How to Unpublish WordPress Pages or Posts the Easy Way
The WordPress CMS allows you to publish all types of content quickly and easily. But what happens if you change your mind and wish to remove a certain page, post, or even a whole site? If you don’t know how to go about it, it could get tricky. But, we’ve got you covered. Actually, there are several ways to remove a page and each one gives you different control over the content of the removed page. If you prefer to have the content of the removed page saved and available in case there’s a possibility you may need it in the future, the best way to remove a page is to unpublish it.
In this article, we will show you how to unpublish a WordPress page in a few simple steps, whatever the editor you are using. We’ll briefly go through why and how to go about it, what to keep in mind after and what to do when you just want to hide a particular page:
The most common reason for unpublishing a WP page is that the content is no longer relevant for your audience. It may also be the case that you have second thoughts about certain content, and you need more time to decide whether to change it or not. Maybe a post about your services and/or products needs a revamp, or simply the information you shared is no longer valid and needs an update.
Whatever the reason, the good thing about unpublishing a page is that you get to keep the page and all of its content in case you need it later for any purpose. You can also publish the page again at any time. In case you are sure you’ll never need that page again, you can always simply delete page or post. If you want to change a lot of things on many pages, maybe the best solution for you is to unpublish the whole WordPress site.
This is a very easy and straightforward procedure. When a post is available on your site, it is published and visible for everyone. All you need to do to get it unpublished is to go one step back and put the post in the Draft status. This option is available and easily accessible in all types of WordPress editors:
If you have the classic WP editor, you will see the post status easily, in the Publish meta box on the right:
It is similar with Gutenberg. The info is in the Document box on the right, next to the post. The precise date from which the post is active on the site is also neatly displayed.
As for the Elementor, the post or page status is in the Settings.
Just like in the other editors, the Page Status is neatly displayed.
To unpublish a page, you need to put the page back into the Draft status. In the Classic WP editor and the Elementor, you simply click on the post status and choose the status Draft from the dropdown menu.
Gutenberg has a bit of a different path. You will notice the box Visibility below the post status. When you click on it, several options will appear. Simply choose the option Private and your post will behave as in the Draft status.
There is one more way to unpublish a post without even having to open it. Some may consider this the easiest way, but it is up to you.
Simply go to Posts > All posts.
Choose the option Quick Edit and then simply choose Draft in the Status menu.
In this case, the path is the same no matter what editor you are using.
When you unpublish a certain page or post, the URL that led to it will now lead to page 404. No one likes to end up on this page and will most likely give up browsing your site and turn to some other resources to find a faster answer to their concern. Therefore, you need to take a few more details into account when you unpublish a page. What does this actually mean?
Even though you removed the page, if it is indexed (found by search crawlers), it will still show up in search results. For example, if Google indexed your page and the page already ranks for some position, that page will be saved by the search engine and show up every time someone makes a search related to it. You certainly don’t want to have a dead-end page that shows up in search results and practically leads nowhere.
That’s why it is important to redirect the URL of the removed page to some other page that is published. This way, whenever someone gets to the unpublished page, he won’t end up on the 404 page but on the page you choose instead. Bear in mind to choose a page that contains the same or similar info like the page you unpublished. If this sounds complicated, there’s really nothing to worry about, redirecting your unpublished pages and posts is a very easy procedure.
Redirecting is also very useful if somewhere on the website you left a link that now leads to another page that does not exist any longer. In this case, redirection saves you from having to go through articles and remove all the links one by one.
Another equally important thing to keep in mind is to change your menu structure if the page or post you unpublished is in it. Menus are there to help users easily find what they came for, therefore it doesn’t look good nor professional if the menu contains an item that leads nowhere on your site. Removing one item from the menu isn’t rocket science, but is easily forgotten, so make sure not to let it slip on you.
If you don’t need to make a post or a page unavailable for everyone, there’s also the option to make the page available only for logged in users. This way, the page will have restricted access, which can make your content look more exclusive. This is a great option if you have reached a certain point as a blogger and feel ready to offer some premium, member-only type of content. On the other hand, you can also use it when you work on something but you still don’t feel ready to share it with the whole world and wish to test it with the selected audience.
If you have just one or a few pages you’d like to make available only for a certain audience you can protect those selected pages with a password. This way, only users with passwords will have access to it. Even logged in members will not be able to see the page unless they have the password. This is an excellent solution if, for example, you have some type of one-time offer that you want to be available only for people who sign up for your newsletter. Other situations when you could make use of this option are when the page contains some kind of document that shouldn’t be exposed to everyone, or when the page contains personal data.
As you can see, unpublishing a WordPress page isn’t rocket science. You can do it with ease as long as you know the right buttons to click. The great thing about unpublishing is that you actually keep the page, post and you can publish it again at any time. We named just a few reasons for employing this option, but you can of course unpublish any of your pages for whatever reason that makes sense to you.
We hope this article was helpful. If you liked it, feel free to check out some of these articles as well!