If you are a WordPress website owner, you know there may be times when you might want to unpublish a post or page. There are numerous possible reasons why you may want to remove some content from your site. It could be due to maintenance, privacy, editing, or any other reason. Whatever the cause, it’s essential to know how to unpublish WordPress pages or posts without deleting them.
There are several ways to unpublish your WordPress website. As experts, we will sail you through the various techniques of how to achieve this. So without further ado, let’s dig deeper into the topic!
To learn how to unpublish your WordPress page or post, you must first understand which type of WordPress site you have. In this regard, your website can either be based on WordPress.com or WordPress.org.
Yes, though they are both WordPress, the process of unpublishing your content on each of these platforms is slightly different.
First things first, let me explain the major difference between WordPress.com and its WordPress.org counterpart.
So, what’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
This is the standalone version of WordPress that you can download and install on your one server. It offers the most flexible way to use WordPress, though it can be a bit more complex. It is open-source software and is free for virtually anyone to use. You only need to have a domain name and web hosting. Perhaps this is why it’s often referred to as self-hosted WordPress.
With WordPress.org, you basically have complete control of your website and can do anything you want and customize the website as much as you would want. Among other things, you can add paid, free as well as custom WordPress plugins or applications to your website.
WordPress.com is a service that allows you to create a website using WordPress software with managed hosting. What this means is that you don’t need to have your own server to install the software as you will be using their platform.
As you may have guessed, this option is relatively easy because it eliminates the more complex aspects of working with WordPress such as installing the software as well as the server maintenance.
How to unpublish Pages or posts on a website hosted on WordPress.com
Method one: Draft the WordPress Page or Post
It is imperative to note that drafting your published content on WordPress makes it inaccessible to the visitors to your website. But the admin or anyone else with access to the WordPress panel can the draft post or page.
Below is the procedure to follow when drafting WordPress Page/Post in Classic Editor:
- Log in to your WordPress website dashboard.
- Next, click on Posts and subsequently select the page or post you are looking to unpublish.
- Look for the Publish section on the right sidebar and look for the Status option under the options.
- Next, click on the Edit link section.
- Next, choose the Draft option.
- Select the Update button. This will automatically update your page to a draft.
If you are currently using the updated version of WordPress, you can achieve the same results using Block Editor. Follow the below procedure:
- Log in to the dashboard on your WordPress site.
- Navigate to Post and select the post or page you want to unpublish.
- After this, click on Edit.
- Locate the Switch to Draft option at the top section and click on it.
- Next, select the OK button and confirm you want to unpublish the page or post.
By correctly following the above procedures, you would have successfully unpublished the page or post from your site. Your audience will no longer view that particular post. The page’s URL will display a 404 error message. But as already explained, the admins will still be able to view the page or post.
How to unpublish many posts or pages on your WordPress website
Of course, you can also unpublish bulk pages from your website. You only need to follow the below instructions:
- As usual, log in to your WordPress dashboard.
- Next, click on Posts and then select All Posts.
- Select the posts you would want to unpublish.
- After selecting the pages or posts, click Edit on the drop-down menu.
- Select Apply.
- Locate the Status, click on it and choose the Draft option.
- Click on the Update button to save the changes.
Method two: Private the page/post on your WordPress Website
This is another great option to hide your pages and posts from all your potential visitors. However, it’s worth noting that with this method, your logged-in members are still able to view the unpublished pages. On the other hand, those logged out will only see the 404 error message. Follow the below procedure to execute this procedure:
- As usual, log in to your WordPress website’s dashboard.
- Click on Posts and choose the page or post you are looking to unpublish.
- Identity the Publish section on the right menu.
- Click on the Visibility option and select Private.
- Now, click on the Update option and you are done!
Method three: Password-protect posts or pages on your WordPress website
If you want to protect your WordPress page or post using a password, WordPress provides you the in-built functionality to achieve exactly that. You can also activate this feature through the Visibility setting.
