How can I make a page private in WordPress?

Whenever you publish a post or page in WordPress, its visibility is set to Public by default. Did you know that there are three different visibility settings for any post or page you publish in WordPress?

In this quick tip, I’ll show you how to create a page or publish a private post in WordPress.

Several visibility options

I’d like to start with a quick rundown of the different options for page or post visibility. As I said before, there are three visibility options and they are:

  • Public: This will make the post accessible to everyone and is also the default.
  • Password protected: This will protect the post or page with a password and make it accessible only to those who enter the correct password.
  • Private: Private posts and pages in WordPress are only visible to website administrators and editors.

Now let’s see how we can make a post private to limit its visibility.

Make a page or post private in WordPress

There are two places where you can find the option to make a post or page private in WordPress. Let’s say you want to make previously published posts private.

The first step would be navigating to Messages> All messages from the admin dashboard. You will then see a lot of posts. Hover your mouse over any of the items in the post and you’ll see some links. Click on Quick edit link.

Quick edit button in WordPressQuick edit button in WordPress

This will open up a bunch of quick edit settings. Look for a checkbox that says Private and click on it. Now, click Update button and the post will become private.

Quick edit settings for postsQuick edit settings for postsQuick edit settings for posts

Another way to make a post private in WordPress is to click Change link and then the Settings icon in the upper right corner. You will see a visibility option set to Public by default. Click on it and you will find three options. To select Private and then click OK at the next prompt which will ask you to post the post privately now.

Edit the post settings pageEdit the post settings pageEdit the post settings page

What happens if someone tries to visit a private page by entering their direct link in the browser? In this case, they will say a page not found error as shown below.

Error not found on private pagesError not found on private pagesError not found on private pages

Implications of making a page private in WordPress

One obvious thing is that private pages are not visible to regular visitors to your website. They will simply get a Page Not Found error when they try to visit the URL directly.

There are a few other points worth keeping in mind:

  1. Private posts will only be visible to editors and administrators of a WordPress website. They also need to be logged in to their account to access private content.
  2. Any private posts will be visible to all editors and administrators of the website and not just those who have made the post private. They will also be able to make changes to the content of these posts or even make them public.

Final thoughts

After reading this post, you should now have a basic understanding of the difference between all visibility states of a post or page in WordPress. You should also feel comfortable changing the status of any page privately and understand the implications of doing so in general and on a website with multiple editors.

If you want to make your content visible only to paid subscribers of your site, consider using a subscription plugin.

A subscription plugin will help protect your content by putting it behind a paywall and making it available to members rather than everyone online.

This means you can create and manage paid content subscriptions that allow your users to log in to access exclusive content depending on their membership level.

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