Unpublish Squarespace Site: Quick Guide to Taking Your Website Offline

When running a website on Squarespace, you may find yourself needing to make significant changes or temporarily remove your content from the public eye. This might be for a major website overhaul, during rebranding, or perhaps you're planning to release new content and want to build anticipation. Squarespace provides you with the flexibility to unpublish your site, ensuring that you can work behind the scenes without your visitors seeing the work in progress. Understanding how to manage the visibility of your Squarespace website is crucial for maintaining a professional online presence.

There could be various reasons why I might choose to unpublish my Squarespace site. It is a straightforward process that allows me to restrict access to my content. Whether it's part of planned maintenance, a redesign, or simply because the site is no longer needed, I have the ability to make my site private or hide it entirely. Moreover, I can control who gets to see my website by setting up a password during times when it's not publicly available. It’s comforting to know that whether I need a short break or a longer period of time to refine my website, Squarespace has provided the tools to unpublish with ease and without permanent consequences.

Key Takeaways

  • Unpublishing allows for site modifications away from the public eye.

  • My control over site visibility is maintained throughout the process.

  • Squarespace offers a reversible option to unpublish with ease.

Understanding Squarespace Unpublishing Options


When I want to make changes to my Squarespace site or remove it from public view temporarily, Squarespace provides me with several options to unpublish my website. It's crucial to know these options to manage my site's availability effectively.

Site Availability SettingsSquarespace offers a Site Availability setting that allows me to control who can access my website. I can:

  • Make the site private: Only individuals with the password can view my site.

  • Password-protect the site: Add an extra layer of security or exclusivity.

  • Publish the site: Make the site accessible to everyone.

Unpublishing a SiteIf I need to take my entire site offline, Squarespace also provides the option to unpublish. The steps are straightforward:

  1. Log into my Squarespace account.

  2. Navigate to the Settings panel of my site.

  3. Under Site Status, find and click on Unpublish.

It's important to remember that unpublishing is different from deleting a site. Unpublishing will simply make the site inaccessible to visitors, while deletion is a permanent action.

If I decide to unpublish my website, I can re-publish it at any time, and all my content will remain intact. This is a useful approach for making major updates or if I'm considering a rebranding that requires the site to be offline.

Steps to Unpublish Your Squarespace Site

In my experience with Squarespace, the process of taking a site offline is clear-cut and manageable through specific settings in your account. Here's how I can guide you through each step of the process.

Accessing Site Settings

To begin, I log into my Squarespace account, which directs me to the dashboard where I can see a list of my sites. I select the site I wish to unpublish. Once the site's main menu appears, I click on "Settings," which is usually found on the left-hand side. This brings me to the various options for site management.

Site Visibility Options

Under the Settings menu, I scroll to find the "Site Availability" or "Site Visibility" section. Here, Squarespace provides options to adjust how my site appears to visitors. I can make the site private, add a password, or hide it completely from public viewing.

Confirming Unpublishing

After selecting to make my site unavailable, a prompt to confirm this action appears. I make sure to review the changes, as unpublishing my site means that it will no longer be accessible to the public. Once I click "Unpublish," my site is taken offline, and a confirmation message acknowledges that the action has been completed.

Impact of Unpublishing

When I choose to unpublish my Squarespace site, the implications are immediate and significant, particularly concerning search engine optimization (SEO) and my established audience.

Effect on SEO

Unpublishing my site results in its removal from the web, which means search engines can no longer crawl or index the content. This action leads to a loss of search rankings for all my pages. According to Squarespace Help Center's guidance, if the site is offline for a significant duration, it risks losing all accumulated SEO value. Furthermore:

  • Search engines start to de-index pages: This means my site disappears from search results completely over time.

  • Previously indexed URLs show 404 errors: This can negatively impact user experience and harm the credibility of any remaining online presence I have.