You can access the VIsibility setting inside the content WordPress editor. Follow the below procedure to achieve this:
- Navigate to your posts/pages section. Now open the WordPress editor for the type of content you want to password-protect.
- Choose the Password Protected from the drop-down menu.
- Next, enter the password that you want to use to view that particular page or post and subsequently save the changes made.
After updating the desired changes, all your visitors who want to view the protected content will be required to first enter the password before they are permitted to access the page. Once a visitor enters the correct password, they will view the post.
How to unpublish WordPress website posts or pages on a self-hosted platform (WordPress.org)
You can do all of the methods above to hide or unpublish a single post on your self-hosted WordPress.
With self-hosted platforms, there are no default privacy settings as with WordPress.com to unpublish the entire website. And this implies that you will have to download and install the plugin to successfully unpublish your WordPress website.
WordPress offers a number of incredible plugins to help its users unpublish their site. To download a particular plugin, simply navigate to the Plugins section in the menu bar of the dashboard of your website and look for Maintenance Mode, Coming Soon, or Under Construction plugins.
Even though there are several WordPress plugins that can help you temporarily unpublish content from your site, all of them will always feature three basic functionalities, including:
- Coming Soon Page: This option allows search engines to index your website before it goes live. It will inform your potential visitors that your website is currently under construction.
- Maintenance Mode: This option is commonly used when you are making small alterations to your WordPress website. It will signal a 503 notification to search engines that the downtime is only temporary.
- Disable the website: This particular option will display a 404 error or the page not found error to your audience.
You should choose a plugin equipped with the specific features you are looking for!
Unpublishing the whole website
Besides pages or posts, you can also unpublish your entire website! Below are two proven options to consider.
Tell Google not to index your WordPress website
- Log in to your WordPress website dashboard.
- Navigate toward Settings and click on the Reading options.
- Navigate to the Search Engine Visibility option and check the box.
However, with this technique, your website will remain visible if in case it’s linked from other websites, or if your visitors know the URL. Also, this could take a while for the search engines to find your new settings, there are ways to make Google remove your website from the index faster. But that’s for another article.
Password Protect the entire WordPress website
To effectively hide your entire website, follow the below procedure:
We have already talked about unpublishing your WordPress page using the password protection option. Now let’s use the same procedure to unpublish the entire website:
- Log in to your dashboard as usual.
- Navigate to Plugins and select Add New.
- Look for the Password Protect WordPress plugin. Continue by installing and activating the plugin.
- Search for Password Protect WordPress on your admin panel and select it.
- Click on the Entire Website option.
- Scroll down toward the Password Protect Entire Website section.
- Create your password and click on the Save Changes button.
This option will lock your entire website and will discourage search engines from indexing the site as well.
So, how does unpublishing a WordPress page or post affect your site’s SEO ranking?
There are a few crucial things to understand before you unpublish any content from your WordPress website. It’s important to note that when you unpublish a particular page or post from your site, the URL will indicate a 404 error (page not found).
As you already know, no visitor loves to end up on this page and will highly likely leave your site immediately and probably turn to your competitor’s website to find whatever he/she is looking for.
It’s imperative to note that though you temporarily removed the page, if it is still indexed or simply found by crawlers, it will be available in search results. For instance, if Google indexed the unpublished post and already ranks for some position, the page will be saved by Google and be displayed each time someone searches a keyword related to it. And you certainly don’t want to have a dead’ page that pops up in search results and then leads nowhere!
And this is why it is highly advisable that you redirect the URL of the unpublished page to some other published page. This will ensure your visitors don’t end up on the 404 page but on the related page, you choose instead. Google recommends that you choose a page that has the same or similar information as the unpublished one. It advises against redirecting to your homepage or even a category page!
Unpublishing your WordPress page or post doesn’t mean deleting it entirely but rather hiding it for some period to make some necessary adjustments. We have provided you with various techniques on how to successfully hide your website, a page, or pages on your website. Depending on your needs and preference, you can use any of these methods to achieve your goals!