You created a website to make your content available to the world...but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want the world to see everything on your site. So if you want to restrict some of your content from the public, what can you do?
Well, in today’s review, I’m going to discuss one way to hide your content. And that way is password protecting specific categories on your WordPress site.
With Barn2 Media’s Password Protected Categories plugin, you can password protect entire categories on your site. And you’re not just limited to the normal WordPress taxonomies - you can restrict any type of hierarchical taxonomy created by custom post types.
Then, to grant access, you can give your visitor a password and have them automatically sent to the category associated with that password upon logging in.
Sounds interesting? Join me as I take a deeper look at Password Protected Categories from Barn2 Media.
What Are Some Reasons to Password Protect Categories on WordPress?
Because Password Protected Categories lets you restrict categories for any custom post type used on your site, you have a ton of flexibility in how you use it.
Pretty much every plugin that creates a new type of content for your WordPress site is doing it using custom post types, which means...you can essentially restrict anything that uses categories.
Here are some nifty ways in which you can use Password Protected Categories:
- Categories of blog posts - ok, this is the most obvious one. But there are plenty of reasons you might want do this.
- Portfolio categories - maybe you don’t want to make your full portfolio public. With this method, you can give potential clients a password to access to access a specific category of hidden items. Or, you could even hide your entire portfolio from the public.
- Event categories - you can restrict whole categories of events from a variety of popular plugins like Events Calendar Pro, Events Manager, Event Espresso, and any other plugin that uses hierarchical categories for events.
- Easy Digital Downloads categories - need to make some categories of products private? No problemo!
- Other eCommerce plugins - same idea as EDD. It’s no problem. Barn2 Media even has dedicated plugins to password protect your WooCommerce store.
- Podcast categories - want to make some podcast categories private? Easy peezy.
- Real estate listings. You could move rented apartments to a private category, and then move them back to public when they’re available again. Or just make private listings for only qualified parties.
And remember, you’re by no means limited to just these uses. You can password protect literally anything that uses categories.
Hands On With Password Protected Categories
Despite its flexibility, the plugin is very simple to set up. Once you activate it, you can set up how password protected categories function by going to Settings → Protected Categories.
Literally, all you need to do is:
- Choose which page you want people to log in to categories from. You can also grab a shortcode version, if you’d like.
- Customize your login form button and message.
- Choose whether to allow protected categories to still show up in search results, menus, etc. Once a user enters the password, protected categories will automatically show up in search results and menus - this setting only applies to people who haven’t already entered a password.
- Choose how long visitors can access the password protected category after logging in
Then, on your category login page, your visitors will see something like this:
If you want to customize the page further, you can use the shortcode for more flexibility. That way, you can add additional text above/below. Or, you could even stick the shortcode into a page builder to build a more feature rich login page.
How to Password Protect Categories
You’ll actually password protect categories in the Category page. For example, to password protect a blog category, you’d go to Posts → Categories.
Then, at the bottom of the form, you’ll see a new Visibility box that allows you to password protect categories, as well as make categories private (available only to Admin and Editor user roles). You can even add multiple passwords for the same category:
Note - the password is linked to that specific category. So someone who logs in with the password for that category will automatically be directed to that specific category. Because you can password protect multiple categories, this lets you do something like:
- If a visitor enters passwordA, take them to Category A
- If a visitor enters passwordB, take them to Category B
With that being said, when a user enters a password, they’ll automatically gain access to all subcategories of the category (if applicable). So keep that in mind as you build your password structure.
Does it Really Work With Custom Post Types?
Ok, so I know I’ve said the plugin works with any custom post type. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to make sure that’s actually the case!
To test it, I whipped up a quick custom post type called Test Post Type. Then, I added a Test Taxonomy taxonomy to that post type. And when I went to add a new category to my Test Taxonomy taxonomy, I was able to confirm that the plugin does indeed work as promised:
What About Search Engines? Will They Index Protected Categories?
Nope! Password Protected Categories automatically adds a noindex tag to both password protected categories, as well as all of the individual posts contained in that category.
That means Google won’t be sending people to password protected pages, which is a good thing for your site’s user experience.
How Much Does Password Protected Categories Cost?
Password Protected Categories costs $59. With that, you get one year of support and updates for one website.
One thing to note is that Barn2 Media operates on automatic billing. So after your first year of support and updates, your subscription will automatically renew for another year of support and updates unless you cancel. Of course, you won't lose access to the plugin if you cancel - you just won't get any new updates.
Barn2 Media is very transparent about this - I just think it’s worth reiterating.
What About Support?
As you probably gleaned from the hands-on screenshots, the plugin is pretty dang easy to use. But if you need help, Barn2 Media has detailed support docs for all of their plugins. You also get that one year of dedicated support in case you run into something that’s not in the support docs.
Password Protected Categories does everything it promised. It lets you:
- Password protect categories for any post type.
- Make categories private for any post type.
It’s simple to set up and only takes a few minutes to get started with. So if you find yourself needing this specific functionality, it’s a simple option that works properly out of the box.