they can freely access your content.
Also, if someone picks a weak password that’s easy to guess, it can make the content vulnerable.
While using WordPress’s built-in features to limit access to pages and posts may seem straightforward, it comes with certain drawbacks:
Setting up WordPress private pages with SureMembers is quite straightforward, and the advantages are significant.
This method offers full control over your entire website content and who gets to see what. This is particularly valuable for websites where managing memberships and page access is vital for business.
Regardless of the size of your website or the number of pages and posts it contains, you can control who sees what with just a few clicks.
Once you have set up SureMembers, you’re ready to begin.
To start, we’ll create an access group to handle all the access restrictions and related settings.
To do this, go to the SureMembers menu in the left sidebar of your admin area and click on the Add New button.
The next screen will take you to the access group page where you can configure everything as needed.
Give your group a name.
Select the Protected Content section and choose which part of your site you want to protect or hide. You can make single or multiple selections here.
You can choose to protect the entire website, all posts, all pages, all taxonomies, or specific items.
In our case, we want to hide the “Events” and “Book Launch” pages.
To do this, we will select the Specific Pages/Posts/Taxonomies, etc. option.
You’ll notice two fields appear underneath.
One is for including specific pages, and the other is for excluding specific pages.
For example, if you only want to protect a couple of pages, you can include them specifically here.
If you want to protect your whole website except your homepage and contact page, it’s easier to select All Pages and exclude those few you don’t want to protect.
In the first field, select the pages you want to hide by typing in their names, which are Events and Book Launch for this example
Now we need to let SureMembers know what to do when someone tries to access these pages.
In the right column, you’ll find a couple of options:
1. Unauthorized Access: You can either display a custom message to the user or redirect them to a specific location, whether it’s inside your website or an external site.
This is handy if you want users to sign up or take some action before they can access the content.
You’ve probably seen this on popular news websites where you’re redirected to a signup page.
We’ll discuss how to set this up shortly.
2. Expiration: You can set a deadline or specify the number of days your content should remain inaccessible. After that period, it will automatically become public.
This is useful if you’re planning to launch a product on a specific date or release an exclusive story at a certain time.
Now, let’s get back to our task!
If you want to redirect users to your homepage when they try to access hidden pages, click on Choose action for unauthorized access and select Redirect.
Type Home or a specific URL.
If you also want to set an expiration date for the access group, enter the relevant values in the Expiration section below.
Don’t forget to enable Access Group Expiration.
After you’ve configured this, click the Save Access Group button.
Now, try to access those hidden pages in an incognito window in Chrome or a private window in Safari.
Your page will be redirected to the homepage.
If you prefer to display a custom message when someone tries to access hidden pages, go to the Unauthorized Access section and select Message.
You’ll find more advanced options here.
Add your custom message and decide whether SureMembers should display a registration button.
Once you’re satisfied, save the changes.
Based on what we’ve set up earlier, someone trying to access the hidden page will see your custom message.
You have the flexibility to show whatever message you want.
There are also more advanced features on this page, such as drip content, downloads.
While they’re not covered in this article, they can be quite useful.
Watch this video to learn more about SureMembers features.
SureMembers is packed with features that you might need for your membership website, or any website for that matter!
In the SureMembers menu, just click on the small settings icon in the top right corner.
From here you can:
1. Redirect users when they log in or log out.
2. Control which roles can access the admin area.
3. Customize your login URL to prevent unauthorized access.
4. Personalize your entire login page.
5. Set login restrictions, like blocking login attempts after a certain number.
6. Modify login labels throughout your site to give it a custom look.
You can see how these login customization options can strengthen your website’s security. Customizing labels is particularly handy when you’re building websites for clients.
You can use private and hidden pages on almost every type of website.
Here are some common examples:
It’s common for large companies to have internal websites with restricted access. These sites can contain lots of sensitive information that’s only meant for employees with the right credentials.
They might include internal documents, employee resources, and information that the company doesn’t want the public to have access to.
A lot of eLearning sites have private areas. That’s where they keep the course materials, quizzes, and resources and how they keep the learning materials exclusive.
Membership sites, like subscription-based forums or premium content platforms have private areas that you can only access if you’re a paying member.
These hidden pages can contain premium articles, discussion forums, and downloadable resources.
A lot of people have their own personal websites that include private pages where they can showcase their work, portfolio, or résumé to a few select people.
Such pages aren’t available to the public, because they may also contain personal information.
Event organizers sometimes use private or hidden pages on their websites to manage event details, participant lists, schedules, and other information that’s only for registered attendees or organizers.
There can be a number of more scenarios. The use of private pages is different for each individual and company.
Sometimes you can use them to maintain privacy, or sometimes to offer special content or resources to specific groups.
The possibilities are endless!
Still have questions?
What Is the Purpose of WordPress Private Post or Page?
Private pages and posts have some useful purposes. They allow tweaking content or design before publishing, they enable controlled product or service launches, where stakeholders can review before the public launch.
Private pages work for exclusive online communities protected by passwords. Companies use them to share internal guidelines, training, and other info not for public view. Also, personal bloggers may want to share thoughts selectively or keep blogs private.
Are WordPress Private Posts and Pages Good for Sensitive Information?
WordPress private posts and pages are great tools for sharing information only with a select group of people but you shouldn’t use them for sensitive information.
While they are only viewable by certain users, they are still accessible on the internet. This means they can potentially be accessed through brute force attacks or other methods.
How Do I Grant WordPress Private Page Access to Non-Privileged Roles?
It’s very easy to grant WordPress private page access to non-privileged roles with the SureMembers plugin. You can create a new role or use the existing one from the SureMembers admin area.
Then add this role to the access group. Users with this role will always be able to access the WordPress private pages and posts.
What Are WordPress Private Blogs?
WordPress private blogs are just like your personal online journals. They have regular blog posts but they’re not visible to the general public.
For example, if you’re starting a blog, you might want to write a few posts privately before making them public. Some folks use private blogs to record their thoughts, feelings, and personal stories, like an online diary meant only for themselves to reflect on their journey through life.
Private blogs can also be a fantastic way to share family news, photos, and updates with close relatives or friends. It’s like keeping things within your family circle, where you decide who gets to see what.
Can We Make Media Items Private?
When you add an image to a private page or post in WordPress, it’s not easily discoverable by the public since it has its own unique URL.
Although someone could potentially access it with the right URL, the odds of this occurring are quite low. So, while it’s a possibility, it’s not something to stress over.
Creating WordPress private pages and posts is incredibly useful, whether it’s for a membership site, a blog, an online store, or consultancy.
It allows you to hide specific content from specific people or everyone.
However, the tools available in WordPress are quite basic. If you want to enhance security and convenience, you might consider using a plugin like SureMembers.
They offer more control and simplify the management of who can access different parts of your website.
Now, which method do you prefer using, and why? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
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