How to Unpublish Your WordPress Site

how to unpublish wordpress site

Have you found an oopsie? Want to work on something behind the scenes without your audience looking? You totally can! Let’s find out how to temporarily unpublish your WordPress site!

Coming soon, maintenance mode, going offline or unpublishing your site are all essentially terms for the same thing – Making your website invisible to visitors, but still allowing you to make changes.

Quick Summary

  1. Install and active the plugin, Coming Soon by SeedProd.
  2. Go to SeedProd settings and enable “Maintenance Mode” and save your changes – this will unpublish your site!

In order to temporarily take your website “offline”, I recommend a plugin called SeedProd. You can find a free version on the WordPress repository, and it should be sufficient for most situations. However, the paid version has some extra benefits, such as email newsletter integration. (This can help if you intend to keep your website closed for a long time, but still want to generate leads.

Coming Soon Page plugin for WordPress by SeedProd
You can find Coming Soon by SeedProd plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.

Before you start

Before you lock down your site, here are some things you will need:

  1. The title for the coming soon page: “Coming Soon” or “Under Maintenance” will suffice. However, you may want to say something that better reflects your brand. E.g. “We’ll BRB!”
  2. Message to your audience: Let your visitors know that this closure is temporary, and when you expect to be back online.

The following items are optional, but beneficial!

  1. Your logo.
  2. A background image.
  3. Social media links: Give your audience a place to continue to hear updates from you.
  4. Email sign up form (This may require premium plugin or HTML knowledge): Let your followers receive an email as soon as your website opens up again.
  5. Your Google Analytics tracking code.

Installing the ‘Coming Soon’ plugin

Your first step is to log in to your WordPress site, and once in your dashboard, locate Plugins on the menu and Add New.

Add new plugin in wordpress

Now search for the SeedProd Coming Soon plugin by typing “coming soon” into the search box on the right hand side.

Type "coming soon" into the search box

Next, install and activate the plugin.

Selecting, installing and activating the Coming Soon plugin by SeedProd

Unpublish your site!

Now that you have the SeedProd plugin installed, you can visit its Settings page to enable “Maintenance Mode”.

Navigating to the SeedProd settings in WordPress

On the SeedProd settings page, you’ll see a “General” heading. Under that select “Enable Maintenance Mode” and then click “Save All Changes”.

Enabling Maintenance Mode to unpublish your site

The reason to choose “Maintenance Mode” instead of “Coming Soon” is so that search engines such as Google are told that this downtime is only temporary. If Google thinks your website is changing, it may negatively affect your SEO.

How your unpublished WordPress site will appear

If you’ve left all the other settings as they are, your website visitors will now see a white screen with the message, “Get Ready… Something Really Cool Is Coming Soon”. Of course, you can edit this to reflect how you would speak to your audience.

website visitors will see this message while your website is unpublished
By default, your website visitors will see this message when you unpublish your WordPress site with the SeedProd plugin. You can change the text to anything you like.

Taking it further

If you intend to only spend a few hours working on your website, then a simple white screen with “We’ll be back soon!” will do the job.

However, if you need a day or more, then you may want to consider adding more. Your logo, a nice background image and your social media links will assure your audience that you are coming back. And an email subscription form will allow you to send your visitors an email when your website is live again.

Over to you…

I hope you were able to follow this tutorial and work on your website behind the scenes. Let me know how you went! Leave a comment below or email me if you have any questions about editing your website.

Related articles:


Cover photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *