How to Make WordPress Site Private – A Simple Step-By-Step Guide


Bart Keating


2019 February 6th


Whether you're looking to create a WordPress private blog, or you need to hide the components of your site that are still under development - you need to understand how to restrict external access to your WordPress site. 

While there isn't a built-in function to make your entire website private, WordPress does suggest some plugins that provide the settings you're looking for.

So, let's have a look at how can you do it.

Below you'll find the steps you need to take to make your WordPress site private:

  1. Select 'Add New' from 'Plugins' tab on the side menu of your WordPress dashboard
  2. Search for 'Force Login' plugin
  3. Select 'Install Now' on Force Login
  4. Select 'Activate' on Force Login
  5. (Additional Step) To Reverse This Action, select 'Deactivate' on Force Login

Step 1: Select 'Add New' from 'Plugins' tab

How To Make WordPress Site Private Step 1To begin the process, log in to WordPress and head over to the left-hand side of your WordPress dashboard.

 Scroll over the 'Plugins' button on the side menu and three selection options will appear. 

Click 'Add New', and this will redirect you to the WordPress plugin database.

Step 2: Search for 'Force Login' Plugin

Once the WordPress plugin database loads, use the search bar and type in 'Force Login.' Force Login is a free plugin that we’ll be using to restrict access to your website.

How To Make WordPress Site Private Step 2

Step 3: Select 'Install Now' on Force Login

How To Make WordPress Site Private Step 3Once Force Login appears in your search, look to the top right corner of the plugin - the button 'Install Now' will be present.

Click this button to begin the installation process and it will automatically install.

This process should only take a few seconds. 

Note: Keep in mind, there may be numerous plugins that appear when you search for Force Login, but make sure that you have selected the correct one (see above).

Step 4: Select 'Activate' on Force Login

When the plugin successfully installs, the 'Install Now' button will be replaced by an 'Activate' button. You need to click this to instantly make your site private.

Once activated, anyone wishing to visit your site will need to log in using approved WordPress credentials.

That means that when someone arrives at your website's URL, it will prompt them to log into the site without providing any access to your content.

So, unless they have a password, they aren't getting in!

Here is a screenshot of what visitors will see when they try to access your site when Force Login is activated.

How to Make WordPress Site Private Step 4

Step 5: (Additional) Reversing The Action and Deactivating 'Force Login'

If you want to make your WordPress site public again after you've installed Force Login, the process is simple.

On the main menu of your WordPress interface, scroll over the 'Plugins' menu item again.

You will then be able to select 'Installed Plugins.' Once you have opened the Installed Plugins page, a list of your currently installed plugins will appear.

Under 'Force Login,' there will be the option to 'Deactivate' the plugin - click this. Once the plugin has been deactivated, your page's visitors will no longer need a password to access your site's content.

How To Make WordPress Site Private Step 5


Alternative Number One: Making Specific Pages Private

If you don't want to make your entire website private, you can instead customize the settings of each post.

Making your entire site private is perfect if you want to make WordPress site private until launch, but if you only want a few posts hidden from public view, then there's an easy way to do this too.

However, for this process, you won't need to download any extensions to restrict the privacy of individual posts. WordPress allows you to access privacy settings directly if you only want to restrict your post's individual access.

Below, I'll explore the process in more detail:

  1. On the left-hand side of your WordPress dashboard, select 'All Posts.'
  2. Scroll over the title article and click 'Quick Edit'Scroll over the title of the article you want to change, a few options will appear below the name. The second option will be 'Quick Edit' - push this button to expand editing options for the selected article.How To Make WordPress Site Private Step 2.2
  3. Select the box that says 'Private' - At this stage, you're given the option to select a password or make the post entirely private. Use the password box if you want to set a custom password for the specific post (you don't need to enter your admin password). However, if you don't want anyone having access to the post, simply tick the private box.How To Make WordPress Site Private Step 2.3
  4. Once you’ve done that, click the “Update” button and the changes will be made.

Why Is It Important To Keep Your Pages Private?

If recent years suggest anything, it's that you need to be as careful as possible when you're online. Always be careful when you post anything to the web as it could quite easily have repercussions on your personal life or your business's reputation.

And so, making sure certain pages are only visible to the people from your inner circle, can do just that.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you that you found it easy to follow this guide to make your WordPress site private! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. 

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