How to update a live WordPress page or post without de-publishing it

Post updated October 26, 2019.

Sometimes, you might want to update a live WordPress page or post on your site, but you want the change to only appear at a certain time. Normally to do that, you'd have to make your change, then unpublish your page, and schedule it to go live later. But if you do that, and people visit your page in the meantime, your original information is not available, and your visitor will see a "page not found" error, leaving a poor impression.

So how can you update a live WordPress page or post, without making your changes appear right away?

There are two good solutions for this.

PublishPress Revisions can help you schedule post changes1. PUBLISHPRESS REVISIONS (formerly called REVISIONARY): Available from the WordPress Repository

With this plugin, you can edit your existing page or post, and then schedule your changes to take effect later on. Until your changes are published, your original content remains live on your website.

In February 2019, PublishPress acquired Press Permit, and Press Permit creator Kevin Behrens joined the PublishPress team. This means continued development on PublishPress Revisions, as well as its associated plugins, Press Permit and Capability Manager Enhanced.

The PublishPress Revisions plugin also works in conjunction with the Press Permit Core plugin, so you can limit the user roles allowed to schedule these updates. There is a pro bundle of plugins available that includes the pro version of PublishPress Revisions, and a lot of other useful plugins, like Multiple Authors and Press Permit Pro.

2. REVISIONIZE: Available from the WordPress Repository

This one works a bit differently than Revisionary. It clones your post or page to a draft so you can revise the content behind the scenes. Once you are ready to take your changes live, publishing the revision copies your content to the original post. You can also schedule the revision if you want to publish your updated content at a certain time.

A few caveats to be aware of:

  • If you change the page title and slug (URL), the new slug will take effect and you'll need to do a 301 redirect from the old page to the new one.
  • As is the case for scheduled posts and other native WordPress functions, wp-cron has to be running properly on your site for the change to show up.
  • If you are using a caching plugin, these may not work as expected.
  • With Revisionize, you may need to clear out draft posts after your scheduled change has gone live.

Do you have another solution for this issue? Let us know!

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Alisa Cognard

Alisa was one of the first team members to join Red Earth Design, Inc. in early 2004. From data entry, she progressed to MySQL database manipulation and PHP coding. Alisa is responsible for all kinds of odds and ends: installing new websites, adding features to them, programming databases, PHP coding, website troubleshooting, website security, and organizational tasks for Red Earth Design.

13 thoughts on “How to update a live WordPress page or post without de-publishing it

  1. Thanks for mentioning Revisionize. I’m the plugin author and I’ve improved the plugin quite a bit. There is no need for 301 redirects – the slug doesn’t change when a revision is published. You can also have contributors or authors create revisions of live posts and submit them for review. Take a look at how far it’s come and I’m sure you’ll decide that Revisionize is the best plugin to handle this problem!

    1. Hi Howard, You can use Revisionize with both published and unpublished posts, but I think it makes more sense to use it on published posts. The scenario would be that you have published content that you’d like to change at a certain time – say, removed an event after the date has passed – so you would use Revisionize to make this change on your published post, and schedule that change to take effect at the time you choose. Hope this helps!

  2. Thanks, I was looking for something similar to Revisionary that is still supported, and will definitely install Revisionize. What happens when I deactivate it after I’ve published all my revised drafts, as I only want it for a one-off project.

    1. Hi Katie,

      Once your revised drafts are published, you should be fine to remove the plugin if you no longer need it. Your revised drafts will retain their published status and show up on your site just as though you had edited them & published them using the normal method.

  3. WordPress newbie here. I see the point of Revisionize, especially with Preview Post. What is the difference if I create a NEW Draft of the page? Apart from not being able to schedule.

    1. Hi Cynthia, you can certainly create a new draft page instead of using Revisionize. In that case, when you are ready to publish it on your site, you’d want to either copy and paste the content into your original page, or delete your original page, including deleting it from the “Trash”, and re-use the same page slug (the page’s name in the URL, like “update-live-wordpress-page-post” on this page). The point of either of these methods would be to avoid losing the search engine optimization value you’d have already established with your existing page. In a nutshell, you don’t want Google to forget about your existing page just because you changed a couple of lines. A third method to retain your existing SEO value would be to use your new page name / slug, but create a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one.

      1. Thank you so much for the detailed response. I actually was working on an update when I asked the question and realized about the URL issue. Makes sense to use Revisionize :)

  4. Hi
    I have been using revisionize and have found that it SEEMS to cause problems with SEO searches; possibly needing a redirect or on webmaster tools- a fetching procedure to reinstate google to crawl the url— I am now just updating and not sure if this is ideal either
    Any ideas?

    1. Hi Howard, you definitely don’t want to lose the SEO value of your page. See my reply to Cynthia above and see if that answers your question. As long as you don’t change the page slug when you use Revisionize, and are not making major changes, you shouldn’t lose SEO value – see also Jamie Chong’s reply above. If you want to be extra sure, you can set up your site on Google Search Console, and resubmit the XML sitemap after your changes so Google will crawl it again in a more timely manner.

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