How to Force All Users to Log In to a WordPress Website
If you are the site owner of a WordPress website, you can easily disable user registration and force all users to log in to your site before they can publish any content. This can be a difficult task for some people, as they may not want others to have access to their personal information. Fortunately, the process is incredibly simple and can be easily accomplished by using a few plugins.
Use Login Force to Require Login To Access Content
The first step to restricting access to your site is to use the Login Force plugin. At the time of this writing, Login Force is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins available, with over a million active users. It provides the ability to require users to log in before they can view or make any changes to content on your site.
Login Force is very easy to set up. Once installed, you will see a new menu option appear on your site’s main menu called “Forced Login”. When a user selects this menu option, they will be presented with a login screen similar to the one below:
As you can see, this login screen will appear whenever a user attempts to access content on your site that is restricted by a login requirement. When a user selects the “Forced Login” option, they will be presented with the standard WordPress login form. Since the entire point of this exercise is to prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information, you would want to ensure that these users do not have the ability to select the “Forced Login” option by removing it from your site’s main menu. To do this, navigate to the site administration menu in WordPress and click “Settings” in the navigation panel.
Secure Your WordPress Site with Two-Factor Authentication
A major vulnerability that can put a WordPress site at risk is weak login security. With a two-factor authentication (2FA) system in place, even if a malicious user gains access to your WordPress account, they will not be able to access your site without also having access to your second factor, such as a code sent to your phone via text or an authentication app.
To implement a 2FA system on your WordPress site using Google Authenticator, click the “settings” tab in the WordPress dashboard, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Enable two-factor authentication” button. When enabled, two security keys will be generated and a phone number will be emailed to you. Whenever you log in to your WordPress site with the second factor (email or authentication code), you will be prompted to enter it along with your username and password.
Use the Login Restricted Tab to Block Users From Registering
If you are not interested in forcing all users to log in, you can also use the Login Restricted plugin to create a restricted login area for users. This restricted area will only be accessible to those who have been granted access by a moderator. When a user selects the restricted login option, a small tab will appear at the top of their browser, warning them that they are entering a restricted area and encouraging them to continue any way they please. If you have limited access to certain content on your site, you can use the restricted login option to hide that content behind a log-in screen.
Like Login Force, Login Restricted is also very easy to use. Once installed, you will see a new menu option appear on your site’s main menu called “Restricted Login”. When a user selects this option, they will be presented with a login screen similar to the one below:
As you can see, this login screen will appear whenever a user attempts to access content on your site that requires them to log in prior to viewing. When a user selects the “Restricted Login” option, they will be presented with the standard WordPress login form. Since the entire point of this exercise is to prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information, you would want to ensure that these users do not have the ability to select the “Restricted Login” option by removing it from your site’s main menu.
Use the Admin Restricted Tab to Restrict Certain Admin Tasks
The last step in restricting access to your WordPress site is to use the Admin Restricted plugin to remove the ability to perform certain administrative tasks from the site’s main dashboard. To do this, simply navigate to the site administration menu in WordPress and click the “Settings” tab in the navigation panel, as shown below:
Once in settings, you will see a list of tasks that can be restricted. To remove the ability to edit posts, create pages, and post images from the dashboard, simply click the “disable” button next to each of these options.
Although this process is fairly easy to accomplish using the aforementioned plugins, it is a good idea to take a little time to go through the settings of each of these plugins and ensure that everything is configured correctly. Since these are security-related plugins, you may also want to consider getting a professional to help you set up stronger passwords and security questions as well as conduct a security audit of your site.