Password Protect WordPress: Bulletproof Your Site with Our Ultimate Guide

Table of Content

Everyone’s first thought after they have a WordPress website is regarding its security. Who doesn’t want to protect their private website info and customer data? But what about when it’s being developed? WordPress development services believe it depends on if you wish to protect the whole website, some specific pages, or just a few particular posts.

WordPress has an intuitive interface and powerful features. That’s why it has emerged as one of the most popular CMSs for website creation. However, during website development, it’s crucial to protect your work from prying eyes and unauthorized access.

That’s why in this blog, we’ll see why you need to protect your website during development. Then, of course, our WordPress developers have deduced the best strategies to protect the website, the WordPress directory, categories, posts, and more.

So without further ado, let’s begin.

Why is Password Protect WordPress Required?

As you may already know, one of the significant reasons to opt for WordPress is due to its customizability. That means you can comprehensively tailor every aspect of the website and create a completely unique experience. The ultimate goal of all the customizations related to the features and design is a good user experience. That converts into more sales and revenue.

But imagine what would happen if someone else got a hold of these customizations during the development? They may use it on their own website, making your hard work utterly redundant. That’s why one of the significant aspects of web development services through WordPress is protecting the pre-development environment.

So how do you do it? Well, WordPress has a multi-pronged weapon called plugins. By choosing a suitable WordPress plugin, you can ensure your website will be password protected during development.

Password encryption prevents any unauthorized access to your site during the development phase. That ensures sensitive information and unfinished content remain confidential. This strategy can also help maintain the privacy of your under-development website. So only authorized personnel (like clients and team members) will be able to view the site’s progress. That way, your intellectual property and control over it will be safeguarded.

Password-protecting your WordPress website has another advantage. It will help ensure Google and other search engines don’t index your unfinished website or any of its pages. So the contents of your website will remain hidden from outsiders until its launch.

That’s why we recommend you pay attention to the following sections. We’ll explain how you can protect the whole website or its directory, categories, posts, and more.

Password Protect a WordPress Website

Security is one of the crucial aspects of any website. It’s understandable to want to protect the website from outsiders, whether it’s live or under development. Not only can you protect the whole WordPress website, but you can also pick and choose which part you want to secure.

So in this section of the blog, we’ll see the password protection of the whole website, its directories, categories, posts, and more.

How to Password Protect WordPress Site Entirely?

As we mentioned earlier, to secure WordPress sites comprehensively, the first thing you can do is install a plugin. Although there are several options, the best one would be Password Protected by WPExperts. 

password protect wordpress

Let’s see how you can protect the website with this plugin:

Step 1: Install and activate the Password Protected plugin from the official WordPress plugin library.

Step 2: Then, configure the WordPress settings for the plugin.

Step 3: After that, navigate to and click on Password Protected. That will open a screen showing “Password Protected Settings”.

Step 4: On the screen, first, select the checkbox in front of Password Protected Status.

Step 5: Next up, select the Protected Permissions. Click on the checkboxes you want to allow.

Step 6: Now, enter the new password twice.

We recommend you keep the other parts of this settings page the exact same.

Step 7: Then, there is a field named “Allow IP Addresses”. The IPs that you enter here will be allowed to enter your website and its back-end without any password.

Step 8: Click on Save Changes.

Now, whenever someone tries to access your under-development website, they must enter the password.

Now, other than the plugin, there is another way: HTTP Authentication at the Server Level. This technique can be excellent for a WordPress staging site. Staging ensures you can test the design and functionalities in real time before pushing the changes and updates to the live website. HTTP Authentication at the server level ensures outsiders don’t see what kinds of changes are being implemented to the staging and development sites.

HTTP Authentication enforces an additional layer of protection to your website at the server level. Let’s see how you can go about this process.

Step 1: First, access your website’s server through the file manager of your hosting provider.

Step 2: Then, locate the root directory of the WordPress installation. You’ll usually see it labeled as ‘public_html’, ‘www’, or something similar.

Step 3: Now, create a file named ‘.htpasswd’ in the root directory. (the dot at the front signifies this file will be hidden). This file is meant to store the usernames and passwords for authentication.

Step 4: After that, generate a strong password through a dedicated password generator tool (or maybe your memory.)

There’s also a command-line tool named ‘htpasswd’ that can help you generate a good password for authentication. 

Here’s the code to generate the password through the command-line tool. Assume your desired username as ‘admin’.

htpasswd -c /path/to/.htpasswd admin

In this code, replace ‘admin’ with your username and ‘/path/to/.htpasswd’ with the actual path to your .htpasswd file.

