How To Selectively Share a Draft in WordPress

how to share a preview link wordpress

Sometimes you want to share a draft of a WordPress post or page—without requiring the person you’re sharing with to have a login to your WordPress site. In this Quick Guide, we explain how to send a preview link to people who aren’t logged in.

The first thing to know is that sharing a WordPress draft link to someone who’s not logged in won’t work by default: the person will just see your site’s 404 page. This is a feature of WordPress, designed to keep your unpublished content properly unpublished. So you can’t simply share your post’s draft URL (for example, out to anyone, and have it work.

The quick-and-easy solution comes in the form of a plugin: Public Post Preview. Here’s our video tutorial showing you how to use Public Post Preview to share a preview link for a post draft (of any post type—Post, Page, or a custom post type) with a person who isn’t logged in.

And here is a text guide to the same information.

How to Let Selected Visitors See An Unpublished Post on Your WordPress Site, Step-by-Step:

  1. Install the “Public Post Preview” plugin. Then activate it.
  2. Go to the post (of whichever post type) that you want to share. Open its editor view (the screen that lets you add content, publish, etc.).
  3. In the upper right “Publish” metabox, if you’ve successfully activated the plugin, you’ll see a new option: “Enable public preview.” Check the box to the left of that text.
  4. After you check that box, a text field will drop down with a URL inside of it. That’s your preview link. To share your draft and let the guest see it, you’ll need to copy that preview link.
  5. Send the preview link to anyone you want to share the draft with. Get feedback to your heart’s content!
  6. (Optional) Once you’ve gotten your feedback, you can go back in and disable the “Enable public preview” option for that post. This just depends on how sensitive the content of the unpublished draft is.

One minor nerdy technical detail: what’s happening here is that the “Public Post Preview” plugin appends and relies on an extra query string: a bit at the end of the URL, which will typically look something like &_ppp=123abc12. To successfully provide access to the post draft, the preview link you send to people will need to include that query string—otherwise, WordPress will behave like normal and show a 404 page.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy selectively sharing your post drafts!

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