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How to Unpublish Your WordPress Site

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Have you ever needed to unpublish your WordPress website, without actually deleting it? In this quick tip tutorial I’ll explain exactly how to do it.

Unpublish Your WordPress Site

Here’s a complete video version of this quick tip. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel for tutorials, free courses, and more!

Unpublishing your website (but not deleting it) can be useful when you need to make changes or updates, and you don’t want what you’re doing to be publicly visible while you make sure everything is working properly.

It’s actually very simple to do, whether you’re hosting on wordpress.com or self-hosting; let’s explore both scenarios.

If Your Website is Hosted on WordPress.com

If your website is hosted on wordpress.com the first step is to login and go to My Sites, and select the site that you’re working with.

In the sidebar go to Manage > Settings then scroll down to Privacy. There, you’ll see the Coming Soon, Public, and Private options. 

If you select Coming Soon your website will show a standard page generated by WordPress, like this:

coming soon

If you were to change the option to Public your website will be open as normal. If you change it to Private, your website will be locked, but visible to you and certain logged in users.

Private

So as you can see, unpublishing your WordPress website is easy if you’re working on wordpress.com.

If Your WordPress Website is Self-Hosted

If your WordPress website is self hosted you don’t have the same privacy settings by default as with wordpress.com. Instead, you can use a plugin to achieve the same thing.

Go to Plugins > Add New and search for Coming Soon, or Maintenance.  There are so many plugins with this kind of functionality, but we’ll take a look at the very popular Coming Soon Page, Under Construction & Maintenance by SeedProd.

Coming Soon Page Under Construction  Maintenance

Install and Activate the plugin. Then under SeedProd > Settings you’ll find the General section, where you have the following options:

  • Disabled (nothing happens)
  • Coming soon mode (which displays a coming soon holding page)
  • Maintenance mode (which displays a maintenance holding page)

These holding pages are customizable, so you can use your own branding, and tailor the message depending on the situation.

That’s How to Unpublish Your WordPress Website

If you’re self-hosting there are many plugins which achieve the same sort of thing we looked at here. Check out our tutorial on using JetPack for WordPress which has its own solution:

Learn More About Using WordPress

Take a look at our other tutorials which explain how to use all aspects of WordPress, from beginner level upwards:

Resources and Useful Links

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