How to Make WordPress Site Private

I am having some private thoughts so it got me asking: how do I make my WordPress site private?

The preliminary questions are:

  • Do you want to make your entire WordPress site private? or
  • Do you only want to make specific pages/posts private?

Let’s deal with this a step at a time.

Note: This article on how to make WordPress Private is for self-hosted WP (WordPress) installations. Those who are hosted with already have a means of making their entire site private in their Settings >> Reading page.

How to Make Entire WordPress Site Private

At this time of writing, there does not seem to be a simple, innate way to make your self-hosted WordPress site private.

However, there is a plugin.  Private Only plugin seems to be widely used, with high user ratings, and well recommended.

I won’t go into the details of this plugin.  That is because I found a simple, well-written, succinct, & recommended article that already sufficiently covers what we might need to know: “How to Make a WordPress Blog Completely Private” by Joe Foley at

Prevent Search Engines from Indexing Site

Note: if you also do not want your site to be indexed (found) by search engines, then it is recommended that you specifically set this at:

Settings >> Reading > check “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”

Difference Between WordPress Password Protected vs Private Pages

If you are trying to control the visibility of specific pages or posts in WordPress, you really have 2 choices.  And no need for plug-ins.

You can:

  • password protect specific pages/posts
  • make the specific pages/posts private

What is the difference between password protected pages/posts and private pages/posts?

Password Protected Pages/Posts

What a WordPress Password Protected page looks like to public

What a WordPress Password Protected page looks like to public

Public will still be able to see the title of the page/post and some basic data (e.g. author, date of publication).  They will also see a form informing them that the content is password protected.  If known, the user can enter the password to access the page/post.

Note: users with Editor or Administrator roles can still view password protected and private pages once they have logged into the WP admin.

Private Page/Post

A private page/post is completely invisible to the public.  They see no hair nor hide of it.  Not even if they know the URL of the page/post.  If they type in the URL, they will be taken to a 404 Error Page Not Found page.


How to Make a Page/Post Password Protected or Private

The good thing is that you will need no additional plugins to be able to password protect your page/post or to make it private.  That feature is part and parcel of your core WP installation.

On the downside, you will have to remember to do it specifically for each page/post.  (The default page visibility is “Public”.)  And if your are password-protecting, you must enter the password(s) each time you want to password protect it/them.  (So if you are password protecting a number of pages/posts and have different passwords for each of them, … well that is a whole new level of headache isn’t it?!)

WordPress - making a page private or password protected

WordPress – making a page private or password protected

Whenever you create or edit a page/post, you can choose to make that page password protected or private.  It is usually at the top right of the screen under “Publish”.

If not expanded, next to Visibility: Public there will be an “Edit” hyperlink.  Click to expand.

You will then see a number of options with regards to the visibility features of the specific page you are working on.  (Refer to image shown here.)

You can then choose to password protect that page or just make it completely private.


Sidenote:  In this article, I have at times gotten tired of writing “page/post”.  I am using “page” interchangeably to mean “post” as the discussion here applies to either equally.



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