One of the features of WordPress that I find interesting, but not use often, is post-level password protection. This feature basically locks any single post with a password defined for just that post alone. It’s easily accessible from the post settings sidebar on the WordPress write post page. Just key in any word, phrase, or set of characters, and you’re all set. Your blog readers would see a message asking for a password, instead of the body of your blog post itself.
This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:
Once the reader enters the correct password, he/she can now view the post in its entirety. If other password-protected posts also share the same password, then these are automatically made available for reading, too.
If your intent is to limit access to the contents of an entire site or collection of information online, then there are other software and web applications that can do the job better. For one, if you really want to secure content on a bigger scale, then perhaps you should try HTTP directory protection, so accessing your site itself, or a subdomain/subfolder would require a password. Or if it’s for business or work, you can sign up for a collaboration site, which only those with accounts can access. Even Google Docs lets you limit sharing of information or documents to a select number of people.
However, WordPress’ password protection can be useful if your site is generally open to the public (and search engines), but with a few, select items that contain sensitive or private information. For instance, you’re using your blog as a personal journal and want to share certain posts with close friends only. Or perhaps you’re a developer and using your blog to update the public on the status on your work, and some posts are for colleagues’ eyes only. The possibilities are endless.
But the really interesting aspect of password-protected posts is the way you have something supposedly secret, but still tell the world about it (but not the content itself). Here’s how Jayvee Fernandez puts it (yes, the post is password-protected, but you can perhaps guess the password easily).
The effect is brain wrecking for most. What could that post be about? Why keep it secret? Why post it in public? It’s the online tease, ladies and gents.
How often do you use private posts, and to whom do you give access to? Won’t emailing a small group of friends achieve the same effect rather than telling the whole world that “hey I have a secret and its only between these guys?”
There are developers that have explored the concept of recastable blogging. This means a generic user from the public will see different content from someone who is logged into the system, and is identified as a friend of the blogger. This way, the generic user will not have an idea that some content is not accessible to him. There is no teaser. There are no brain wrecking moments (and perhaps no brute-force password attempts).
But as with Jayvee’s point, protected blog posts might serve to enhance reader interest. If a post is protected, then there must be something important, at least from the perspective of the author. And this might attract attention, say, from readers who usually just scan post titles and summaries using feed readers.
Do you use password-protected posts? And if so, what creative ways are you using this feature for?