Set up private pages in WordPress to protect the content from unwanted visitors. There are two ways to make your content private.
Password protected pages
To protect a WordPress page with a password, set the page visibility to “Password protected”.
Example password protected page
We setup an example of a password protected page so that you can test it yourself. Try to access the page with the password “opensesame“.
Private pages with user access restrictions
Pages can be private, with access only to specific users. There is a default setting for this in WordPress called “Private”, but we suggest taking it a step further with private groups.
The plugin groups allows you to organize users into groups, and restrict page access to those groups.
How to set up private pages with user access restrictions
- Install the plugin Groups.
- Setup a new group for private access.
- Assign that group to users you want to access private content.
- Restrict private pages to the private access group.
Private images and documents warning
Most private pages don’t completely protect your images and documents from being found. Someone with WordPress architecture knowledge could discover the files in your uploads folder. Another layer of security is required to make your images and documents private.
The page draft trick
I lied when I said there are two ways to make your content private. There is actually a third solution which is kind of a trick.
Instead of publishing pages and making them private, never publish them at all. Saving a page as a draft is a unique way to keep secret page accessible to admins of the website. Preview pages can be shared by URL, but the URLs are never accessible to search engines, spiders, or the public.
This is an informal way we can outsmart the risks of publishing private content online. But it lacks a sophistication we have come to expect from websites.
Private content is always at risk
Putting private content online in never truly 100% safe. We can use techniques to greatly lower the risk, but the only guaranteed safety precaution is to never put private content online in the first place. Always be careful and measure the risks.