There are many cases where you might want to ensure only certain people have access to specific content on your website.
For instance, you might want to restrict access to a series of articles for members only. Or maybe you want to create a WooCommerce secret sale for pre-approved customers. Or perhaps you want to create a private portfolio to share with prospective clients.
In this article, we’ll show you how you can protect content and attachments in WordPress without having to code. Before we begin, let’s quickly take a look at the different content types you’d need to protect to restrict access.
Protecting Content in WordPress
Out of the box, WordPress makes it easy to password protect individual posts and pages. You can do this simply by changing the Visibility settings to Password Protected. The only problem is that you need to do this on a per-post (or per-page) basis, or show different content to different people.
However, if you need to restrict access to multiple posts or pages, a better solution would be to protect entire categories using a password or by user role.
Protect Category Pages
With the Password Protected Categories plugin, you can create a single password to protect an entire category on your WordPress website. That is to say, a user can unlock an entire category – and all of the posts/pages/custom post types and sub-categories under that category – simply by entering a single password.
Similarly, if you’re running a WooCommerce-based store, you can use the WooCommerce Protected Categories plugin to restrict access to selected products. In other words, you’re able to password protect WooCommerce categories or restrict access to specific users.
In addition to this, it’s important to keep in mind that these plugins will protect the pages, posts, products, and sub-categories that fall under the category you’re protecting. However, it doesn’t restrict access to any media attachments that are linked to the content.
Anyone with a direct link would still be able to gain access to your files, images, documents, videos, audio, featured images, downloadable resources, and any other media attachments that are linked to your password protected content.
Protect Media Attachments
In order to password protect media attachments, we recommend using the Password Protected Categories plugin (or WooCommerce Protected Categories in the case of a WooCommerce store) along with the Prevent Direct Access Gold plugin.
The benefit here is twofold:
- Users won’t have to enter different passwords to unlock content and media attachments.
- They’ll be able to unlock and browse all of the content and media attachments in the password protected category using a single password.
In short, whenever a user unlocks a restricted category, the password protected media attachments will also be unlocked. As a result, you’ll be able to deliver a seamless user experience to visitors who need access to protected content.
How to Protect Content and Attachments in WordPress (The Easy Way)
The right way to restrict access to content in WordPress is to make sure you’re password protecting your content and media attachments.
Here, we’ll show you how you can use the Prevent Direct Access plugin with (1) Password Protected Categories and (2) WooCommerce Protected Categories to protect entire categories and media attachments in WordPress.
1. Using Password Protected Categories With Prevent Direct Access
To get started, purchase a license for the Password Protected Categories plugin.
Next, log in to your WordPress admin panel and head over to Plugins > Add New. Click the Upload Plugin button.
Click the Choose File button and look for the Password Protected Categories plugin’s zipped folder in your drive. Upload it to your WordPress website and install and activate the plugin to proceed.
Navigate to Settings > Protected Categories and enter your license key. You can also configure the plugin’s settings from this screen to fit your preferences. Click the Save Changes button to proceed.
Creating private categories by using the Private protection option will help you deliver the best user experience. Consequently, you’ll be restricting the category to logged in users with access to private content. By default, this includes admins and editors. However, you can follow these instructions to give other user roles access to private content.
Finally, use the Prevent Direct Access plugin to restrict the files that are attached to the content of your protected categories to the same user roles.
From your Media Library, click on the media attachment you’d like to restrict access to. From the Attachment Details popup, tick the Protect this file checkbox and select the user role you’d like to grant access to using the File Access Permission dropdown.
2. Using WooCommerce Protected Categories With Prevent Direct Access
First, purchase a license for the WooCommerce Protected Categories plugin.
Next, log in to your WordPress admin panel and go to Plugins > Add New. After that, click the Upload Plugin button.
Click the Choose File button and look for the WooCommerce Protected Categories plugin’s zipped folder in your computer. Upload it to your WordPress website and install and activate the plugin to proceed.
Head over to WooCommerce > Settings > Products > Protected Categories and enter your license key. From the same screen, you can configure the plugin’s settings based on your personal preferences. Once you’ve done that, click the Save Changes button to proceed.
Head over to Products > Categories and change the visibility of your WooCommerce categories depending on how you’d like to restrict access.
Restricting access using the Private user role protection option will help you deliver the best user experience to your customers.
Finally, use the Prevent Direct Access plugin to restrict any media files that are attached to protected products to the same user roles. Here are four ways to protect and grant file access to selected user roles.
Prevent Direct Access works seamlessly with Password Protected Categories and WooCommerce Protected Categories allowing you to effectively restrict access to your content and media attachments while delivering smooth user experience.
So, do you have any questions on how to password protect content and attachments in WordPress? Let us know in the comments section below.