How to temporarily disable your WooCommerce store

Ever wondered how to turn off a WooCommerce store? There are many scenarios where online store owners might need to temporarily disable WooCommerce. For example, around the holiday season, due to a staff shortage, or simply because the products they sell aren’t available or on backorder.

In such cases, it’s a good idea to have a simple way to temporarily deactivate WooCommerce and let customers know when it’ll open up again. Ideally, you’d want to be able to use a plugin to do this instead of disabling your entire WooCommerce store or messing around with code. For example, a WordPress maintenance mode plugin takes your whole site offline - bad idea! Just disable WooCommerce while leaving the rest of your WordPress site live.

WooCommerce Private Store to disable WooCommerce demo

By using the right plugin to disable WooCommerce, you can automatically hide all the links to your shop pages. The best part is that you won’t even have to edit any content or re-configure menus and widgets.

With this in mind, in this article, we’ll explain three different ways to temporarily disable WooCommerce. We’ll cover how to:

  • Temporarily remove your entire WooCommerce store from your public-facing website. This is often referred to as "WooCommerce temporarily disable shop".
  • Hide specific categories only from your ecommerce store or disable the WooCommerce Shop page.
  • Temporarily hide the checkout page with a WooCommerce disable checkout plugin.

Along the way, we’ll also explain which solution is best for different scenarios.

3 ways to temporarily disable WooCommerce shop

Before we jump into the tutorial, let’s take a step back and quickly learn about the two options for temporarily disabling a WooCommerce shop.

Method #1: Use WooCommerce Private Store to temporarily disable WooCommerce

The first method involves using the WooCommerce Private Store plugin to temporarily disable or hide your WooCommerce store. It's perfect for anyone searching for how to turn off a WooCommerce store or disable the shop.

Using Private Store as a WooCommerce temporarily disable shop plugin is particularly useful for ecommerce store owners who:

  • Are sick or on leave. For example, a WooCommerce store vacation plugin is useful around the holiday season, for maternity leave, or travelling. When you finish the Woo store vacation, just make it public again!
  • Need to temporarily close the store because they’ve run out of inventory or if products are on backorder.
  • Are short on staff and can’t complete customer orders on time.

Simply put, this is the best method for anyone wanting to know how to turn off WooCommerce store. Once you’ve installed the WooCommerce Private Store plugin to your WordPress site and followed the tutorial, it’ll hide your entire store from your public-facing website. It will disable the WooCommerce shop page and all your other store pages such as the products, categories, and so on.

If visitors try to access your online store either by going to it directly or searching for it on Google, they'll be redirected to a different page depending on how you configure the plugin's WooCommerce settings page.

WooCommerce Private Store demo store login page

That said, you’ll still be able to access it (from the front-end and the back-end) by entering a password. As well as the password protect option, you can unlock your hidden store for logged in users or roles. This is a great option for online store owners that would like to temporarily disable the WooCommerce shop for regular customers but would like wholesale buyers to be able to make purchases. For example, it's perfect as a WooCommerce store vacation plugin.

Method #2: Use WooCommerce Protected Categories to hide specific categories and their products

The WooCommerce Protected Categories plugin lets you hide one (or more) categories within your online store. In other words, instead of disabling your entire WooCommerce shop, you can simply disable specific categories and all the products within those categories.

This is a practical option for online store owners who:

  • Are running out of stock on certain product categories but would like to be able to continue selling other products.
  • Are restocking a particular category of products and need to temporarily disable those category pages from their public-facing website.
  • Have decided to pause the production of a category of products.
  • Wish to make certain product categories private and available only to select members/users.

WooCommerce Protected Categories to disable WooCommerce demo

With the WooCommerce Protected Categories plugin, you’re able to protect specific categories in three different ways:

  • Password protection.
  • Making them available to certain user roles.
  • Allowing specific users to access them.

This way, you can disable specific categories from your WooCommerce store while still making them available to certain users. Make them public again on your chosen end date.

Method #3: WooCommerce disable checkout

The other two methods focus on disabling the entire WooCommerce store or a complete category. Alternatively, you might want to disable checkout options or turn off ordering for specific products.

A WooCommerce disable checkout plugin is useful for ecommerce business owners who: 

  • Have run out of stock or paused production of certain products but would like to be able to nudge customers to buy other products. 
  • Are facing a problem with a merchant or logistics and want to pause orders temporarily.

While you can disable checkout using code, it can easily get tricky and cause your site to break. Another way you could technically disable checkout for individual products is by using the External / Affiliate Product option available in default WooCommerce. This feature was built to enable store owners to showcase products on their site that customers will have to purchase on a different site. For instance, you can promote an Amazon product on your website but to purchase the product customers have to go to the Amazon product page. 

While this feature can be modified to allow you to disable the checkout page, that’s not what it was created for. It could also easily break your product variations which would require troubleshooting. That's why a WooCommerce disable checkout plugin isn't necessarily the best solution.

The best way to temporarily disable checkout or turn off orders for a product is to:

  1. Hide the price of the product, which in turn removes the add to cart button
  2. Mark the product out of stock

A better option: Display lead times and allow backorders

The problem with disabling ordering for specific products is that - by definition - no one can buy them! It’s better for business if you continue accepting orders for products that will come back in stock. The important thing is to clearly communicate with your customers so that they know there will be a wait.

You can easily achieve this by setting the stock status of the product to ‘On backorder’, and showcasing lead times. You won’t have to say no to sales!

How to temporarily disable a WooCommerce shop using plugins

Depending on whether you activate WooCommerce Private Store or WooCommerce Protected Categories to your online shop, some or all of your WooCommerce pages will immediately disappear from your public-facing website. Keep in mind that the rest of your WordPress site (your homepage, blog pages, galleries, etc.) will remain public.

In addition to this, your WooCommerce store will remain accessible to administrators and store managers from the WordPress admin area. They will also be able to access the store from the front-end as usual by entering the password or logging into a user account – depending on how you decide to set up the plugin.

The key benefit of using either WooCommerce Private Store or WooCommerce Protected Categories is that they simply hide all the links to your shop pages. This includes the main shop page, category pages, and single product pages. This way, you won’t have to edit any content on your site or mess around with menus and widgets. It’s the easiest way to WooCommerce temporarily disable shop.

Method #1: How to turn off WooCommerce store with the Private Store plugin

Once you have WooCommerce Private Store set up, it will automatically hide all WooCommerce-created pages from your store. This includes the account page, shopping cart links, checkout pages, main shop page, and product pages.

Assuming you already have an ecommerce store, here’s how to temporarily disable WooCommerce shop:

WooCommerce Private Store

  1. Get the WooCommerce Private Store plugin. Download the plugin files and copy the license key from the order confirmation page or the email notification receipt.
  2. Log in to your WordPress admin panel and head over to Plugins → Add New.
  3. Click the Upload button and look for the plugin files you downloaded.
  4. Install and activate the WooCommerce Private Store plugin to your WordPress website.
  5. Navigate to WooCommerce → Settings → Private Store and paste your license key.
  6. From the same screen, you can configure other plugin settings, as well. For example, you can:
    1. Set a Store Password if you’d like to let administrators and store managers access it from the front end.
    2. Set a Login Redirect URL to redirect users to another page (such as your homepage) if they try to access a store page.
  7. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the screen to proceed.

That’s it! Your entire WooCommerce shop should be hidden.

To take things further, you can place your login form somewhere on your WordPress website. For example, on a dedicated login page or in a sidebar widget. All you have to do is paste the shortcode: [store_login] on the page or sidebar. This will automatically generate a login form based on the WooCommerce Private Store settings page. This way, administrators and store managers can easily access the shop from the front end while it's temporarily disabled.

WooCommerce Private Store to disable WooCommerce demo

It's an easy way to close your WordPress store until you're ready to start selling again. It basically lets you disable the WooCommerce shop page.

Method #2: How to use WooCommerce Protected Categories to hide specific categories and their products

Once you’ve installed and activated the WooCommerce Protected Categories plugin, it’ll give you the option to hide specific categories from your WooCommerce store. It also hides all of the sub-categories and products that fall under those categories.

Here’s what you need to do to temporarily deactivate or disable specific WooCommerce categories:

WooCommerce Protected Categories

  1. Get the WooCommerce Protected Categories plugin. Copy the license key from the order confirmation page or the email notification.
  2. Log in to your WordPress dashboard and head over to Plugins → Add New.
  3. Click the Upload button and look for the plugin files on your computer.
  4. Install and activate the WooCommerce Protected Categories plugin to your WordPress website.
  5. Navigate to WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Protected categories and paste your license key.
  6. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the screen to proceed.
  7. Go to Products → Categories from the admin panel.
  8. From the Product categories screen, you can:
    1. Edit an existing category that you’d like to temporarily disable from your WooCommerce shop. Alternatively, you can create a new category, as well.
    2. Scroll down to the Visibility section and select the Protected option or the Private option depending on your preferences.
  9. Click the Add new category button to proceed.

That’s all there is to it! The category (and all subcategories and products that fall under it) should be temporarily disabled.

WooCommerce Protected Categories to disable WooCommerce demo

You can repeat these steps to hide as many categories as you’d like.

Method #3: How to hide checkout page by turning off orders

To turn off orders and essentially disable checkout, you’ll need to remove the price of the product. 

Default WooCommerce doesn’t give you the option to hide product prices. You could use code to hide the prices of specific products, categories, etc.  However, that comes at the risk of breaking your site as it involves editing and adding code snippets to crucial website components like your child theme, functions.php file etc. 

That’s why we recommend using a plugin. Our in-depth tutorial to hide WooCommerce product prices explores multiple ways to hide prices including:

  1. Hide prices from logged out users using WooCommerce Wholesale Pro
  2. Showcase product in table format (without prices) using WooCommerce Product Table
  3. Show a quick view of products without prices using WooCommerce Quick View

Once you’re hidden the price of your product,  you can also mark it out of stock. For this you can follow these steps:

  • Open the WordPress Dashboard, and go to the product you want to mark out of stock. 
  • Navigate to the ‘Product data’ section and click on “Inventory”
  • Here you can change the “Stock Status” to ‘Out of stock'.
  • Make sure to click on ‘Update’ once done. The product is now marked out of stock! 

Hiding the product price and marking it as “out of stock” is not the only way to deal with products that are out of stock. If you are in the middle of restocking products then showing lead time is a better idea as it’ll help you make a sale if customers decide to place a backorder. 

Products out of stock? Don't disable your store - show lead times instead!

Show expected availability date out of stock product WooCommerce

In the previous sections, we assumed that disabling your WooCommerce store is the best way forward. However, it's worth thinking about whether there are any alternatives to hiding it completely. This depends on why you want to disable WooCommerce.

Some people decide to temporarily close their online store due to stock availability. For example, if your products are out of stock or you have lead time issues, then you might want to take them offline until the products are ready to despatch again.

If this is your reason for disabling WooCommerce, then there's a better option. Taking your store offline can affect your SEO because your shop pages aren't consistently available to search engines. It can also lead to missed opportunities because potential customers can't find your products.

How to add product lead times

As an alternative, you can use the WooCommerce Lead Time plugin to show when the products will be ready for dispatch.

This handy plugin lets you set a global lead time that will appear on all your product pages, or show lead times on specific products. This is much better than disabling ordering for out of stock products.

You can choose which stock statuses to show lead times for. For example, you could show lead times for 'Out of stock' or 'On backorder' products only, instead of taking them offline. This way, you can stop orders in WooCommerce temporarily.

You can also choose what text to display alongside your lead times (e.g. 'Waiting time', 'Available on 1st July', etc.). The plugin even has a dynamic lead time feature where you select the date when the product will be available, and the remaining waiting time is automatically displayed on the website.

If you're tempted to disable WooCommerce because of lead time issues, then it might be better to keep your store online and display the expected lead times instead. That way, customers (and search engines) can still see your store, while making an informed decision on whether to wait. This also enables you to accept backorders!

If you need to disable WooCommerce for any other reasons, then you're probably better off using the other methods discussed above.

Where to get the plugin

Traditionally, the only way to disable WooCommerce was to either deactivate the WooCommerce plugin from your WordPress website or mess around with your functions.php file. However, if you want to know how to temporarily disable WooCommerce shop, we recommend using a plugin.

More specifically:

It’s worth mentioning that both WooCommerce Private Store and WooCommerce Protected Categories are compatible so you can use both plugins together, as well. Both plugins allow you to configure WooCommerce to stop orders.

Do you have any questions on how to temporarily disable WooCommerce? We’re happy to help so let us know in the comments section below.

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