Being able to hide a page in WordPress can be very useful. The most common use for being able to do this is in Thank-You-For-Subscribing pages. Many WordPress users like to capture email addresses of their visitors, and frequently offer something free in return such as a useful download or a free ebook.
Another common use for being able to hide a page in WordPress is when you want to sell something directly from your WordPress website just using PayPal or AlertPay. This typically would be something low-priced with infrequent sales, where it would not really be worth your while to make use of a secure merchant account.
The reason why we want to hide these types of pages is because they contain direct links to the download files. We want to make sure that only customers or subscribers find out about these pages, in a manner under our control. Under our control means that our customers are only given these web page links in direct emails from us, or from configuring Pay-Now buttons or Subscribe-Now buttons to send them there after any transaction is complete.
Create A Download Folder: Whichever method you choose to hide a page in WordPress, you will need to make a new folder in your website. The easiest way to do this is from your host’s cPanel. Login to cPanel and look for File Manager. When you click this, allow it to take you to your ‘Document Root’ folder of your website, and that’s where you want to be. Along the top is a button marked “New Folder” and that’s the one to click.
All you have to do next is enter a name for your folder, and do not use something obvious like “thankyou” or “thank-you”. Instead make up some bizarre name that nobody has any chance of guessing. Use a combination of letters and numbers.
Make The Folder Hidden: You need to keep this folder and contents hidden from any searches by marking it as “nofollow” and “noindex”. The nofollow option is not strictly required, but I usually leave it in there as a belt-and-braces approach. To do this, create a very basic index.html file. Open up Notepad, and copy in the following lines:
<meta name="robots" content="nofollow,noindex">
Then save the file using the name “index.html”. This file will need to be uploaded to your new hidden folder next. Back in cPanel, move into that new hidden folder by double-clicking it, and look for the “Upload” icon along the top. Click this, choose the index.html file that you just created in Notepad, and that’s done.
If you want to use a different index.html file, perhaps a more elaborate one, you can do that too. Just edit it using Notepad, and make sure to add a new line: “<meta name=”robots” content=”nofollow,noindex”>” between the <head> and </head> tags.
Any files that you upload to this folder from now on can be considered to be ‘fairly’ well protected.
Next comes the web-page, and the strategy for either ThankYouForSubscribing or HereIsYourOrder remains the same.
Hide A Page In WordPress Method One, Static Page: With this method, you use HTML editing to create your new web-page, then upload this web-page to the hidden folder. As long as you are careful about letting anybody know about it, it will remain hidden and protected. It’s nice to make this page resemble the theme of your website, so a common trick here is to view the “Source” of any existing page in your WordPress site, copy this to a new HTML file and edit the contents appropriately.
There are two main drawbacks to this method:
- A reasonable amount of HTML knowledge for editing will be required. It’s not as simple as adding in a small snippet of code, instead you will have to strip out a lot of the existing code, and replace with something new.
- This new web-page will no longer be ‘in sync’ with the rest of your WordPress website. If you make any changes to the theme, the appearance, the sidebars, etc., this file would need to be manually updated each time. It will continue to work fine if it never gets updated, but many of us prefer to have everything ‘just perfect’.
Hide A Page In WordPress Method Two, Hidden WordPress Page: This is my preferred method. We make use of a plug-in to hide the page, but the page is still part of our WordPress theme.
Within WordPress, go to Plugins, and Add New. Search for “Easy Noindex And Nofollow” and the top one listed should be the correct one (created By Ivan Kristianto). Install and activate that one. The way that this plugin works is that from now on, whenever you create or edit a page or post, there are extra options on the screen to mark as nofollow and/or noindex. If you already have another plugin installed that includes this function, then its OK to use that instead.
Next create a new page within WordPress, choose your preferred style such as with or without sidebar, and add the required content and the download links. Before you publish, click each of the two options “Add noindex” and “Add nofollow” to turn those on. Also, if you have All-In-One SEO installed, or something similar, you should click the option: “Disable on this page/post”.
Finally, check your menu and sitemap. The new page may automatically get added to your website menu, and also to your sitemap. We need to make sure to prevent this from happening, or else it will not be hidden.
Find the post id of the page just created, as follows: click ‘Pages’ in WordPress, and let your mouse hover over the title of the page that you just created. You will see the full id of this page in the status bar or in a pop-up. There will be a number within that id, just after “post=”, and make a note of this number.
Then manually go through the settings of all sitemaps and menus, and look for the option to “Exclude the following posts or pages”. You must add in the number of your new page into every one of them. Remember, you may have more than one sitemap, and more than one menu.
Using this method to hide a page in WordPress, the main disadvantage is that we have to go through and look at all the plugins manually.
If you are wondering if these methods are totally secure or hacker-proof, well the answer is no, they are not. These methods are cost free though.
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