You might be planning to rebrand or re-introduce your website with some major changes, or, as a personal blogger, just want to take a break to reassess where you want to take your website. There are various reasons why you would want to unpublish your website.
Unpublishing your WordPress website does not mean deleting it but rather pausing it for a while to make some improvements. In this case, most people suggest either deleting your website or unpublishing your posts one at a time. However, neither of these are effective methods! In this post, I'll show you a better way.
To learn how to unpublish your website, you first need to understand which kind of WordPress website you have. Your website could be based on either WordPress.org or WordPress.com.
Yes, even though these are both WordPress, the method of unpublishing your WordPress website for each of these platforms is different.
First things first, let’s understand the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
WordPress.org is the standalone version of WordPress that you can install on your own server. This is the most flexible way to work with WordPress, but it is more complex.
But it's not difficult at all, as you can see in our many courses and tutorials about using WordPress.
WordPress.com lets you build a website with a WordPress instance hosted on their servers. What this means is that you don't have to have your own server to install the software. You'll be using their platform.
This option is the easier of the two as it removes the more technical aspects of working with WordPress—installing the software and maintaining a server.
If Your Website Is Hosted on WordPress.com
If your website is hosted on WordPress.com, the first step is to log in and go to My Sites, and select the site that you’re working with.
In the sidebar, go to Settings > General and 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:
If you 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.
So as you can see, unpublishing your WordPress website is easy if you’re working on WordPress.com.
However, the method is a little different if you own a self-hosted website. You will not find similar options in your Settings tab on a self-hosted website. So let’s have a look at how to unpublish a WordPress website hosted on WordPress.org.
If You Have a Self-Hosted Website
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.
You can choose if you want to have a Coming Soon page or maintenance notice up on your website while it is unpublished for some time. I am opting for the Coming Soon page.
I have chosen the first template, which is a simple page. You can create your own that communicates your brand voice. You can also choose from the available templates. Whichever option you go for, you have the freedom to choose what the coming soon page actually says.
Once you've finalized your choices, hit Save and Publish. You will have this page published as your webpage, and the rest of your website will go unpublished. This is how my coming soon page looked:
You can republish your website just by unpublishing this coming soon page.
That’s How to Unpublish Your WordPress Website
Unpublishing a WordPress site is often confused with deleting it. However, you might want to unpublish your website for a few days or weeks to make any major changes to it.
Whether you have a self-hosted WordPress site or a site hosted on WordPress.com, it is very easy to unpublish it. For a self-hosted WordPress website, you need a plugin that unpublishes your website. On the other hand, for WordPress.com, you have the option of unpublishing your site in the privacy settings.
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:
I hope this tutorial cleared your confusion and guided you on how to unpublish your WordPress website.