You sometimes want to limit your WordPress site content visibility to only certain people such as admins and logged-in users. There are many reasons for doing so. To take one example, you can create a private classroom website for only registered students to view training materials. Limited access websites also come in useful to share internal projects within a company or organization.
WordPress offers a built-in feature that discourages Google and other search engines from indexing your website entirely. However, it’s likely that you, as a site owner, would like to have more advanced options. You might want to allow specific roles to access the protected content or make some pages visible to the general public.
To help you get started making your WordPress site private, we’ve put together a collection of 7 plugins with their main features so that you can pick the right one for your site.
- My Private Site
- Password Protect WordPress
- Private Content
- WP Private Content Plus
- All-in-One Intranet
- f(x) Private Site
- Subway – Private Site Option
Before going into details about these WordPress private plugins, let’s take a look at how well they’re doing:
|Plugin||Active Installation||Rating||Version||Visible Exclusions||WordPress Multisite Compatibility|
|My Private Site||20,000+||4.8||2.14.2||Yes||Yes|
|Password Protect WordPress||1,000+||4||220.127.116.11||Yes||Yes|
|WP Private Content Plus||9,000+||4.3||1.31||No||Not Specified|
|All-in-One Intranet||5,000+||5||1.5||No||Yes (In the Premium version only)|
|f(x) Private Site||3,000+||5||1.2.1||No||Not Specified|
|Subway – Private Site Option||3,000+||4.6||2.1.3||No||Not Specified|
#1 My Private Site
My Private Site is one of the most popular plugins to privatize your website. Only registered users are allowed to access your WordPress content. In other words, when visitors access any pages on your site, they will see the login page with a form to fill in a valid username and a proper password.
The plugin proves particularly effective in excluding some parts of your website from being private. Visitors can access some posts while the rest of the website is hidden.
You can also preview what people will see after logging into the site successfully by enabling the Landing Location.
All features will be disabled as soon as you install the plugin so that you have a chance to get familiar with them before setting the site to private. You will see a warning sign telling that the website is not private yet. It’s displayed after the first activation of the plugin until they go to the plugin’s Settings page.
Still, My Private Site doesn’t protect your images, videos, and other media files. People can find these files on Google image search results and access them directly.
- Make some pages and posts visible while the entire site is private
- Lead users to different pages after logging in
- Not protect media files (images, videos)
- Can’t control non-WordPress web pages (etc. .html or .php files) created manually or by other software products
#2 Password Protect WordPress
Password Protect WordPress makes your WordPress site private with a simple password. Rather than requiring login details (usernames and passwords), you can provide users with a password only. Anyone with this password can unlock and read the protected content. There is no registration needed.
The plugin allows you to set whitelist roles who can access your website without entering a password as well. These role options include admins, post’s authors, and logged-in users. You can select multiple user roles at the same time.
The Cookies Expiration Time is of great convenience as you can allow users to access the protected content without having to re-enter the password.
Besides, Password Protect WordPress plugin isn’t just for restricting access to the whole WordPress site. It’s also available for you to make some pages or a portion of your website visible to the public whereas the entire website is password protected.
It also comes with other awesome features, i.e. password protecting single posts and password protecting all posts under a category.
If you want more advanced password protection features to protect your WordPress site, you should get the PRO version. You can create unlimited passwords per user role or provide the same password for multiple users.
Similar to My Private Site plugin, Password Protect WordPress doesn’t prevent Google and other search engines from indexing your file uploads. This means users can search for those files on Google and access them via their direct URLs. To protect your file uploads, you should integrate it with Prevent Direct Access Gold plugin.
- Require passwords only, no registration or login needed
- Allow whitelist roles to access the private content without entering a password
- Lock a post with multiple passwords
- Block search engines from indexing your protected site
- Offer frequent updates
- Can’t protect media files unless you integrate with Prevent Direct Access plugin
- Relatively new to users/Has been launched recently
#3 Private Content
Here is another plugin to keep your WordPress site content away from the prying eyes. Private Content plugin can be used to show a part of your post content to specific roles with a shortcode. However, it works only with the standard WordPress roles such as Administrators, Authors, and Editors.
