How to Unpublish a WordPress Website (3 Methods)

How to Unpublish a WordPress Website


Have you ever wanted to take your WordPress site down temporarily? It’s possible that you need to update your website, make some adjustments, or decide to keep it private temporarily. Whatever the cause, taking your website down might be an easy fix.

WordPress’s well-known content management system powers more than 40% of websites. It makes sense that WordPress has emerged as the preferred platform for website owners, given its intuitive UI and adaptable themes. However, not everyone knows how to remove their WordPress website from publication when necessary.

Before pressing the “delete” button, there are a few things to consider if you want to unpublish your website. This post will walk you through the three methods you need to use to securely unpublish your WordPress website and offer advice on keeping it offline while you make changes.

    • Method #1: Unpublishing a Single Page
    • Method #2: Unpublishing Pages on Your WordPress Site
      • Unpublishing with the Bulk Tool
    • Method 3: Create a Members-Only WordPress Page

What is Unpublishing a WordPress Website?

Unpublishing a WordPress site takes your website offline, making it inaccessible to visitors and search engines. This entails making all content—posts, pages, media files, etc.—hidden or removed from public access. Unpublishing a website might happen for several reasons. The owner may have decided not to maintain the site anymore, or there may be maintenance or security concerns. On the other hand, you may hide a page from some users or completely delete it from your website.

Why WordPress Unpublish Page?

Having fresh content and updated information ensures visitors have valuable experiences. Unpublish a page if you’ve produced a draft and would like to make private revisions or if you unintentionally changed the direction of the document. Specific material may also become outdated over time. As a result, it would be better to archive it or indicate that the article has been out of the current.

Unpublish WordPress Site

Unpublishing a WordPress site can be beneficial for many reasons. Depending on the website’s purpose, unpublishing it could help protect business information, prevent unnecessary expense and upkeep, keep sensitive data secure, or reduce website traffic. Some of the most common reasons to unpublish a WordPress site include the following:

Maintenance: Updating or performing maintenance on your website may require you to unpublish it so that users cannot view it. This enables uninterrupted modification and updating.

Security: You can take your website down to shield it from harmful activity if you believe it has been hacked or are concerned about possible security risks.

Closure: Unpublishing a website may prevent visitors and search engines from accessing it if you no longer use it and do not intend to keep it operational.

Unpublish a WordPress Website

How To Unpublish WordPress Site: Step-by-Step Process

Whatever the cause, you can easily and quickly unpublish a WordPress page in several methods. Here’s a systematic direction to securely taking down a website, though.

Step 1: Backup Your WordPress Site and Database

It is usually necessary to back up your website and its database before modifying a WordPress site. This guarantees that you may return your WordPress website to its initial condition if something goes wrong when you unpublish it.

You will need a backup plugin or service and an FTP program to keep database backups and your WordPress website backup. The plugin or service will help you generate a backup of your WordPress site, while the FTP program will be used to access the website’s files and make any necessary changes.

Backup Your WordPress Site and Database

Step 2: Put Your WordPress Site in Maintenance Mode

You must put your WordPress website into maintenance mode before unpublishing it. When you’re making updates, this will stop users from accessing or seeing any portion of your website.

You may also utilize the WP Maintenance Mode plugin to place your website in maintenance mode.

WP Maintenance Mode plugin

This plugin allows you to customize your “maintenance mode” page’s appearance so visitors know why the website is unavailable.

maintenance mode

Put Your WordPress Site in Maintenance Mode

Step 3: Make the WordPress Site Password Protected

One of the easiest ways to unpublish a WordPress site is password-protecting it. This means that when visitors try to access your website, they must enter a password before viewing any content.

To password-protect your WordPress site, you must install a plugin like Password Protect WordPress (PPWP).

You may establish a password for each post and page on your website or for the entire thing after installing and activating the plugin.

WordPress password protection is a terrific method to simply limit access to specific sections of your website. If you need to build up an exclusive area for members and coworkers or are working on something sensitive and need to keep it hidden from the public, this is a great tool.

Firstly, you’ll need to open the page or a blog post you want to protect.

Click the ‘Public’ button next to ‘Visibility’.

Then select the ‘Password Protected’ option and add a secure password into the field provided.

Password Protected

Visitors will be presented with a login box where they can input their code and obtain full access when they type in the address of your protected website. You can easily control who may access certain areas of your WordPress website with this method.

