I want to make a copy of an existing article, change something to it and give access to this article ONLY to people that have the URL. So, basically a "hidden" article.
How do I do this?


How much "Hidden" this hidden article should be?

To create a just hidden article, then you can create the article, then create a hidden menu item - set the robots meta to "noindex" and then you provide the URL of that article to your users.

For the hidden menu item - there is documentation you can find in the web if you search "Joomla Hidden Menu Item".

Although now Joomla provides an option on each menu item, to now display it on a menu module, my suggestion would be to create a whole new menu, name it hidden and add your hidden menu item(s) on that. You will not create a menu module for that menu.

The robots meta is needed, so the hidden article will not be indexed by search engines.

Assuming you don't use any special SEF extensions (for SEO and Search Friendly URLs), then your hidden article URL would be accessible through the hidden menu item alias (if you have SEF enabled), or the real non-SEF url of the menu item.

Do also note that if you have menu items that link to category articles, you will have to be careful and assign that hidden article to another category, otherwise the article will become accessible through those categories menu items.

Maybe it would be a good idea to also create a new category and named it "Hidden" or something.

Now to return back to my first question of "how much hidden": Having done all the above, the article will still be at a public accessible view... Meaning that there will be no safeguard to prevent people who you wouldn't want to access it, from accessing it.

If you will be fine with that, then OK, if you are not, then you are looking for a different solution.

In that case, as the simplest approach you could create Password Protected articles, and only give the password to those you want, (that's the first result it came on search: https://extensions.joomla.org/extension/ecr-easy-content-restriction/). A more robust and complete solution would involve adding Users and ACL to your site configuration. But that's another talk, and rather a big one to expand here.

  • I will delete the article un a few days so SEO is not a problem. – Ultralisk Feb 25 '20 at 11:11
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    @Ultralisk, probably, still whatever the case, as a good practice in the use-case of a hidden article is to keep it out of search engines - so that's why setting robots meta tag to noindex is recommended. – FFrewin Feb 25 '20 at 12:44

Define "Hidden."

I can see two possible definitions. One is that only registered users you decide to give the URL to can see it. For those, you create a user group for it and put the users you are giving the URL into it. Then you create the article as usual, but put the menu item you create for it into a separate menu, one that doesn't have a menu module built from it so that nothing in it will be in any part of the site navigation. When you publish the article and the menu item, set the access to the group that you created. Then anyone who requests the URL will be asked to log in, and if they're not in the group you created for this, will get blocked with a 403, but the authorized users will be able to see it.

The other way doesn't care who the people are or how they got the URL (whether directly from you or from it being passed around by others who know it). It just requires they have the url. For this, you start out as above but skip creating the user group and setting the access, just create the article and attach it to a menu item that is not part of the site navigation, with access set to public.

For both of these approaches, you will also want to set the robots meta to noindex,nofollow and arrange to keep the page out of your site map (most of the tools that auto-generate a site map allow you to exclude categories, menus, or even single articles). That way it'll only show up in indexes produced by badly behaved bots.

  • when I enter the URL int the browser (with the correct article ID of course) I get a 404 Article not found error/ – Ultralisk Feb 28 '20 at 12:14
  • OK, what did you do to create it, what permissions were assigned? What url did you enter? Were you trying to use the first or the second way outlined above, or a different way from that? – Arlen Feb 28 '20 at 13:58
  1. I'd create a new "hidden" Joomla category
  2. Copy your article into it
  3. Create a corresponding "hidden" menu and a menu item pointing at that "hidden" category.

Then you can reuse that category / menu link later if you need to repeat the process with a different article. If you want it to be "more hidden" you could also require the user to log in with a username & password in order to access the article.

  • Welcome to JSE, I love that you are diving right into contributing. Please take our tour and consider telling us a bit about your personal Joomla journey in your Profile. (I am also from PA.) – mickmackusa Mar 4 '20 at 7:50

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