6 Reasons to Delete WordPress Sample Pages (or Hide Them)–and How

Why Remove Sample Pages?

A new WordPress installation automatically comes with one or more sample pages and posts. This way, you can immediately see layouts, font styles and sizes, colors and other design elements built into your theme. (If you do not pick a theme, WordPress installs the latest free WordPress theme by default.) Some themes come with more sample pages than others to showcase the additional templates you can use.

By default, all of these sample pages are public, meaning anyone can see them. Unless you intent to provide sample pages to the public, like UC Berkley does, removing them is best.

Six reasons that public sample pages are bad for your website:

  1. Visitors may discover your sample pages, giving them an unfavorable impression of your website.
  2. The sitemap automatically created by WordPress and some WordPress plugins will include your sample pages in the sitemap, encouraging search ‘bots to index them.
  3. Search engines will list your sample pages, possibly bringing visitors directly to a page of your site that you don’t want them to see instead of to the pages intended for them.
  4. Sample pages and posts clutter up your lists of pages and posts, making it a bit harder to find the pages and posts you really want to edit.
  5. Because default sample pages and posts are included with every new WordPress installation, some malware ‘bots may seek to find them by name or ID–and change them to say something malicious. (This is not likely to be a problem if you have a good firewall installed.)
  6. Sample pages take up a little more space on your host’s hard drive, although for a new installation, you probably have plenty of extra space.

Will Removing Sample Pages from the Menu Hide Them?

Removing sample pages from the menu does not keep people from seeing them, because search ‘bots do not depend upon the menu to find them. In fact, Google and other search engines may already have your sample pages in their indexes. Their search ‘bots crawl new sites within the first few days of sites going live.

The odds are good that few, if any, people will find your sample pages, because they are not likely to rank high. However, if you are in a geographic area with relatively few businesses, searches that includes the name of your town may show your sample page(s) close enough to the top of the results that local people see them listed and even click on them.

What will visitors think when they click a link to a sample page that starts out with something like this:

This is a sample page. It’s different from a blog post because it will not show up on your blog page but may automatically appear in your site navigation (in most themes and depending on your settings). Many people start with an About page to help potential site visitors understand what your website is all about. It might say something like this…

– Hypothetical Sample Page

How do I Stop People from Seeing Sample Pages?

The three basic ways to remove a sample page from public view are to: 1) delete it, 2) save the page as a draft (which unpublishes it at the same time), or 3) change the page visibility from public to private. Below is how to do each of these.

How to Unpublish a Page or Post

  1. At the top of the editing screen, click on “Switch to Draft”.
  2. A popup will appear asking you to confirm. Click “OK”.
    Pop-up box asks: 'Are you sure you want to unpublish this post?'
  3. The message, “Page reverted to draft,” should appear at the lower left of the screen

You may need to clear both your browser’s and server’s caches before a test of the URL will lead to the “Not found” page.

How to Change a Page or Post from Public to Private

  1. At the top of the editing page, click the gear (settings) icon. (See image below.)
  2. Click the “Page” tab.
  3. Click “Public” (to the right of “Visibility”).
  4. Click the radio button for “Private.”

How to Delete a Page or Post

If you are viewing the list of pages or posts, simply hover your mouse over the title and click on “Trash.” After that, you can delete it permanently by clicking on the “Trash” link above the list and then clicking the “Empty Trash” button.

"Empty Trash" button is above the list of deleted posts to the right of the "Filter" button (past the"Bulk actions" and other drop-downs).
“Empty Trash” Button, Far Right

You can also delete the article from inside the page or post editor (though you must use the method above to permanently delete pages or posts):

  1. Click the gear (settings) icon. (See image below.)
  2. Click the “Page” tab (or “Post” tab)
  3. Scroll down and click the “Move to trash” button.

Questions? Comments?

Feel free to leave a public comment below or contact me. (Intelligent life forms only, please.)