Step 4: Delete or Hide Posts, Pages, and Media Files from Your Website

Sometimes, you must hide or delete all posts, pages, and media files from your WordPress site. This is essential since these items will remain visible online after unpublishing your website.

Go to your WordPress dashboard’s “Posts” area after logging in. This is where you may choose every blog post that is connected to your website and remove it. Moreover, you may make them invisible by making their posts “Private” or “Password Protected.”

Edit the Visibility

Next, go to the “Pages” section and repeat this process for any pages associated with your website. Delete or hide any media files in the “Media” section.

Once you have finished hiding or deleting all the content associated with your website, you can move on to the next step.

Step 5: Clean Up the Dashboard Menu and Left-Hand Menu Options on Your Admin Dashboard

When you unpublish your WordPress site, cleaning up the dashboard and left-hand menu options on your admin dashboard is essential. This helps to ensure that users can no longer access the site and its contents.

Log into your website’s WordPress administrator area to get started. Next, examine the menus displayed on the side of the screen (referred to as “widgets”) and remove any associated with your website.

Next, navigate to your WordPress website’s main dashboard and choose “Appearance” from the menu on the left.

Clean Up the Dashboard Menu and Left-Hand Menu Options on Your Admin Dashboard

Here, you can remove any menus or widgets associated with your website. This may include “Recent Posts” or “Recent Comments”.

Step 6: Remove Direct Links to Internal Pages from the Dropdown Menu

It’s crucial to remove any direct connections to the internal pages of a WordPress site from the dropdown menu before unpublishing it. This must be difficult because there can be hundreds of links in the drop-down menu.

Navigate to the Appearance section of your WordPress admin dashboard and delete direct connections to internal pages from the dropdown menu. Next, make a new menu item by choosing the “Menus” option.

dropdown menu

Next, add the pages you want to remove from the drop-down menu in the “Pages” section of the screen. Finally, click “Save Menu” to ensure all your changes are kept.

Step 7: Prevent Search Engine Crawlers from Indexing Your Website

Stoping search engine crawlers from scanning your WordPress website when you unpublish it is crucial. Even after you remove pages from your website, search engines like Google and Bing may retain them in their index. To ensure visitors cannot view your unpublished posts or website via a search engine, take the following steps:

    • Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and select the “Settings” option.
    • Go to the “Reading” tab and ensure the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” option is checked.

    • Click “Save Changes” to save your settings.

discourage search engines

By following these steps, you can successfully unpublish your WordPress site. You can contact a professional web developer for assistance if you have further questions.

Step 8: Redirect Your Site

Unpublishing your website is only half of the process. The other half redirects any visitors who might still visit your website. This can be done by setting up a 301 redirect, which will send visitors to a new URL.

To set up a 301 redirect manually, you will need to access your site’s.htaccess file and add the following code:

Redirect 301 (old URL) to

Replace /OLD-URL/ with the URL of the page you want to redirect and with the URL of the page you want to redirect to.

Alternatively, you may set up redirects without gaining access to your site. htaccess file by using a plugin like Redirection. Redirection offers a user-friendly interface that makes building and managing redirection simple. Other services offered by this plugin include automated redirect recommendations, tracking of 404 errors, and more. You can ensure visitors to your website are effortlessly redirected to the correct page and avoid seeing an annoying error page by correctly configuring a 301 redirect.

Step 9: Update Your Search Engine Listings

Finally, it is essential to update your search engine listings. This will ensure that any indexed pages on your website are removed from the search engine’s results. To do this, you will need to log into the Google and Bing webmaster tools and submit a request to have the pages removed.

Once you have completed these steps, your website should be successfully unpublished.

Quick Method 2: Unpublishing Pages on Your WordPress Site

To unpublish a single WordPress page, first put it in draft mode. Using this hidden function to remove pages without deleting them is helpful. It is also beneficial if you want to change the page and republish it later. If you set the page to draft, only people who are signed in can view it in the WordPress dashboard; site visitors won’t be able to access it.

This unpublishing option is quite helpful if you have found problems on a page or need more time to edit and improve its contents. All you have to do is go to Pages > All Pages, hover on the desired post, and click ‘Edit’ when it appears to transform a published page into a draft. Once there, save your edits and change the status from published to draft. You may now keep your material private until you’re ready for public viewing!

switch to draft from published

However, you can delete this post if it is no longer required. For this, click the “Move to trash” button, and WordPress will automatically delete it after 30 days from the trash.

