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Restrict Access to Your Blog

Blogging is generally considered a public activity, but you can place some restrictions on how visitors interact with your blog.

Block Search Engines from Indexing your Blog

To prevent your blog from being indexed by search engines and to remove it from the Blogs at UMass Amherst Directory (blogs.umass.edu/directory):

  1. On the Dashboard toolbar, click Settings, then Reading. The Reading Settings screen will open.
  2.  On the Reading Settings screen, for Site Visibility, select Discourage search engines from indexing this site.
    Discourage search engines   (click to enlarge)
  3. Click Save Changes. A Settings Saved confirmation message will appear at the top of the screen.

To make your blog available to search engines and listed in the Blogs at UMass Amherst Directory, switch back to Allow search engines to index this site, then click Save Changes.

Limit Access to your Blog

Limit Access to Members of the UMass Blogs Community

The “blog community” includes any student, faculty member, or staff member who is a user of Blogs at UMass Amherst. To view your blog, visitors will have to log in with their NetID and password.

  1. On the Dashboard toolbar, click Settings, then Reading. The Reading Settings screen will open.
  2. On the Reading Settings screen, for Site Visibility, select Visible only to logged-in users of the UMass community.
    Requires user to have a NetID  (click to enlarge)
  3. Click Save Changes. A Settings Saved confirmation message will appear at the top of the screen.

Limit Access to Registered Users of Your Blog

You can make your blog visible only to “registered users” whose NetIDs you add manually to your blog. This option may be useful if you wish to restrict access to students enrolled in a class, colleagues working on a committee, or members of a research group. To add members (users), see Add Co-Authors & Members to your Blog. (Note: Members must have a UMass Amherst NetID.)

To limit access to particular members of the University community:

  1. On the Dashboard toolbar, click Settings then Reading. The Reading Settings screen will open.
  2. On the Reading Settings screen, for Site Visibility, select Visible only to registered users of this blog.
  3. Click Save Changes. A Settings Saved confirmation message will appear at the top of the screen.

Limit Access to Administrators

You can make your blog visible only to yourself (you are an administrator of your blog) or registered users that you have designated as administrators. This can be a useful setting while you are first developing your blog, before it is ready to be shared with your audience. 

It is not recommended to make others administrators unless you need them to change blog settings, add widgets, change themes, etc. To add members with less powerful roles (editor, contributor, subscriber), see Add Co-Authors & Members to your Blog.

To limit access to administrators:

  1. On the Dashboard toolbar, click Settings, then Reading. The Reading Settings screen will open.
  2. On the Reading Settings screen, for Site Visibility, select Visible only to administrators of this site.
  3. Click Save Changes. A Settings Saved confirmation message will appear at the top of the screen.

Password-protect a Page or Post

If you wish to allow only the students enrolled in a class or the members of a research group to view your blog, a better alternative to password protection is to restrict access to registered members of the blog. You can make your blog visible only to “registered members” whose UMass Amherst IT NetIDs you have added manually to your blog. Members will have to enter their NetID and password to access the blog. 

To share your blog only with those to whom you provide a custom password:

  1. On the Dashboard toolbar, click Posts or Pages, then Add New or Edit. The Add New or Edit Post or Page screen will open.
  2. In the Publish panel (at right), next to Visibility, click Edit. The panel will expand to show options.
  3. Select Password protected. A text entry box will appear: type in the password you wish to use for the page or post, then click OK.
  4. Click Publish or Update. An update confirmation will appear at the top of the screen.

Advantage of password-protecting a post or page:

  • Quick and easy for you as site builder.
  • Allows you to restrict access to particular pages or posts without restricting access to the entire blog.

Disadvantages of password-protecting a post or page:

  • The password must be shared among all users who will have access to your post/page.
  • Users may share the password with others who you did not intend to provide access to.
  • Users must remember this password.
  • Users who forget the password will contact you to remind them!
  • Only the post itself is actually protected. Any documents stored on your blog and referenced in this post are not protected.
    Note: Because the blogs software stores uploaded files in an unprotected directory, documents stored on your blog can be accessed by anyone who learns their URL, even if the document is referenced in a protected post.) Therefore, this method does not satisfy copyright protection regulations. Use E-Reserves or Moodle to share copyrighted material with permission or under Fair Use.

Link to Password-protected Content on UMass Amherst Online Storage

For a more secure solution to passworded content, link to files stored on Secure Online Storage (Box), or Apps at UMass Amherst (Google) Drive, then use their tools to restrict access.

Advantages

  • There is nothing extra to remember: students and colleagues will use their NetID and password to access files.
  • More secure option than password-protecting individual posts or pages.
  • Storage on Blogs is limited but you have unlimited storage on Apps at UMass Amherst.

Disadvantages

  • Each user you share a folder with on Apps and UMass Amherst must be added one at a time, so sharing with a large group of people may require a substantial investment of your time. This method is most useful for small classes or research groups. For instructors distributing content to larger classes, we recommend Moodle or EReserves.
  1. Set up a folder on Apps at UMass Amherst that is shared with particular users.
    (For help with sharing in Apps at UMass Amherst, go to your Drive and click Settings (Google Apps Settings), then Help.
  2. Upload a file into the shared folder on Apps at UMass Amherst and copy the URL for the file.
  3. Return to your blog and add a link to the URL. For more on creating links, see Create Links in Blog Posts or Pages.