The higher role can see the content of the lower roles. The role order is Admin, Editor, Author, Contributor, and Subscriber. For example, editors can see the private content of authors, contributors, and subscribers.
In case you don’t want higher roles to read the lower roles’ content, you can mark a text as visible only to that role. Contributors, for instance, create a private post and you want only them to access their content. Marking a text as visible only to contributors, Editors and Authors aren’t able to see this content now.
Still, you have to add a shortcode to every page manually to apply the roles’ visibility. Here is an example shortcode:
[private role="editor"]Text for Editors[/private]
- Allow specific roles to view the private content
- Permit higher roles to take control over lower roles’ access permissions
- You must add the shortcode to every single page manually
- you have to make changes in the shortcode when changing the roles’ visibility
#4 WP Private Content Plus
WP Private Content allows you to restrict access to not only posts, pages, but also any custom post types. If you want to lock down your whole website, you have to password protect it. The plugin also enables you to protect your content on many places such as widgets, menus, and search.
Thanks to the Widget Restrictions feature, guests, members or specific user roles to access specific widgets. You can show different widgets to different user types.
Menu Restrictions enable you to show different navigation menus to different user roles can access specific widgets. It comes in handy for hiding some items from specific roles.
WP Private Content also comes with a shortcode to protect a part of your posts and page content. It allows you to add a shortcode into the post/page editor and restrict part of the content from guests, members or specific user roles. You might find it beneficial as you can require users to subscribe to access the full content.
- Password protect the entire website
- Restrict access to parts of the content
- Prevent searchable content on search result pages
- Focus on posts, pages, and custom post types protection only
#5 All-in-One Intranet
All-In-One Intranet gives you another option to hide your global WordPress website from the public view. When its Privacy option is enabled on the plugin settings page, your site content will be completely private. However, your uploads will be accessible to people who have direct URLs.
In addition, Auto Logout allows you to set an expiration time for inactivity. If users don’t take any actions on the website during this period of time, they’ll be automatically logged out.
The plugin supports single-site WordPress installations only. If you’re using WordPress multisite network, you’ll need to buy the premium version.
- Activate and use the plugin in a matter of minutes
- Offer the expiration time for inactivity
- Not support multisite installation with the free version
- Permit direct access to media files via their URLs
#6 f(x) Private Site
f(x) Private Site is used for setting a members-only website. It’s integrated with WordPress Reading default settings so the plugin’s settings page will be shown in the WordPress default Privacy Settings section, under the Search Engine Visibility.
You might find this plugin useful to set your under construction website private before launching it. Only you and your developers can access and edit the website.
The plugin protects RSS Feed content too. You can customize the RSS Feed error messages. If the website is private, this error message will replace the feed content.
- Integrate with WordPress built-in Reading Settings feature
- Protect RSS Feed content
- Hasn’t been updated for more than 2 years
- Not support multi-site installation
#7 Subway – Private Site Option
Similar to other private plugins, Subway – Private Site Option also helps you hide your website content from non-logged in visitors. When someone accesses any pages on your site, it redirects them to a login form where they will enter a username and password.
You’ll have the ability to decide what the visitors will see after successfully logging into the website. This can be a landing page to congratulate them or just the default dashboard. It’s possible for you to set individual posts and pages visibility as public or ‘members only’ too.
What’s more, the login form is customizable. You can change the form style to match your WordPress website design.
- Authorize you to decide what users will see after successfully logging in
- Make individual pages visible to the public
- Offer custom login forms
- Many settings need configuring
- Multisite installation is not available
Ready Make Your WordPress Site Private?
Installing a plugin offers the easiest way to make your WordPress site private. We’ve shown you the top 7 popular plugins with their main features. If you want to show users a special landing page after logging in successfully, you can choose My Private Site. Meanwhile, Password Protect WordPress would be a great choice to help users get rid of filling usernames.
Please let us know which plugin fits your website best or leave any questions on how to make a WordPress site private in the comment section below.