Step 5: In this step of the WordPress password protect site, add the generated password to the .htpasswd file.

Step 6: Now, to protect the root directory, locate the ‘.htaccess’ file and the following code through a text editor.

AuthType Basic
AuthName "Restricted Access"
AuthUserFile /path/to/.htpasswd
Require valid-user

(Again, replace ‘/path/to/.htpasswd’ with the actual path to your .htpasswd file.)

Step 7: After editing the .htaccess file, save and upload it to the root directory.

Now, when you access the website through a browser, you’ll be asked to log in with the new username and password.

As you may have learned by now, this process can be a little complicated. So we recommend you get in touch with a WordPress development agency. Their experts have the skills and years of experience, and they can reinforce the security of your entire website. A password protected will be safe from hackers and other unauthorized personnel.

As for password protecting specific parts of the WordPress website, we’ll cover the technique in the next section.

How to Password Protect a WordPress Website Directory?

There’s a chance that you don’t want to protect the whole website. You may be looking to take one or more of the directories in the WordPress file structure out of public access.

The process varies depending on the website server, and one of the most popular options is Apache.

Apache

Let’s discuss the process of password protecting a website directory powered by Apache.

Step 1: First, create a .htpasswd file. The HTPasswd Generator may come in handy.

Step 2: Next, upload this file to the directory you want to password protect.

www/user/public/protecteddirectory

Step 3: Now, create a .htaccess file with the following code and then upload it to the directory path for the one you want to protect.

AuthType Basic  
AuthName "restricted area"  
AuthUserFile /www/user/public/protecteddirectory.htpasswd  
require valid-user

Now, if your host provider has a cPanel, you can open the “Directory Privacy” in the Files section. This section will also help you password protect the directory of your WordPress website.

Password Protect WordPress Categories

Like with so many other features, WordPress plugins can also help password protect the categories of WordPress posts. We recommend you go for the plugin Password Protected Categories.

Here’s the process of password protecting your WordPress categories through this plugin.

Step 1: Install and activate Password Protected Categories.

Step 2: Then, open the WordPress dashboard, navigate to Posts, and open Categories.

That will open the page “Edit Categories”.

Step 3: Now, look at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see the Visibility section. In this section, click on Password Protected and set the password.

Step 4: After you are satisfied by the password, click on Update to save the changes.

That will password protect WordPress categories. Now, anyone who tries to access a post in a particular category, will have to enter the password.

Step 5: If you want to configure the settings even further, navigate to Settings and open Protected Categories.

That will open the “Password Protected Categories” screen.

Step 6: On this screen, you can set three things for your WordPress categories.

  • Password Expiration duration (in days): The set password will expire in the number of days you set here.
  • Show Categories: You can tick the box (or leave it be) depending on whether you want the posts in that particular category to be visible in the public area.
  • Title & Form Message: With these fields, you can customize what the login form will say.

After filling in the necessary details, save the changes, and you are done. Now a particular category will only be visible when the person enters the password.

As for changing the password and deciding the categories, open the plugin settings for Password Protected Categories. In the following display screen, you will be able to set the password and choose the categories you want to protect with it. You can also set who can access the categories.

Next, you may be wondering about password protecting the posts in the categories. 

Password Protect WordPress Posts

password protect wordpress posts

Maybe some posts on your WordPress website need some work. So you don’t want people to see it. Then, you can follow this process to password protect the posts on a WordPress website. 

Step 1: Log into your WordPress dashboard.

Step 2: Navigate to Posts & click on All Posts. 

Step 3: In the right-hand sidebar, locate the “Publish” section.

Step 4: Click on “Edit” next to the “Visibility” option.

Step 5: You will see three options: Public, Password protected, and Private. Select “Password protected” by clicking on the radio button.

Step 6: A text field will appear below the radio buttons. Enter the password you want to use to protect the post.

Step 7: Click “OK” to save the password.

Step 8: Finally, click the “Update” or “Publish” button to save your changes.

Now, only users who enter the correct password will be able to access the protected post.

But what if you don’t want to protect the whole post, but just a part of it. Well, we have you sorted.

Password Protect Part of WordPress Post

To password protect a part of a WordPress post, there are some plugins available. The best possible option, though, would be Passster – Password Protection

Step 1: Install and activate the Passster plugin. 

Step 2: Then navigate to settings and click on Passster. This plugin will let you generate shortcodes that will help restrict the content.

