WordPress websites involve continuous and incremental building to reach final desired layout. A user may be editing WordPress content, plugin or theme in the background. While doing so, it is not advisable to update such ‘half-baked’ changes as your visitor will see broken website. There are number of ways to edit design and content in the background without making it live to actual visitors.
1. Use different WP install for testing & editing
Most of us edit on trial and error basis. It is recommended to use separate WP install at different location on your server for all test editing needs. You can install WordPress on sub domain (like test.basicwp.com) for trial and error stuff. You can also create a separate folder on your domain (like basicwp.com/test/) and install WordPress in it for testing. Once you are happy with changes, you can copy those changes on WordPress install through which live website is being powered.
2. Use Maintenance Mode WordPress plugin
If you are only making one-off change(s) to your live website, then installing separate WordPress install (as suggested above) can be too much of effort. Instead you can use Maintenance Mode WordPress plugin on your current active website. Once this plugin is activated, users will see following message:
“Maintenance Mode – SITE is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance. Please try back in 60 minutes. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
However, admin will see actual website in front and back end. You can make changes and turn off the maintenance mode once editing is completed.
3. Use ‘Coming Soon’ WordPress theme
If are developing offline or on separate test sub-domain, then you can use ‘coming soon’ theme on your actual production blog for time being. Checkout listing of such WordPress themes and plugins to quickly setup coming soon blog while you work in the background on your actual website.