There are many reasons to create a WordPress private blog. You might want to create a completely private blog, with your whole website hidden from public view. Maybe you want a public website with private blog area. Perhaps you just want to create password protected or private categories within a WordPress blog. Whatever your reason for needing a WordPress private blog plugin, this guide will help you to choose the right one. I’m going to tell you about 2 easy-to-use private blog plugins and how they work. I’ll also provide simple step-by-step instructions on how to create a password protected blog using each plugin. To finish off, I’ll tell you about an even simpler method to create private blog posts without any extra plugins!
If you already know what sort of WordPress private blog you need, you can skip straight to it:
- Option 1 – Password protect an entire WordPress site
- Option 2 – Public website or blog with password protected blog categories
- *BONUS* Option 3 – Individual password protected or private blog posts
Alternatively, read through all 3 options to discover the different ways to create a private WordPress blog.
WordPress.org private blogs
It’s worth mentioning that the options described in this article refer to the self-hosted version of WordPress available from wordpress.org. If you have a wordpress.com site instead, this has its own easy-to-use option to create a WordPress private blog.
Option 1 – Password protect an entire WordPress site
To create a 100% private WordPress blog site, Password Protected is the plugin for you. This free WordPress plugin locks down your entire website and blog behind a single password. With over 100,000 active installs and ratings of 4.6 out of 5 stars, this is the best WordPress private blog plugin. The only downside is that this plugin can only be used to password protect a whole website. If you just want to create a WordPress private blog while leaving the rest of your website public, you’ll need Option 2 (below) instead.
How to use the Password Protected WordPress plugin
To create a WordPress private blog with the Password Protected plugin:
- Log into the WordPress admin and go to Plugins > Add
- Search for ‘Password Protected’. Find the ‘Password Protected’ plugin by ‘Ben Huson’ and click Install and then Activate.
- Go to Settings > Password Protected, tick ‘Enable’ and choose a password to protect your blog. You can also choose which user levels the password protection applies to. As a minimum, I recommend disabling password protection for Administrators. This makes it easier for you to work on the site. You don’t want to be locked out of your own private blog!
- Click ‘Save’.
Finally, visit your WordPress blog from a browser where you’re not logged in. You should be asked to enter a password. This means that everything is working and you’ve finished setting up your WordPress private blog plugin! Note: ‘Password Protected’ doesn’t work with WordPress websites hosted on WP Engine as it conflicts with their caching. If you’re using WP Engine for your WordPress private blog, I recommend using their built-in password protection instead. To activate this, go to ‘Utilities’ in the WP Engine Dashboard and choose a password for your entire blog. That’s even easier than using a plugin!
Option 2 – WordPress private blog with Password Protected Categories
Password Protected Categories is a premium WordPress plugin that protects or hides specific areas of your website. You can use it to create a WordPress private blog while leaving the rest of your site public. The plugin provides 2 ways to create a WordPress private blog. Before you set it up, decide which type of protection you need for your blog categories:
- Password protected blog categories: These work by password protecting a category, its sub-categories and all the posts within it. If a visitor clicks on your login page or a link to the category (or any of the content within it), they must enter the password. When the correct password is entered, the protected blog category and all its contents are unlocked for them.
- WordPress private blog categories: These work by completely hiding the category, its sub-categories and its posts from public view. Only logged in WordPress users with specific roles can see them. This will normally be Administrators and Editors but you can make private blog categories available to other levels using plugins such as User Role Editor. To access your WordPress private blog categories, visitors must log into your website in the usual way. The private categories and posts will instantly be unlocked for them.
How to use the Password Protected Categories plugin
The developers of the Password Protected Categories plugin have produced this
video tutorial. Copy the steps in the video to create a WordPress private blog with protected or private categories.
These written instructions will tell you how to use Password Protected Categories to create a private blog in WordPress:
- Get the Password Protected Categories plugin and download the plugin files. Copy your license key from the confirmation page or email.
- Go to Plugins > Add New in the WordPress admin.
- Browse to the zip file you downloaded in Step 1, install and activate the plugin.
- Go to Settings > Password Protected Categories and enter your license key.
- Go through the other plugin settings to choose and customize the private blog login page. You can also control whether your password protected blog categories are visible in public areas of your blog. (Tip: You can show your WordPress private blog categories and posts on your main blog page, menus and widgets so that visitors have to enter a password if they click on one. Or you can hide your private blog from public view so that only people with the link know they exist.) Finally on the settings page, you can choose how long each user can access your WordPress private blog categories before having to re-enter the password.
- Next, it’s time to create your private blog categories. To do this, go to Posts > Categories. You’ll see that the Password Protected Category plugin has added a new ‘Visibility’ option to each category: Password Protected and Private. Choose one of these, add one or more passwords if you’re using password protection, and save your category.
- Finally, test your website to see your WordPress private blog categories in action!
Tip: When you’re testing your WordPress private blog, make sure you’re seeing the same thing as your visitors. There are a few ways you can trip up, and you think your private blog is broken when it’s not!
- If you’re using password protected categories, remember that each category is unlocked for 10 days. (Or a different timescale if you have changed this in the plugin settings.) If you have already entered the password for a protected category, you won’t be prompted for the password when you visit it again. To test it, use a different browser or change the password for that category.
- If you’re using private WordPress categories, log out of your user account. Otherwise, you’ll be able to see the hidden private categories!
*BONUS* Option 3 – Individual password protected or private blog posts
The plugins featured above are ideal for creating a WordPress private blog. Option 1 lets you create a completely private blog. Option 2 creates password protected or private categories within a public blog. As a third option, I’m going to tell you about an easy way to protect individual posts within a public blog. This uses features built into WordPress itself – no extra plugins are needed! The way it works is that WordPress has a facility for creating password protected or private blog posts. This is activated in the settings for each individual blog post.
How to create password protected or private blog posts
- In WordPress, go to Posts > Add New.
- Look for the ‘Visibility’ option in the ‘Publish’ section at the top right of the screen. This will say ‘Public’ by default, so click on the ‘Edit’ link next to it.
- You’ll see 2 extra options for your blog post visibility: ‘Password Protected’ or ‘Private’. Choose one of these, click ‘OK’ and Publish or Update the blog post as usual.
Here’s a summary of the difference between Password Protected and Private WordPress blog posts. This is similar to the difference between password protected and private WordPress categories.
- Password protected WordPress blog posts: The blog post will appear on your main blog page and on category pages as usual. When someone clicks on a link to the post, they will be prompted for a password. This is a shared password that you will give to everyone who needs access to the password protected blog post.
- Private WordPress blog posts: A private WordPress blog post is only visible to logged in users with a specific role. It is completely invisible to other users of your blog and doesn’t appear on your main blog page, blog categories etc. As with private blog categories, WordPress private blog posts usually only appear for Administrators and Editors. You can change this by using a plugin such as User Role Editor to give access to private posts to other levels too.
Whether you choose password protected or private WordPress blog posts, they’re a good way to protect individual posts within your blog. This can be annoying for users if they need to access multiple protected posts, as they have to re-enter a password for each individual post. If you’d rather protect blog posts in bulk, you’re better off with Options 1 and 2 described above.
Which plugin to create your own WordPress private blog?
In this article, I’ve told you about 3 easy ways to create a WordPress private blog. To choose the right method for your own private blog, I recommend thinking about which one best meets your requirements.