Do you want to unpublish a page on your WordPress site?
Sometimes you may want to edit a page in private, or even delete that page from your website completely. Other times, you may want to hide a page from a specific group of users.
In this article, we’ll show you how you can easily unpublish a WordPress page, step-by-step.
Why Unpublish a WordPress Page?
When you’re building a WordPress website, you publish pages so visitors can see them.
However, there may be times when you want to unpublish a page so it’s no longer visible to the people who visit your website.
For example, maybe you’ve changed your mind about certain pages and want to take your WordPress blog in a new direction. You may have even accidentally published a draft and now want to unpublish it so you can continue working on it in private.
Over time, a post may also become outdated or no longer relevant. Many website owners archive old posts, or add an old post notification to the page header. However, if you plan to update a post then it’s a good idea to unpublish it instead, so it remains in the dashboard as a draft that you can edit.
WordPress makes it easy to unpublish pages, add a password, or even hide your posts from certain users.
With that said, let’s take a look at a few different ways you can unpublish a page on your WordPress website. Simply use the quick links below to jump to the method you want to use.
If you’d prefer written instructions, just keep reading.
Method 1: Unpublishing a Single WordPress Page (Quick and Easy)
Unpublishing a page lets you remove it from your website while still leaving you the option to edit the page and republish it later.
The simplest way to do this is by switching the page to a draft. This hides the page from your website visitors, but logged in users can still see the page in the WordPress dashboard. If you’ve noticed errors on the page or want to improve the content, then this is a great option.
To turn a published page into a draft, go to Pages » All Pages. Here, hover over the page and then click the ‘Edit’ link when it appears.
This will bring you to the page editor screen.
Here, click the ‘Switch to draft’ button at the top of the page.
This brings up a popup asking whether you’re sure you want to unpublish the post. Removing a live post from your site can cause broken links and may affect your WordPress SEO, so you’ll want to think about this carefully.
If the page you’re unpublishing ranks in the search engines and is bringing visitors to your site, then we recommend redirecting the URL to another relevant page, so you don’t lose SEO rankings. For more details, see our beginner’s guide to creating 301 redirects in WordPress.
If you’re happy to unpublish the post, then go ahead and click on the ‘Ok’ button.
This will turn the live post into a draft.
If you no longer need a page on your site, then you may want to delete it. This is similar to sending that page to the recycle bin on your computer.
To do this, click the ‘Move to trash’ button in the right hand menu, and WordPress will send that page to the trash.
By default, WordPress automatically deletes anything in the trash after 30 days so you still have time to change your mind. To recover a page, simply go to Pages » All Pages and then click on the ‘Trash’ link.
You’ll now see all the trashed pages that you can restore.
Note: If you’d like to stop WordPress from emptying the trash automatically, then you can follow our guide on how to disable automatic empty trash in WordPress.
Method 2: Unpublishing With the Bulk Tool (Best for Multiple Pages)
If you’re redesigning or moving a website to a new domain, then you might have lots of pages you no longer need or want to edit to reflect this major change.
Instead of unpublishing each page one at a time, you can unpublish or delete them all at once. To do this, simply go to Pages » All Pages and check the box next to all the pages you want to unpublish.
Next, click the ‘Bulk actions’ dropdown and select ‘Edit’.
Then, click on ‘Apply’.
You can now use the settings to edit all the selected posts. For example, you can turn them all into sticky posts or change the author if you’re running a multi-author blog.
To turn multiple live pages into drafts, open the ‘Status’ dropdown and select ‘Draft.’ Then, click on the ‘Update’ button.
If you prefer, then you can move multiple pages to the trash by opening the ‘Bulk options’ dropdown and selecting ‘Move to Trash.’
Then, simply click on ‘Apply’.
Method 3: Making a WordPress Page Private or Password Protected
Password protecting a page allows you to keep certain areas of your WordPress blog private.
This can be helpful if you want to create a separate area of your website for co-workers or members, or you’re building a client portal in WordPress. It can also be useful if you want to restrict access to a site while you’re working on it, so only approved testers, developers, and other team members can visit the site.
First, you need to open the page that you want to password protect. Then, click on the ‘Public’ button next to ‘Visibility.’
After that, select the ‘Password Protected’ button and type a password into the ‘Use a secure password’ field. Anyone with the password will be able to view this content so you should choose a secure password with letters, numbers, and symbols.
With that done, click the ‘Update’ button to save your changes.
Now, WordPress will ask visitors for a password before showing them this page.
Another option is to make the page private, so it’s only visible to logged in users with the Editor or Administrator user role in WordPress.
To do this, click on the ‘Public’ button next to ‘Visibility’ but this time select ‘Private.’
A popup will ask whether you want to make the page private.
Simply go ahead and click the ‘OK’ button.
Now, if you go to Pages » All Pages you’ll can see all your published, draft, password protected, and private pages at a glance.
The following image shows a published page, plus pages that are clearly marked as private and password protected.
Method 4: Making a WordPress Page Members Only
If you have a membership site, then you can hide a page based on the user’s membership level. Visitors who aren’t members will need to sign up to see the page, so this can be a great way to do collect email addresses and grow your email list.
You might even charge a fee for accessing your private, members-only content. In this way, you can make money online blogging with WordPress.
The best way to make a page members-only is with the MemberPress plugin.
It’s the best WordPress membership plugin and lets you create multiple subscriber levels, publish exclusive members-only content, and accept credit card payments on your WordPress website.
The plugin is very easy to use, and even lets you sell online courses, premium downloads, drip content, and much more.
It also has powerful access control features that let you restrict access to specific WordPress pages with just a couple of clicks.
For more details on restricting access to certain pages, see our guide on how to create a paywall in WordPress.
We hope this article helped you learn how to unpublish a WordPress page. You may also want to see our guide on how to create a free business email address and the best contact form plugins for WordPress.
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