How to add pages to your WordPress website without site visitors seeing them until they’re ready

“How do I add new pages without people seeing them until they’re ready? I don’t want the site in maintenance mode because I don’t want to miss out sales.”

This question has been asked a lot lately in various web design and WordPress groups I belong to so I thought I’d share a couple of tips!

Creating a new page in WordPress is super easy – from your WP dashboard, you simply hover over Pages in the left sidebar, choose “Add New” and build your page using Gutenberg or your page builder of choice.

Now, how to keep visitors from seeing the page until you’re ready? Well, the good news is you have multiple options.

Option 1

Keep the page in ‘draft’ mode until you’re done. Nobody can see the page but you (and anyone who’s an admin or editor and logged in). This is exactly the purpose of draft mode.

But there is one drawback – there’s no way to view the page except via Preview because there’s no active permalink yet. If you try just going to the permalink, you’ll get a 404 error.

Option 2

Password protect the page. That way, anyone who lands on it won’t be able to see it without the password and you’ll be able to view it properly as long as you’re logged in or remember the password.

The drawback to this method is the password part. It’s not always convenient.

Of course, you always *can* use the maintenance mode (which typically requires a plugin and which puts the entire site in maintenance mode).

The drawbacks there are nobody can see any pages except you and other admins (or those in the editor role) and only when logged in, and as mentioned above, you miss out on sales, etc.

But there is another way and in my opinion, it’s the best option.

Option 3

Publish as Private mode. With this option, there is no need to password protect the page, no need for draft mode, and no worry about anyone but admins and editors seeing the page because private mode requires that you be logged in to see it.

And you can view it using the actual url which is a huge plus.

One drawback to everything BUT draft mode I want to point out is that Preview doesn’t always show the latest changes to published pages. I’m not sure why other than perhaps caching but you can typically exclude certain pages from caching if you want.

BONUS Option 4

There is one other option I want to share with you and that’s a staging site. In my opinion, you should always opt for hosting that includes staging. You can update plugins, themes, and WP core without fear of your site going down because you do all those updates on the staging site and push to the live site when you’re ready.

Another advantage to a staging site is that when you’re ready for a complete site overhaul, you can create it all on the staging site so your actual site is never down and there’s no need for maintenance mode.

Final Thoughts

Bottom line: I still recommend Private visibility out of all of these options UNLESS your hosting offers a staging site. In that case, always use staging and push to live when ready.

It’s the most simple and effective option and doesn’t require anything special, except to be logged in and if you’re working on the site, you’ll be logged in anyway.

The biggest advantage is, there is no possibility that someone could accidentally stumble on the page or guess the password. (This is also true for staging sites.)

If you need help with Techie Bits like setting up your email marketing, configuring plugins or whatever, fixing little issues, or anything else, I’m happy to help. See the Techie Bits page for details and fill out the Request Form at the bottom of the page.

Photo on 6-23-18 at 1.53 PM

Annie Anderson

Hi, I'm Annie. . .

"Your instructor for How to Build a Course on WordPress as well as the one behind this website. I'm a graphic designer and web developer with over 25 years experience. I've been working with WordPress since 2005, have spoken at WordCamp Seattle and other local venues, and specialize in building course and membership sites for my clients.

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