There may be occasions when you need to restrict access to your website and want to hide it from the users. Whether due to changing circumstances, rebranding, or a temporary suspension of services or content updates.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore different methods to unpublish your WordPress site and provide step-by-step instructions to help you navigate the process with ease.
Things You Should Consider While Unpublishing Your WordPress Website
When unpublishing your WordPress website, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Here are some key points to consider:
1. Backup Your Website
Before unpublishing your WordPress website, it’s crucial to create a complete backup of all your website’s files and databases.
This ensures that you have a copy of your website’s content and data in case you need to restore or migrate it in the future.
2. Inform Your Users
If your website has active users or subscribers, it’s important to communicate the decision to unpublish the website in advance.
Notify them through email, social media, or any other communication channels you have established.
Provide information on why the website is being unpublished, any alternative platforms they can connect with, or any relevant updates.
2. Preserve Your Content
Decide whether you want to permanently delete your website’s content or preserve it for future use.
If you plan to use the content elsewhere or migrate it to another platform, ensure you have copies of all the text, images, videos, and other media files associated with your website.
3. Disable Indexing
To prevent search engines from crawling and indexing your website’s pages after it is unpublished, consider implementing a “noindex” meta tag or using the “discourage search engines from indexing this site” option in WordPress settings.
This will help prevent your unpublished content from appearing in search engine results.
Note: If your website is ranking and you don’t want to lose the ranking then don’t de-index the website.
4. Manage Redirects
If you have a new website or if you plan to redirect visitors to another relevant webpage, set up appropriate redirects.
This helps guide your existing website visitors to the new destination and minimizes the impact on user experience. Redirects can be implemented through plugins or using server-side configurations.
5. Retain Domain Ownership
Ensure that you maintain ownership of the domain associated with your WordPress website, even if it is unpublished. Renew your domain registration before it expires to prevent it from being taken by someone else.
6. Secure Sensitive Information
If your unpublished website contains sensitive information, such as user data or confidential content, ensure that it is properly secured.
Consider removing or anonymizing personally identifiable information (PII) and protecting any remaining data with strong encryption.
7. Monitor Website Security
Even if your website is unpublished, it’s still essential to monitor its security. Keep your WordPress core, themes, and plugins up to date to mitigate any potential security vulnerabilities.
Consider installing a security plugin to provide additional protection against unauthorized access or malware attacks.
8. Plan for Future
Assess your long-term plans for the website. If you intend to relaunch it or use the domain for another purpose, consider developing a strategy for future website development or content migration.
This includes determining whether you’ll use the same CMS (such as WordPress) or explore other options.
Remember, before unpublishing your WordPress website, carefully evaluate your decision and the impact it may have on your users, content, and future plans. Take appropriate measures to ensure the security of your data and communicate any changes to your audience effectively.
3 Methods to Unpublish Your WordPress Site
There are 3 easy and simple methods to unpublish your WordPress website. These methods are equally effective in different scenarios.
1. Maintenance Mode or Coming Soon Plugin
One popular method to unpublish your WordPress website is by using a maintenance mode or a coming soon plugin. These plugins allow you to display a temporary page to visitors, informing them that your site is undergoing maintenance or will be launching soon.
To activate this method:
- Install and activate a maintenance mode or a coming soon plugin from the WordPress plugin repository.
- Customize the temporary page with a personalized message and relevant information.
- Configure the plugin settings to restrict access to the rest of your site while displaying the temporary page.
2. Password Protection
Password protecting your site is another effective way to restrict access during the unpublishing period. This method adds an extra layer of security by requiring visitors to enter a password before accessing any part of your site.
Here’s how you can implement password protection:
- Install a password protection plugin or use the built-in functionality provided by your web hosting control panel.
- Configure the plugin settings or control panel to enable password protection for your site.
- Set a strong password and consider providing it only to authorized users who need access.
3. Disabling Search Engine Indexing
To reduce the visibility of your site during the unpublishing period, you can discourage search engines from indexing your content. By enabling this setting, search engines are less likely to display your site in search results.
Follow these steps to disable search engine indexing:
- Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
- Navigate to “Settings” > “Reading.”
- Check the box that says “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.”
- Save the changes, and search engines will be notified not to index your site actively.
Re-publishing Your WordPress Site
Once the unpublishing period is over, it’s time to bring your WordPress site back online. Follow these steps to reverse the unpublishing process:
- Deactivate or remove any plugins or settings that were used to unpublish the site.
- Update the temporary pages with relevant content or remove them altogether.
- Test the site’s functionality and accessibility across different devices and browsers.
- Double-check privacy settings and ensure that all restrictions have been removed.
Unpublishing a WordPress site can be a strategic decision to manage changing circumstances or optimize your online presence.
By following the outlined methods and steps, you can ensure a smooth transition from a public-facing site to a temporarily restricted or offline state.
Remember to prioritize security, maintain clear communication with your visitors, and always have a backup of your site’s data.