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What Happens When You Make Your Home Page Private?

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In this session a member asks why his website is still accessible to the public after setting it to private. Here we explain that the solution is to use an “Under Construction” plugin that will allow him to make his website content only available to logged in users as opposed to making it private which will only give him a 404 error.

Video Transcript

Hi there. Hi Rick.

Hi. So you’ve got this site,

Yes, I do and in fact, Rick, maybe I could ask a very quick question. In WordPress, I have selected this page to be private and yet, part of the content is mainly the header, the navigation menu is actually visible to members of the public. Obviously, while still developing a website you know, and you haven’t launched the business yet, you want to keep things under wraps. So I’m curious to know why WordPress actually makes this content visible when you actually assign a status of private to the page.

And actually, it is invisible. What this is is your 404 error page because what is really happening is your homepage is private and so when somebody tries to go to your homepage, which in this case is just your URL,, when they try to go to your homepage, because it’s private, they get the 404 error page. And you can see… you can tell it’s the 404 error because surfing ain’t easy right now. You’re lost at sea but don’t worry. Somebody picks an option. That is the default message that happens in the 404 error page and if you go ahead and click another one of these page you know, you just keep seeing page not found up here, right?

Yes. So does that mean I need to do an alteration to my 404 page?

Well, no. If you want to… making your homepage private isn’t the solution. The solution to hiding your page entirely or hiding your site entirely would be to use a plugin that allows you to set essentially you know, just put up a temporary page saying that the you know, the site’s under construction or whatever. And then it’s only accessible to log in to users but they see the temporary page, they don’t see a 404 error page.


Because right now, what you get is a 404 error and there’s no way to make a 404 error page private.

Okay. Well, thanks very much Rick for explaining. I’m sorry to digress.

No, no. It’s a good thing to understand. I think really, if you want this to be completely hidden then you know, there are a number of under construction plugins out there that you can use. You can easily turn them on and off you know, so that other people can get access to the site when they need to and you know, and then turn them back on again without having to reinstall. So that’s what I would recommend that you do with this.

Okay, thanks for that.

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