How to Take Your WordPress Website Private
If you’re reading this, we assume that you’re either:
- a WordPress website owner seeking ways to grow your business or brand online;
- a web designer hoping to earn some extra money with a WordPress project; or
- a businessperson who already makes use of WordPress for your own blog or webstore.
Whatever your situation, you’ve probably considered taking your WordPress website private. So you publish your blog post, engage with your audience, and then — poof! — your blog’s visibility vanishes behind a paywall.
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are multiple strategies for you to take your WordPress blog or website private without losing any of the original content or functionality. And while we can’t provide you with perfect step-by-step instructions, we can give you the information you need to effectively do this on your own.
The Benefits Of Taking Your Blog Or Website Private
The main benefit of taking your WordPress website private is that you prevent others from curating or replying to your content. This gives you complete control over what you post and how you post it. You can also determine who has access to your site’s content and whether or not they can reply — allowing you to construct an audience you’re comfortable with.
As a business owner or executive, you may also want to consider taking your blog private as a way to cut down on the amount of time you spend maintaining and updating your site. Since everything on your site is essentially private (save for your WordPress account details), the less time you spend doing this, the more you have available for your business. Plus, when you take your blog private, you’ll be able to set yourself up with a beautiful and powerful dashboard that allows you to manage your site easily from your phone. (We’ll discuss the dashboard in more depth below.)
How Do I Take My Blog Or Website Private?
To set up your blog or website private, you’ll need to go through three steps:
- register a new domain for your site;
- switch your web host; and
- install WordPress.
Step one is fairly simple. You’ll just need to decide which domain you want to use for your blog or website (i.e., yourname.blogger.com versus yourname.com) and register the same with the Domain Name System (DNS). (If you already have a custom domain with a hosting provider, you can use that instead.)
Once you’ve got your domain name, you can set up A and/or MX records for your site. An A record matches a website’s host name to an IP address, while an MX record indicates the domain’s email service.
Let’s say you’ve chosen blog.yourname.com for your site. You can set up A records for blog.yourname.com so that when someone looks up your host name in the DNS, they’re sent to the correct IP address. (You can use Google’s free DNS service, called Google Apps, to set up these records quickly and easily.)
In addition to the A and MX records you set up at DNS, you’ll also need to set up the blog or website for SSL (secure socket layer) encryption. When your users visit your site (or click a link to your site’s content), their browser will look for the “lock icon” in the address bar to ensure that they’re connecting to a secure website. If you don’t own a certificate or pay for one, there are many free Let’s Encrypt certificates you can use to set up SSL encryption on your blog or website.
Step Two: Switching Your Web Host
The second step in taking your blog or website private is to switch your web host. Allowing you to change the underlying software that hosts and maintains your site. (Doing this is often referred to as “moving providers” because there are so many different companies that provide this service.)
Your host will determine how easily you can publish your content (e.g., pictures) and whether or not you can secure your site against hackers. Most web hosts provide some sort of security through plugins or built-in features (e.g., WordPress HTTPS). However, none of these protections are perfect, so you should consider switching hosts if you’re concerned about security or want to take advantage of more advanced features.
Step Three: Installing WordPress
The last step in taking your website private is to install WordPress. The most popular content management system (CMS) available, used by over 26 million websites worldwide. (Not that you need a reason to use WordPress — it’s free and open-source software!)
Once you’ve got WordPress installed, the first thing you’ll want to do is set up your site using the default theme — something called “Twenty Fourteen.” This is a sleek and modern-looking theme that’s updated regularly and is easy to use.
With the default theme, you’ll have a header, footer, and two sidebars. The sidebars will appear on the right and left sides of your website, while the header and footer will appear at the top and bottom of every page on your site. (You don’t have to use sidebars; you can choose to implement a full-width or boxed layout instead.)
Inside your WordPress dashboard, you’ll find a number of different features that allow you to make your site more functional or luxurious. For example, you can install a contact form so that your users can get in touch with you directly from your site.
WordPress comes with a number of different features that allow you to create different types of websites. While other platforms (like Shopify) try to tackle the whole e-commerce experience, WordPress is great for simply creating a functional and engaging blog or website.
If you’re looking for a way to put a beautiful face on your blog or website, Twenty Fourteen is the perfect choice. While other themes offer simple designs with little variation, Twenty Fourteen provides customization through thousands of HTML and CSS templates — allowing you to match the theme’s bright and sleek look with the colors and layout of your own website.
When you take your blog or website private, you effectively cut off the public from any content you post. This prevents other users from replying to or engaging with your content. Essentially giving you full control over what your audience sees.
Now you’re equipped with the knowledge needed to effectively take your blog or website private. Of course, this is a complex process, and not a task you should attempt to do alone. Hiring a web developer to help you set up the process is highly recommended.