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Temporarily Unpublishing Your WordPress Site: A Guide

Are you a WordPress website owner in need of temporarily unpublishing your site? While this may be necessary for maintenance tasks, updates, or issue fixing, the process can be confusing. Here’s a guide on how to do it, and what you need to know before starting.

Why Temporarily Unpublish a WordPress Site?

There are various reasons why you may need to unpublish your WordPress site temporarily:

  • Performing Maintenance: Upgrading to the latest version, updating themes/plugins, and modifying site files or database all require unpublishing temporarily for users’ protection.
  • Fixing Technical Issues: If your website has technical issues affecting its performance or appearance, temporarily unpublishing it gives you time to make changes without impacting users.
  • Rebranding: If you’re rebranding your site, it’s necessary to unpublish it temporarily while updating content, designs, and other branding elements.
  • Pre-Launch Site Preparation: Preparing for a new site launch can also require temporarily unpublishing the current site to make final adjustments and avoid users seeing unfinished work.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step #1: Backup Your Site

Before unpublishing your site, always back it up. This ensures you can restore your settings should anything go wrong during unpublishing or republishing.

Several plugins such as BackupBuddy, UpdraftPlus, and VaultPress can help you backup your WordPress site. Follow these steps using UpdraftPlus:

  • Install and activate the UpdraftPlus plugin, choosing where to store your backup files and what to back up.
  • Click the “Backup Now” button to run the backup process.
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Step #2: Disable the Site for Maintenance

Create a maintenance mode or coming soon page to let users know your site is temporarily unavailable. Use plugins such as WP Maintenance Mode, Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode, and Elementor. Follow these steps with Elementor:

  • Install and activate the Elementor plugin.
  • Create a new page and choose from a template in the Elementor library.
  • Customize the template as needed, including adding your site’s logo and text.
  • Publish the page while keeping it in draft mode.

Step #3: Unpublish Your Site

Unpublishing your site ensures no one can access it while you carry out maintenance tasks or updates. Start by going to the Settings > Reading page, selecting the “A Static Page” option, and choosing the page created in step #2. Set the “Posts page” to “Select.” Click “Save Changes” to confirm.

Step #4: Republish Your Site

After completing maintenance or updates, you can republish your site by going to the Settings > Reading page, selecting the “Your latest posts” option, and clicking “Save Changes.” Ensure everything looks and functions as you intended before republishing your site.

Final Word

Unpublishing your WordPress site temporarily is necessary for its smooth operation. The steps outlined above make unpublishing and republishing a straightforward task, but always remember to back up your site, update promptly, minimize downtime, and provide site visitors with clear informative messages.

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