Step 3: Choose the Protection Type from the drop-down menu. Go for Password.

Step 4: Enter the preferred password and click on Generate Password.

That will generate the shortcode you can copy and paste into the content post. 

Step 5: Copy the shortcode and save the changes. 

Step 6: Open and edit the post and paste the shortcode where you want the password protection. 

Step 7: Finally, click on Publish, and WordPress will apply password protection to the particular part of the post. 

That concludes password protecting the WordPress website and its categories and posts. If you find it complicated, you may get in touch with dedicated WordPress experts. But you may still have some doubts on whether this process will be worth the hassle. So we have listed some Advantages and Risks in the next section of the blog.

Advantages of WordPress Password Protection

WordPress password protection lets you control access to specific content or sections on your website. That provides an additional layer of privacy and security. This feature is particularly beneficial for those looking to restrict access to certain info on the website. Those who offer exclusive content to a specific audience may also benefit from it. 

So let’s explore why it might be advantageous to password protect a WordPress website.

Easy to Use

WordPress password protection is designed to be user-friendly, even for those without technical expertise. It allows you to password protect individual posts, pages, or categories without complex configurations or coding. With just a few clicks, you can safeguard your content and control who can access it. That ensures a straightforward user experience for both administrators and visitors.

Easy Integration

WordPress password protection seamlessly integrates with your existing website structure. You can protect specific posts, pages, and more without altering the overall design or layout of your site. This flexibility lets you create a secure environment while maintaining the overall aesthetic and functionality of your website. You can selectively restrict access to certain areas of the website.

Enhanced Security

WordPress programmers implement password protection to add an additional security layer to your website. By requiring a password for specific content, you can control who can view and interact with sensitive information, private resources, or exclusive content. This feature is particularly useful for membership sites, private communities, or intranets where confidentiality is key. Providing access to only authorized individuals can help maintain privacy and integrity.

So it’s quite evident that password protection will help improve the security of the website and make it more developer friendly. But although password protection is advantageous for the website overall, there are some potential risks to consider. So let’s take a look.

Potential Risks in WordPress Password Protection

Although you may think of password protection as an excellent security practice, there may be some potential risks associated with it. Let’s discuss them in brief.

Selecting Weak Passwords

One of the most common mistakes users make is choosing weak passwords. Usually, these weak passwords include those that are too short, easy to guess, or very commonly used. Sometimes, attackers can use automated tools to guess or crack passwords. So selecting weak passwords will make gaining unauthorized access to your site much easier.

Defensive Password Duplication

One of the riskiest security practices is reusing the same password across multiple sites or services. If even one of those services experiences a data breach, your password may be compromised. So the attackers will have access to the other services and websites with the same password. So it’s important you use unique and strong passwords for each online account to mitigate this risk.

Static Security Practices

Now, one of the most crucial things people fail to implement on their websites is robust security practices. That means their website will be vulnerable to cyber threats. There are some significant security practices to take care of. That includes two-factor authentication, password managers, limited login attempts, and regular updation of WordPress and its themes and plugins.

Also, needless to say, you must regularly back up your website to ensure your crucial data and info are safe in case of any security breach. Considering these potential risks and actively working to take care of them will help password protect your WordPress website more effectively.

FAQs Related to Password Protected WordPress

What should I do if I forget the password to my protected WordPress site?
If you forget your password, you can use the "Lost your password?" link on the login page or contact your site administrator.
How often should I change my WordPress password?
It's recommended to update your password every 60 to 90 days, or immediately if you suspect it has been compromised.
What makes a strong password for a WordPress site?
A strong password should be at least 12 characters long, including a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. It should not be a dictionary word or easily guessed information.

Conclusion

WordPress is the best website development platform. But one of its biggest pros, i.e., being open-source, also works against it sometimes. That means anyone can alter the core code and mess with your website. So one of the first things you need to do is implement password protection. 

Now, you can password protect the website entirely or just some of its categories, pages, posts, and more. Even further, this security practice lets you protect just some parts of a post. With advantages like enhanced security, ease of use, and easy integration, there are some risks associated with it. That includes weak passwords, defensive password duplication, and static security practices. So consider them all and encrypt your website accordingly. If you need any more help with your website security, get in touch with our experts today!

author
Jigar Shah is the Founder of WPWeb Infotech - a leading Web Development Company in India, USA. Being the founder of the company, he takes care of business development activities and handles the execution of the projects. He is Enthusiastic about producing quality content on challenging technical subjects.

Leave a comment