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How To Selectively Share a Draft in 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 This is a feature of WordPress, designed to keep your unpublished content properly unpublished.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How to Let Selected Visitors See An Unpublished Post on Your WordPress Site, Step-by-Step: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 This just depends on how sensitive the content of the unpublished draft is.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!

Yay! 🎉 You made it to the end of the article!
David Hayes

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August 5, 2021 1:47 pm

Works great on standard WordPress, but seems to not be compatible with Divi Builder at this time. Activating the plugin with Divi on causes the website to break :\

October 1, 2019 8:57 am

“error while changing the public preview status” message is what I got…

September 24, 2019 4:26 pm

incompatible with my version of WordPress. Any other suggestions?

August 26, 2019 12:35 pm

Unfortunately this didn’t work for me – the link still required a password. Any other ideas?

Cay Lundén
April 27, 2019 7:29 am

Hi Dave,
Seems to have worked before regarding the comments. But nothing showed up on WP 5.1.1. Maybe it is not updated for that version or maybe my other plugins prevent it from showing up. Nothing from this plugin is visible in the Publish-section.

October 11, 2018 10:05 am

This was exactly what I needed and worked beautifully. Thank you!

George Gordon
August 17, 2018 10:09 am

Worked a treat, thanks!

Elana Rock
August 1, 2018 4:35 pm

I really appreciate this! Worked for the home page, but I would need to provide a viewer with links to each of the pages on the website. Is there a way to do it on the home page and have all the pages work?? Thanks!

April 26, 2019 2:59 pm
Reply to  Elana Rock

This plugin is aimed at previewing limited and specific posts. For previewing entire site it would be much easier to ask people to login… not a drama. Give them low-level user rights, and all should be good.

Johanna Galyen
February 24, 2018 9:15 am

You just saved me a huge headache. As a blogger, who is getting in to the field of guest posting, I was wondering how in the world to share drafts for my pitch for various places. So thank you so much for the easy video, I prefer that to reading sometimes. ~ Johanna

Jason G
December 13, 2017 10:19 am

Thanks for sharing! I am using this for one of my client sites as well. This should help a lot since it is very difficult meeting with some of my clients. Appreciate it!

Carlos Rubio
September 25, 2017 11:39 pm

Thank you so much for this!! It really changes what I can do with my stories.

August 29, 2017 11:44 am

You have saved me a HUGE amount of work hours!!! Best way to share a post draft!!!
Thank you so much!

Ramona Eid
November 8, 2016 4:56 pm

WOW! Just WOW! Thank you so much, David, for the incredibly helpful and timely tip. I am going to install the plugin and try it right away!

Ramona Eid

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