This post now contains out of date information. Please find my newer, more up to date tutorial: How to Unpublish Your WordPress Site.
There are times when it could be a good idea to unpublish your WordPress website. Maintenance mode plugins allow you to take your website “offline” to the public, but allow you to make content changes.
Putting your website in an unpublished state is as simple as installing a plugin and switching it on. In this article, I’ll go through my recommended way of doing this.
Our recommended maintenance mode plugin
The plugin I recommend is called Maintenance and is developed by fruitfulcode.
You can install this plugin from your WordPress admin, or download it from the repository.
How to use this plugin
When installed and activated, you’ll find a new tab in your admin menu named “Maintenance” – It will be below “Settings”.
Also, when activated for the first time, maintenance mode will be turned on. If you’re not ready to take your website offline yet, then make sure it’s set to off.
Remember to click “Save changes” whenever you change anything.
What your website visitors will see
When you enable maintenance mode, your website visitors will see this text and a picture of a mountain.
I recommend changing the picture to something relevant to yourself. Even if your website’s content isn’t quite ready to be seen, this is still a great opportunity to impress people!
Ensure visitors will come back
You can (and should) edit the text to let visitors know when you will be back, alternative ways to contact you (e.g. email) or where they can find out more information (e.g. Facebook.)
It’s good practice to provide website visitors with something to learn about you, even if you are “under construction”. Displaying empty pages with the words “coming soon” (and no promise of what’s to come) is a surefire way to turn people away.
Disable login, unless you absolutely need it
If you and your staff are the only people who work on your website, then it’s a good idea to keep login access to your website private.
The less ways there are to get in to your website, the less likely you will face nasty intruders.
So if you need an added security measure, it’s best to leave “Enable frontend login” off.