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  1. #1
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    Is it possible to make a website "private?"
    By private, I mean so only you can access and see it, because I'd like to upload a website, work on it till everything is finished, then have it available for others to access.

    Is it possible?

    I'd imagine, there might be code to add to the htaccess file? Maybe allow only one IP or set a password?

    I could set a password with wordpress, will be doing that. But with at least 30 pages, maybe more.. and having to do each page, was hoping for a speedier method.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Yes, there are numerous ways to do it in .htaccess. You can password-protect the entire site. You can use Allow/Deny to keep everyone but your IP Address out. You can probably even do some mod_rewrite that lets your IP Address in but redirects everyone else to another site or displays an "under construction" page.
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  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Try this:
    Code:
    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !^12\.34\.56\.78$
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^construction\.html 
    RewriteRule .* /construction.html  [R=302]
    Just change the numbers to your IP address and the "construction" and "html" to an "under construction" page, and if I coded that right it should work.
    Last edited by MichaelColey; October 9th, 2007 at 05:11 PM. Reason: Added Scott's R=302 Tip!
    Michael Coley
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  4. #4
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    Cool thanks, I'll let you know if it works when I've uploaded.

    I do have a static IP too, which would be bad if I didn't, doing this, LOL.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    When putting an already running site up for maintanance, I use the method Michael posted for the underconstuction page, but do a 302 redirect instead of a straight rewrite.

    RewriteRule .* /construction.html [R=302]

    If you don't do the redirect, then every page on your site will look like the under construction page, and you wouldn't want the search engines to think that's the case.

    Again, only the case for an existing site.

  6. #6
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    Okay, thanks for that tip.

    If I am correct in thinking, the search engines will have no idea the website exists, until other websites have links to it or/and I submit it to the search engines?

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardaka
    If I am correct in thinking, the search engines will have no idea the website exists, until other websites have links to it or/and I submit it to the search engines?
    Search engines have an uncanny way of finding websites that shouldn't "exist".

    If you really don't want them to find it, hide it for real.

  8. #8
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    Would hiding for real involve password protecting?

    Sorry, new.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    yeah, any of the things that Michael mentioned.

  10. #10
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    LOL, oh okay. I thought you were referring to another way. Thanks.

  11. #11
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Great tip on the R=302 redirect, Scott! I added it to my suggested code, just in case anyone doesn't read the full thread.
    Michael Coley
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  12. #12
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    an easier way would be to create an empty index.html. And work with index2.html.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Some other ideas...

    put it on a subdomain - http://test.yoursite.com
    put it on a completely different domain - http://yoursitetest.com
    run it from your local machine (local apache/iis) and let remote people access it via your IP.

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  14. #14
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Those first two will still be accessible by others who know the domain, if you don't secure them.
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  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    They won't be accessible if somebody knows they domain. They will be accessible if somebody knows the SUBdomain. I can call a subdomain whatever I want and (unless there is a universal table of subdomains on the internet available) nobody will know it is there unless I tell them. If that universal table exists then I stand corrected.

    It looks like the original objective was to have a test site that could be worked on for a period of time while the live site was unaffected. This is what I use for my clients. Unless the project is super secret special and secure. Then some of the other methods should be used. But if it just to work on Version 2 of a website while Version 1 is live then it is usually good enough I have found.
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  16. #16
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Hardaka had specified "so only you can access and see it". If someone knows the domain/subdomain names, those first two solutions of yours do nothing to prevent them from accessing and seeing it. They might find them from referrer strings, or they might guess them ("beta.domain.com" or "dev.domain.com" or "www2.domain.com" for instance), or they might use a tool to see what other domains are owned by you ("testdomain.com" for isntance) or are on the same IP Address. Also, if anyone browsing the site has the Alexa toolbar installed, even the subdomains show up on Alexa. I've seen numerous subdomains (that were obviously intended for internal use) listed there.

    If you don't mind the possibility of people "looking over your shoulder", you can always do leave it unsecured. But if you want to make sure people can't see it, the solutions mentioned earlier are simple enough to implement.
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  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Additionally, while working with a development site, there are times when I need sensitive information printed to the screen (e.g., for debugging a complicated dynamic SQL query, I might print the whole thing to the screen so I can easily see where any error lies). I don't particularly care for a lot of people having the ability to see my works in process and thus be able to learn about my database scheme. I've even been known to print the occasional password to the screen to make sure that I haven't overwritten a variable.

    I would much rather prefer that these things weren't at the mercy of someone simply not knowing where the information can be found. If you run a subdirectory like dev.domain.com, I would strongly recommend at least password protecting that entire directory if you don't choose to use other methods.

    I like MC's modified redirect. However, if you really want it invisible (as opposed to forwarded to a construction page), a deny from all followed by allowing just from your IP address is the best way to go:

    order deny,allow
    deny from all
    allow from XXX.XXX.XX.XX
    Chris Sturgill
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  18. #18
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    It looks like the original objective was to have a test site that could be worked on for a period of time while the live site was unaffected.
    Actually, there is no live website. The website I want to hide, will be the live one, once it is finished.

    Thanks y'all for the further responses.

    cbsturg -> That was more what I was thinking. Then they would be no worry a SE can see it as under construction, since they aren't allowed to load it?

  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    The SEs won't be able to see the content, so they won't index the site. The IPs listed will be the only ones the webserver will deliver the content to.
    Chris Sturgill
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  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardaka
    By private, I mean so only you can access and see it, because I'd like to upload a website, work on it till everything is finished, then have it available for others to access.

    Is it possible?
    I think the best way to go is to install Apache, PHP and mySQL on your computer and run it there. That way you don't need to FTP your files every time you need to test. I started doing this a few years ago and it's been the single-most valuable change I made to my development process over the past 10 years. You can switch between your text editor and browser and see what you're working on instantly. And best of all you don't have to worry about hiding anything since it's all on your computer. Not to mention you'll have a fully functional version of your site backed up at all times.

    - Scott
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  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    I agree with Scott if it's a one-man show, but it can be fairly complex running this sort of development with many developers. You'd have to let people actually access the server (probably via a VNC setup).

    If you're working with several developers who are not centrally located, I don't know if a local setup would work at all. But if you are local, by all means develop on your own machine first! If you're nervous about setting up Apache, PHP and MySQL, check out the XAMPP Project, it will do all the heavy lifting for you and you can be running with just a few clicks of the mouse.
    Chris Sturgill
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  22. #22
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    I actually do have XAMPP Lite on my system, and have been testing driving with Wordpress. For whatever silly reason I have in my head, I just thought it would be better to get it fully working on the host while hidden.

    I also for the life of me haven't been able to find where the "data" or "content" for wordpress is stored (have found where themes and images are), and using wordpress as my CM. So thought maybe it'd be easier to find it, on a host.

    I'm such a n00b, aren't I? LOL

  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Eh, we were all new at this at one point. The data for WP is stored in the DB.
    Chris Sturgill
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  24. #24
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    Yeah, I just feel dumb being unable to find it.

    Would this be the database?

    In mysql\data\wordpress

    File called db.opt

    If not, any idea where it could be found? And I had thought each "page" would have a separate file I could change the name of, but would it be all included in one file? If I'm not mistaken.

    Thanks for bearing with me.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardaka
    Yeah, I just feel dumb being unable to find it.

    Would this be the database?

    In mysql\data\wordpress

    File called db.opt

    If not, any idea where it could be found? And I had thought each "page" would have a separate file I could change the name of, but would it be all included in one file? If I'm not mistaken.

    Thanks for bearing with me.
    Usually it would be something like http://localhost/phpmyadmin

    - Scott
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