How to Make Changes to Your WordPress Site Without Publishing: Tips and Tricks
As a WordPress site owner, updating and making changes to your website is a regular and vital task. However, if you are working on a redesign or revamp of your website, you might not want those changes to be visible to the public right away. This is where the need to make changes to your WordPress site without publishing arises.
Backup Your Website
Before making any changes to your live website, backing up your WordPress site is highly recommended. A backup ensures that you don’t lose any data or content while editing your website during the process. You can consider using a plugin like Updraft Plus, which automates the backup process and ensures that your website data remains safe and secure.
Use a Staging Site
The easiest way to make changes to your website without publishing them is by using a staging site. A staging site is an exact copy of your live website, which allows you to test and experiment with different changes before making them live. Hosting providers like SiteGround, Bluehost, HostGator, and WP Engine offer built-in staging sites. Otherwise, you can easily create a staging site by installing a separate WordPress instance and copying your live site’s content.
Use a Maintenance Mode Plugin
If you prefer not to create a staging site, you can use a maintenance mode plugin. Maintenance mode plugins allow you to make changes to your website without publishing them while your website remains visible to your audience. With a maintenance mode plugin, you can redirect your website’s visitors to a temporary landing page with a brief message informing them that you’re updating the site. Popular maintenance mode plugins include WP Maintenance Mode, Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd, and Ultimate Maintenance Mode.
Activate a Blank Theme
Activating a blank theme is another strategy for making changes to your WordPress site without publishing them. A blank theme is a minimalistic theme that doesn’t come with any design elements. It enables you to work on your website’s structure and layout without affecting your live website’s appearance. To activate a blank theme, you can either install the “Hello Dolly” theme or create your own blank theme. Once you activate your blank theme, it overrides your current active theme, and you can then make your desired changes without affecting your live website.
Create a Child Theme
If you want to make changes to your active theme’s design elements, creating a child theme is an ideal solution. A child theme is a duplicate of your active theme, which allows you to experiment with new design elements without affecting your live website. To create a child theme, you need to access your website’s files through FTP, create a folder named after your child theme, create style.css and functions.php files within the folder, import your parent theme’s style.css code to your child theme’s style.css and customize it as you wish. Once you’ve created your child theme, activate it and make the necessary changes. Don’t forget to activate your parent theme again when you’re happy with your changes.
By using these strategies, WordPress makes it more comfortable for you to experiment with new features or ideas, redesign your website’s structure and layout, or update plugins and themes without affecting your live website’s performance. Regardless of your approach, remember to backup your website first to secure your website’s data and content, making it easier to restore in case of anything.