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How can I edit a live webpage without causing chaos for the page's visitors during my editing session?

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Pardon me if these very basic questions have been asked and answered many times, but several hours of searching turned up nothing pertinent.

(1) After "going live" with a webpage, a Squarespace user wants to make some changes to a page, but does not want those changes to "go live" until she has completed a cycle of PROTOTYPING and TESTING the changes (you know, basic SDLC). How does she do this in the Squarespace 6 environment?

(2) An even more basic rephrasing of the question: While I am spending, say, 30 minutes making updates to an existing, live webpage, it appears that any visitor to that webpage during that time will observe every incremental change (including inadvertent blunders, typos, etc.) that I am making IN REAL TIME. I must be missing something really obvious here, so forgive me! How do I make changes to a currently-live webpage without causing such chaos during my edit sessions?

Thanks very much!

Edited by daniel vimont
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So far no replies on this one (and very few views, so I guess this is not a big deal to most folks).

Given the lack of reply, is it safe to assume that substantial changes to any page of a Squarespace-hosted website (after the site has been launched) are simply not feasible if the site needs to be available 24x7? The only way I see to make any change (other than the tiniest of tweaks), without causing chaos for site visitors during the edit session, is to completely disable the page (make it temporarily inaccessible), make my changes, and then re-enable the page. Again, not an option if my site needs to be up all the time (and I would presume that all of the beta users of the new "Commerce" functionality need their sites up 24x7).

Looking forward to hearing from anyone who can offer enlightenment on this!

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Well how do you make it make it temporarily inaccessible?If you password protect the site, people will see a password login andget confused. It would be nice if we can customize the password page with with a message - "sorry the website is down for service"

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@ari - The workaround above (disabling a page to work on it) is pretty atrocious, but it's the only way I'm aware of for doing responsible maintenance on a live web page in Squarespace. I continue to hold out hope that someone will hop in here and tell us that there is a proper method, engineered into the SquareSpace infrastructure, to do proper webpage maintenance and testing!

To DISABLE a page: Bring up the page in the Content Manager; click on "Page Settings" for the page; then click the "Disable" button at the bottom of the "Configure Page" window.

(continued in next comment...)

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While you have a page disabled, a user trying to access it will see the default (404) message, "We couldn't find what you are looking for" unless you set an alternate "404 page" in your site's "General Settings".

I'm planning on creating a new 404 page that says something like "The page you seek is unavailable. Either it does not exist, or it is undergoing maintenance." When I'm doing extended maintenance on a specific page, I might update my special 404 page to additionally say: "The following URL is undergoing maintenance - ________."

(continued in next comment...)

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This may not be an ideal solution, but I haven't seen any better options offered as yet.

You could set up a new page (disabled) that will contain your edits, previewing this new page until you are happy with your edits. Once you are satisfied, you can either delete the old page and update the URL of your new page to the old pages URL, or change the URL of the old page to something else and then update your new pages URL and activate it.

For example, if I wanted to edit my 'products and services' page:


I could create a new page that is disabled to the public at:


Once perfect, I can either switch the URLs and activate the new page, or delete the old page and then update the new pages URL.

This will reduce your downtime for that page to a few seconds while you update the URLs. As I said, not perfect, but a few seconds of downtime is preferable to potentially much longer!

Web and mobile developer.

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Funny, I described my suggested workaround above as "pretty atrocious" and you describe yours as "not ... ideal". I'm STILL hoping someone comes along to tell us that there is obvious available functionality built into this system that allows one to perform this basic task!

continued in next comment...

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Actually, your workaround would be THE workaround if only there were a COPY function available for webpages. (Now I'm hoping that someone steps in and says "Of COURSE there's a copy function for webpages, you idiot!" and shows us where it is.) But as far as I can see, Squarespace functionality seems to require rebuilding an entire page manually to make a "copy" of it, and then REtesting all of the links, scripts, etc. on the newly-minted page -- using just as rigorous a QA routine as the original page was put through. (We all test and QA our pages before publication, right?)


