Privacy Levels

As a participant of OpenCUNY, you have a right to select from five levels of privacy for any of the websites you maintain (see the Terms of Participation to view all of your rights as a user). This quick tutorial will walk you through the five different levels to help you decide which level will be right for you.

I. Getting Started
When you first create a site with OpenCUNY, you are prompted to select a basic level of privacy as seen in Figure 1. This allows you to decide right away whether you want higher visibility for your website or the reverse. This selection determines whether you’ll be listed in the site directory and whether robots will be free to crawl your page for the purposes of indexing you on Google and other search engines.

Figure 1

II. Getting More Precise
However, you can specify your privacy levels even further once you’re signed into the Dashboard. On the left of the Dashboard towards the bottom, you will find the Settings menu, which contains your Privacy options. Once you click Privacy, you’re directed to choose one of five options that will determine how visible your site is to other people on the Internet (Figure 2). Read on for a further explanation of each of the five settings and their implications for your visibility.

Figure 2

    1. I would like my site to be visible to everyone… This option is the most open and will allow search engine’s robots to crawl your site in order to index it. This indexing process may take a little while, so you will likely not find your site on Google right away. To help along the indexing process, you may want to activate and configure the All in One SEO plugin that you will find in the Plugins menu.
      Good for:
      sites designed for general public consumption, like public conferences & event sites.
    2. I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors This option means that you won’t be searchable on Google or other search engines. However, anyone who has your URL can find your site. This option may be good for smaller initiatives that you don’t want to go global, but where you do want to be available to larger public access.
      Good for: sites designed with more local feel/intent, like departmental groups and initiatives.
    3. I would like my blog to be visible only to registered users of This option means that only OpenCUNY users can see your blog, and they must be signed in in order to see it.
      Good for: sites with a Graduate Center-focus, addressing certain focuses particular to students here. Sites built for courses or groups might choose this level, but, remember, students would need to be registered users to access the content.
    4. I would like my blog to be visible only to registered users I add… This option allows a smaller set of OpenCUNY users that you select to see your blog. Like above, they must be signed in in order to see your site. You can add users to your site through the Users menu.
      Good for: collaborative projects among a limited set of users. Sites for courses or personal projects might be best served by this initiative.


  • I would like my blog to be visible only to Admins This option means that only you and the two OpenCUNY Coordinators can see your site. As site administrators the Coordinators have access to all content on the system.
    Good for: personal projects with sensitive data.
    NOTE: If you have a mapped domain, you can only visit your Dashboard when this privacy level is selected. Most often, people choose this setting as they’re developing their personal domains. To be able to easily see your edits as you make them, you can select the next level up of privacy (I would like my blog to be visible only to registered users I add…), which will give you the same amount of privacy as long as you have no registered participants who aren’t working as admins on the site.


III. More Selective Privacy

Figure 3

You can also make parts of your website private: you have the option of password protecting or making private each post and page. To do so, you click “Edit” next to the Visibility option in the Publish box of the post/page editor.

Further, if you want to ultimately make your site users-only, but you’re planning on adding a bunch of users, it may be to your benefit to first activate the Add Users Sidebar Widget. You can access and configure this plugin by dragging the widget (accessible through the Widgets section of the Appearance menu) into your sidebar, as shown in Figure 3. Once placed on your site, this widget will allow OpenCUNY users to register to be members of your site. As you can see in Figure 3, you can add a password, so that only those who are in the know can register, and you can select what level of privileges these users will get. You can always access and edit your users in the Users menu. Once you have all users registered, you could remove the Add Users Sidebar Widget and increase your privacy level.