I will be building a (wordpress) web site. While I am developing, other team members will be pushing content. I'd like to have it hidden from google while under development. It will be hosted on godaddy.

I have thought of not pointing the domain name to it until live and using "preview dns",

or buying a static IP during development.

Or hosting dev site in a sub-directory ("/dev/") until ready and then moving it up a level. If in the dev directory I'd add htaccess or robots.txt to not crawl.

Is any of this a bad idea? Will google penalize for any of this - like search by IP and then associate that with the domain later on? Any better ideas?

5 Answers 5


If you are building a WordPress website you should use the maintenance plugin and check off "Apply HTTP header '503 Service Unavailable' and 'Retry-After ' to Maintenance Mode splash page"

This tells Google and others that your website isn't down or having trouble and to come back later.

Password protecting the folder is fine. If you do that you should put up a static HTML page with some content to at least give Google and others some content to crawl and begin indexing your site, the sooner the better right?

  • i like this solution. do you think it would be good, say if you did this for several months during the dev cycle? Or would this be more suited to a temporary maintenance outage?
    – user210757
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 4:34
  • 1
    Either is fine but I use it for short term temporary time periods. If you are developing a site you should do it on a password protected area of your site or subdomain this way you don't have to worry about Google indexing the development area. Then for your domains homepage create a simple static HTML file that has the Title, copy, and images you plan to use and let Google begin indexing your sites homepage at the least. This way when you launch Google already knows about your site they understand what it's about.
    – Anagio
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 13:25

You could also use the robots.txt file, with:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Google and other big search engines will follow the rule but it doesn't prevent from seeing them.

  • and say I have it this way for several months. then we go live and remove this entry. will everything be indexed as if I did not tell it not to crawl?
    – user210757
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 4:31
  • to force crawling you site you can generate a sitemap and submit a link to it via Google Webmasters form
    – shershen
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 7:36

You can use a robots.txt in the root of your domain, with the following code:

User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /

or if you want to block all search engines:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Alternatively, if you want to block access to everyone but yourself, or select people, you can use the following in your .htaccess, once again in the root of the domain:

order deny, allow
deny from all
allow from

Where is your IP address

  • cool - assuming you had your own static ip, right. like if you are coming from an ISP, your ip may not be unique?
    – user210757
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 4:33
  • 1
    Yes, true, but assuming your IP doesn't change that often, you can always FTP into the server and change the IP in your .htaccess as necessary.
    – Yasyf
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 22:38

Just go to settings in Wordpress site you can activate robot txt there to stop all indexing of your Wordpress site you don't need any plugins


Here is what I do: I put the developmental site in a new subdomain, possibly with a non-obvious name, e.g.,


Then I don't link to it at all on any public site, and give the URL only to my team-members -- requesting, "don't share the URL".

I think search engines have no way to find new subdomains without a finding a link on a public site. I think subdomains are resolved at the hosting service, and HS's don't seem to publish names of subdomains defined by their customers. This may not be exactly correct, but the method seems to work for me. To check, I occasionally search for unique text on the home page of such a site. Haven't had a hit yet.

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