How to Unpublish a WordPress Site: Easy-to-Follow Guide
6 min.

The need to unpublish or temporarily take down your WordPress website can arise for various reasons. Whether it’s for maintenance, rebranding, or privacy concerns, understanding how to effectively unpublish your pages is crucial. 

So, how to unpublish a WordPress site? And how to bring it back when you need it? This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps and considerations involved in this process.

Reasons to Unpublish Your WordPress Website

  • Temporary Maintenance or Updates
    At times, significant updates or WP or WooCommerce maintenance services tasks require taking your site offline to avoid user experience issues or data loss.
  • Rebranding or Redesigning
    A major rebranding or redesign might necessitate a temporary shutdown to ensure a seamless transition to the new look.
  • Privacy Concerns or Content Review
    You may need to address privacy concerns or review content, necessitating the temporary unavailability of your resource.

ProCoders’ tip: to avoid unpublishing your site frequently, make sure you have both Staging and Production versions with the ability to switch between the two quickly. This will help you upgrade the resource seamlessly.

WordPress Website

Preparing to Unpublish Your Site

Backing Up the Data

Before making any changes, ensure you have a complete backup of your website. This step is crucial for safeguarding your data.

Notifying Your Users or Setting Up a Temporary Page

Inform your users about the downtime and consider setting up a temporary page to keep them informed about the status of the website.

How to Temporarily Unpublish a WordPress Site?

Using the Built-in ‘Coming Soon’ or ‘Maintenance Mode’ Features

WP offers built-in features like ‘Coming Soon’ or ‘Maintenance Mode’ to easily take your resource offline for short periods. If you need a custom page that will notify your users, you can hire a WordPress development company like ProCoders.

How to change WordPress pages During Rebranding:

During a major rebranding or redesign, it might be necessary to unpublish or modify certain pages. This can be done by accessing the ‘Pages’ section in your WordPress dashboard, where you can choose to edit, unpublish, or completely revamp individual pages to align with your new branding.

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Plugins That Can Assist in Putting the Entire Site on Hold

There are several plugins available in the WP ecosystem that allow you to put your entire resource on hold effectively. These plugins are especially useful for situations such as site maintenance, redesigns, or major updates, where you need to temporarily restrict public access.

  • WP Maintenance Mode: This plugin lets you create a maintenance page with a countdown timer and a subscription form, keeping your visitors informed about the website’s status and estimated return.
  • Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd: Highly customizable, it offers options for designing engaging coming soon or maintenance pages, complete with email subscription forms, social media integration, and SEO settings.
  • Under Construction Page: Ideal for quickly setting up under construction, coming soon, or maintenance pages. It features a drag-and-drop builder, allowing you to create attractive pages without any coding knowledge.
  • Maintenance: This simple plugin offers a straightforward approach to creating a maintenance mode page. It includes features for customizing the look and feel, adding user login access, and more.
  • Elementor Maintenance Mode: For users of Elementor, this feature within the plugin allows you to design maintenance pages with the familiar Elementor page builder interface, offering extensive design capabilities.

How to Unpublish a Site on WordPress from Search Engines

Adjusting the ‘Search Engine Visibility’ Settings in WP

You can easily hide your resource from search engines by adjusting the ‘Search Engine Visibility’ settings in WordPress. 

This option, found under Settings > Reading, enables you to discourage search engines from indexing your site. It’s a useful feature for development or private websites, but remember that it’s not a foolproof method, and some search engines may still index your site.

The Implications of Search Engine Unpublishing on SEO

Removing your pages from search engines can significantly impact your SEO, as it stops the indexing of your content. 

This means your website won’t appear in search results, which can reduce traffic and visibility. When you’re ready to republish, it may take time for search engines to re-index your resource and restore your previous rankings. 

Consider using a temporary ‘noindex’ tag instead, which tells search engines not to index the page but keeps the link in their database.


How to Make Your Site Private

Using Privacy Plugins to Restrict Access

Several plugins allow you to make your website private. These plugins range from simple solutions that restrict your entire site to specific users, to more complex systems that offer varying levels of access based on user roles. 

Options like ‘Restricted Site Access’ or ‘Members’ can be configured to limit site access to logged-in users, or to redirect unauthenticated visitors to a login or a custom page.

Creating a Members-Only or Password-Protected Website

For a more exclusive website, consider converting it into a members-only platform or using password protection. 

This can be done by setting up a membership plugin like ‘MemberPress’ or ‘Paid Memberships Pro’, which provides tools to create subscription levels, member profiles, and restricted content areas. 

Alternatively, use WordPress’ built-in password protection for individual posts or pages, which is a simpler option suitable for smaller platforms or sections that require limited access.

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Can You Unpublish a WordPress Site Completely?

Steps to Delete Your Resource

To permanently delete your WP website, you must first back up your data if you might need it in the future. 

Then, if you’re using, go to the Tools section of your dashboard and select ‘Delete Site.’ 

For a self-hosted site, you’ll need to delete your WordPress files through your hosting account’s file manager or FTP and drop the associated database via your hosting control panel.

Considerations Before Taking This Irreversible Action

Before permanently deleting your website, consider the irreversible nature of this action. 

  • Ensure you have a complete backup of your site’s data, including posts, pages, images, and the database. 
  • Think about any SEO impact, such as lost rankings and broken links. 
  • Inform any stakeholders or users associated with your website about this decision.

Republishing Your WordPress Website

 WordPress Website

How to Bring Your Platform Back Online After Unpublishing

To bring your site back online after unpublishing, first ensure your hosting and domain are active. If you had previously discouraged search engines from indexing your website (via Settings > Reading), revert this change. 

Then, use your backups to restore your WordPress files and database. Finally, reconfigure any necessary settings, such as permalinks, widgets, and plugins.

Ensuring Everything is in Order Before Going Live Again

Before going live, perform a thorough check of your resource. This includes ensuring all pages and links are functioning correctly, checking that all plugins and themes are updated and compatible, and confirming that your website is responsive and works across different browsers and devices. Also, re-evaluate your SEO settings and submit your sitemap to search engines if necessary. Lastly, consider informing your audience of your return through social media or email newsletters.

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How do I hide my WordPress site from Google search?

To prevent Google and other search engines from indexing your WP site, go to your dashboard, navigate to ‘Settings’ > ‘Reading’, and check the option ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site’. This action requests search engines not to index your pages, but it’s not a guarantee. For more control, you can also edit the robots.txt file or use SEO plugins to set specific pages or posts to ‘noindex’.

Can you hide a page in WordPress without deleting it?

Yes, you can hide a page in WordPress without deleting it. One way is to set the page’s visibility to ‘Private’, which makes it accessible only to logged-in users with appropriate permissions. Alternatively, you can use a plugin to restrict access to the page or use the ‘noindex’ option in an SEO plugin to prevent search engines from indexing the page while it remains accessible via a direct link.


Unpublishing your WP site, whether temporarily for maintenance or permanently, requires careful planning and execution. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure a smooth transition for your site, whatever your reasons may be. Remember to consider the implications of unpublishing, particularly in terms of SEO and user experience, and to take necessary measures to mitigate any negative effects. With these insights, managing your WordPress website’s visibility becomes a more manageable and less daunting task.

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