Impact on Subscribers and Traffic

Subscribers and regular traffic are the lifeblood of any online venture, and thus, several consequences arise:

  1. Subscribers are left in the dark: My regular visitors and subscribers will no longer have access to the site, leading to confusion and potentially eroding their trust in my brand.

  2. Traffic plummets immediately: With the site no longer live, all incoming traffic stops, and any links to my site, once clicked, lead to dead pages.

By keeping these impacts in mind, I make more informed decisions about when and why to unpublish a Squarespace site.

Managing Content Before Unpublishing

Before you consider unpublishing your Squarespace site, it's crucial to take steps to manage and preserve your content. This ensures that you have everything backed up and that your users are not taken by surprise when the site goes offline.

Backing Up Your Content

I always recommend backing up your site's content as the first step. This protects your data and allows you to restore your site quickly, if needed. Here's my process:

  1. I manually save individual pages as PDFs for a visual backup.

  2. I export site data to a .xml file through the Advanced Settings if my site's template supports it.

  3. For content not covered by the built-in export feature, I use a spreadsheet to track all images, texts, and files, downloading them individually.

  4. Should my site include a blog, I ensure to export all of my blog posts.

Taking these actions saves me from potential data loss during the transition.

Notifying Your Users

Before unpublishing, clear communication with my users is a must. To facilitate this, I perform the following:

  • I send out an email notification informing my subscribers about the upcoming downtime and providing them with relevant details.

  • On my site, I update the home page or set up a temporary banner to make the announcement to casual visitors.

This level of transparency helps maintain trust with my audience and mitigates confusion regarding the site's availability.

Alternatives to Unpublishing

Before deciding to unpublish your Squarespace site, consider these alternatives that provide flexibility while controlling site access.

Setting Up a Password-Protected Page

To create an exclusive environment for specific visitors, I recommend setting up a password-protected page. This allows guests with the password to view content, while keeping it hidden from the public. It's an effective way to manage who sees your information without fully removing your site from the web.

Creating an Under Construction Page

If you're considering unpublishing because your site isn't ready for a broad audience, creating an 'Under Construction' page is a smart move. This single landing page informs visitors of ongoing development, and it preserves your site's presence online. You can use this interim solution while you work behind the scenes on your full site.

Re-publishing Your Site

When I decide to bring my Squarespace site back online, understanding the re-publishing process ensures a smooth transition and minimal downtime.

Preparation for Re-publishing

Before re-publishing my site, I make sure it's updated with all the latest content and thoroughly tested to ensure functionality. It's crucial that all pages display correctly and that there are no broken links or missing images.

Steps to Re-publish

To re-publish my Squarespace site, I follow these specific actions:

  1. Log into my Squarespace account: Access the dashboard with my credentials.

  2. Select the site to re-publish: From the list of my sites, I choose the one I want to be live.

  3. Open the Settings: In the Home Menu, I click on Settings.

  4. Site Availability: Within settings, I navigate to the Site Availability section.

  5. Set site to public: Finally, I select the option to make my site public and save the changes.

After these steps, my website should be accessible to everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, I cover common queries about managing the online status and privacy of Squarespace websites.

How can I temporarily take my Squarespace site offline?

To temporarily take your site offline, you can change its availability settings to 'Private' or add a site-wide password.

What are the steps to edit a Squarespace page without making it live?

To edit a Squarespace page without publishing the changes, I work on a hidden page or disable the page until I'm ready to go live.

Is it possible to create a private page in Squarespace?

Yes, creating a private page in Squarespace is possible by setting a page password different from the site-wide password.

Can a Squarespace site be accessed for free before it's published?

Before publishing, a Squarespace site can be accessed for free during a trial period, but not by the general public.

How do I set up a password-protected website on Squarespace?

I use the site availability settings to add a password, which protects the entire website or specific pages.

What is the method to share a private link to a Squarespace page?

I use the 'Share' button within page settings to generate a private link, allowing specific people to view a page without making it public.

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