UnderConstruction Easy Private Security Wall

Webpages announcing sites were “Under Construction” were very common in the early days of the Web. Now, not so much. Staging sites. That’s what we work on nowadays. Essentially clones of live sites, they’re a better, safer way to do changes and modifications of any sort, rolling them out to replace a live site only after testing and being deemed OK. Users aren’t hassled and inconvenienced, often none the wiser that a change has taken place.

So, why bother with this UnderConstruction WordPress plugin then? As you’ve figured out, it’s raison d’etre is to serve up a page that tells a site visitor that the site’s basically closed and being worked on. You can use its default page (which says very little, but enough); one that looks the same but with customized text; or a page rendered using HTML you cooked up. That “greeting” page appears when a visitor goes to the home page, or any of the site’s posts or pages (in an attempt to circumvent the homepage block, assuming they know the direct link). The plugin also provides a few other features, like the ability to redirect visitors to some other URL instead, nifty functionality that can come in handy if you think about it.

It does have an extra capability, however, that for as long as I’ve used the plugin, it doesn’t really seem to trumpet much: It still lets you login to the underlying WordPress site it’s running on. The link to the login page is still active. Once you’ve logged in, you can see and use the site as normal.

Does that give you any ideas yet? It does me. Basically, it’s a very easy way to set up a private WordPress site, accessible only to those who have accounts. You can specify what role(s) will have this kind of access privilege, from administrators only all the way to all registered users, including lowly subscribers.

You can use UnderConstruction to set up a team worksite, or a private notebook site for yourself, or a members-only site, or whatever else you can imagine, adding nothing more than this single plugin. You just have to administer it manually. But add a few more plugins and do some custom coding, I don’t see why a fully automated pay-for-access site can’t be kludged together. Hmm. Maybe I’ll try that.

Want to see that default blocking page with some custom text? Here’s one, for now anyway, for a site I’m currently working on: SWEATe.

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