Whether you draft or delete a published page, removing a live post may cause broken links and affect WordPress SEO. So, make sure to redirect the URL to another relevant page to avoid harming the SEO ranking of your website.

Unpublishing with the Bulk Tool

With the Bulk Tool, you can quickly and easily unpublish numerous pages at once and make significant website modifications without permanently losing any material. With this tool, you may choose any number of pages, and then you can apply an edit option that will change all of the selected pages at once. With a few clicks, this program takes care of the unpublishing of every page for you, saving you the trouble of doing it by yourself.

Unpublishing with the Bulk Tool

By utilizing this feature, web admins can save themselves time and energy, allowing them to focus on other essential aspects of maintaining their site.

Remove the site with the Bulk Tool

Furthermore, it helps prevent data loss when making significant changes, such as transferring a website’s domain or hosting platform. With the Bulk Tool at their disposal, webmasters can easily make life-altering changes with ease and efficiency.

move data to trash

Method 3: Create a Members-Only WordPress Page

Making a page members-only is essential to monetize your WordPress website. This restriction lets you earn revenue while providing exclusive content to those who join your membership site. By hiding certain pages from the average visitor, you can collect email addresses and build an email list. Furthermore, you can even charge a fee for accessing private content on the page.

Create a Members-Only WordPress Page

The MemberPress plugin is beneficial in making a page members-only. It’s widely regarded as the best WordPress membership plugin and provides several key features for creating a successful page. With MemberPress, you can create multiple subscriber levels, publish exclusive content for members only, and accept credit card payments without sweat. This powerful tool comes with everything needed to build a profitable membership program with WordPress in no time at all.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I temporarily disable my WordPress site?

Maintenance Mode Plugin: Install a maintenance mode plugin, such as “Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd” or “WP Maintenance Mode.” With the help of these plugins, you may put your website in maintenance mode and show visitors a temporary notice while you make changes.

Manual Method: You can create a file named .maintenance in your WordPress root directory. Add the following content:

<?php $upgrading = time(); ?>

This will activate the default maintenance mode page in WordPress.

2. How do I put my WordPress site offline?

Maintenance Mode or Coming Soon Plugin:  Turn on the plugin and set it up to show the coming soon or maintenance page. This essentially stops users from accessing your site while you are working on it.

FTP or Hosting Control Panel:  Using FTP or your hosting control panel, you can construct a temporary HTML page stating that the website is unavailable and temporarily replace your WordPress index file with this HTML file.

3. Why do websites become unavailable?

Server Issues: Problems with the server hosting the website, such as maintenance, hardware failure, or overload, can lead to site unavailability.

Network Problems: Issues with the network infrastructure, like DNS errors, routing problems, or internet service provider (ISP) issues, can cause websites to become inaccessible.

DDoS Attacks: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks overwhelm a website with traffic, making it unavailable to legitimate users.

4. How do I unpublish my WordPress site on GoDaddy?

    1. Go into “My Products” after logging into your GoDaddy account.
    2. Locate your website or WordPress hosting solution.
    3. Seek the “Manage” or “Settings” option for your WordPress hosting.
    4. Usually, there’s a section where you may “Unpublish” or “Take Offline” your website. To finish the process, adhere to the instructions.

5. How do I fix blocked websites on my internet?

Check Your Internet Connection: Ensure there’s no issue with your internet connection. Try accessing the website on different devices or networks to confirm if the problem persists.

Clear Browser Cache and Cookies: Cached data or cookies can sometimes cause access issues. Clearing them might help.

Check Firewall or Antivirus Settings: Your firewall or antivirus might block access to specific sites. Adjust settings to allow access if it’s a false positive.

Use a Different DNS: Your ISP’s DNS might be causing the blockage. Switching to a different DNS service like Google DNS ( or Cloudflare DNS ( could resolve this.

Check for Website Restrictions: Some websites might be intentionally blocked by your network administrator or parental control settings. Adjust settings if applicable.

Use a VPN: If the website is accessible via a VPN but not on your regular connection, it might indicate regional or network-based restrictions. A VPN can bypass these restrictions.


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