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As of now, here is my shortlist of functionality that MUST be added to Squarespace functionality, if the company is to survive:(1) copy (copy a webpage, especially)(2) undo(!!)(3) separate the saving of a page from the publishing of a page(4) option to deactivate autosave(5) option to deactivate autopublish

If Squarespace doesn't add most of these soon (or due to unfortunate previous design decisions, isn't ABLE to add these), then as soon as a viable competitor comes up that DOES offer these, Squarespace becomes Myspace.

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For default templates:

I would recommend just creating a brand new page in your "Not LInked" navigation area and setting it up exactly how you need. When finished, swap that page into your nav and take out the other, then swap the URL slugs. This is actually the method I've been using since Squarespace V5, and it seems to work well.

For the developer platform:

This is incredibly easy on Developer Platform when you understand how to use it. You could create a "maintenance" or "temporary" layout, or you could just use a combination of layouts & CSS to make sure no one is able to see what you're working on. I'm doing this now with some sites, and it's very easy to build the entire site in the background while a few pages are live to the public. This is because in the Developer platform you have full control over the navigation areas, where they show up, and which layouts are active on each page.

Unfortunately this probably isn't the answer you're looking for...

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Problem with this Jason I assume is it only works for new pages, not when editing an existing page. Let's say you are editing an existing homepage , you can't put an old copy of the page up, because there is no copy feature. That means you need to either redirect the users to a temporary landing homepage or worse still recreate your homepage every time. None are ideal

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Sorry, but this is such a disheartening conversation. I can not believe there is not a better method. I have been testing pages in the nonlinked section as well and then recreating or editing the real page with my new "tested" content. The whole time I am thinking how utterly ridiculous it is and it is a good thing I don't have too much traffic yet so that my visitors won't see a work in progress! This is forcing me to lose so much time and build so much less.

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Does all of this mean there is no way to revise one's site off-line? That is, while the author makes changes, the site accessed publicly remains unchanged. The author can click a [preview] button to see the revised page, then, only when satisfied, click an [apply] button to change the site for public view?

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This has been discussed many times in the forum actually, and I have never seen a solution. Edits on live pages are saved automatically and live, without an UNDO feature. And, without the ability to copy pages it makes it so difficult to duplicate a page, work on it in the unlinked section and then paste it back into the live section, which is a ridiculous solution anyway.

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Correct, there is no way to duplicate, copy, undo, revise to a previous version, or recover deleted pages. These are all must-haves.

Aside from that, the user persmissions are so radically different now, there isn't a way to lockout the public without password protected pages.

I hope it's high on the priority list.

Good news is that there are ways to handle this on the Developer Platform because of the increased control of where and "when" to display things. I'm doing this now on a number of sites...

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The solution I found was simply going to the page in question and start making edits and save as “draft”, if I need to come back to it without disturbing the present page that is currently live. This draft now becomes a new revision (a copy with new changes I’m making) until I perfect it and decide to “Publish” the page.

When I decide to publish the new draft with the new changes it then replaces the old page with the new edits I made on the page. This just works out fabulous and is very intuitive of how a writer or a designer actually works efficiently.*

*To enable this feature that is a cornerstone of following a “best practice” for professional publishing or creation tools, one simply just has to log out of their Squarespace Developer account and log back onto their own hosted WordPress.

This solution is quicker then trying to make one edit in the Squarespace platform with the added benefit of having all the current CSS responsive templates of Squarespace plus unrestricted options to add applications, media and frameworks such as Bootstrap or any design you desire.

Edited by afekt
just updated this answer. lol go figure it uses the same protocal of my answer - :)
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Yeah, I'm running into this not only individual pages, but an entire site. I have a lot of customized code spread across multiple pages, and if I ever want to change templates, I'll need to change that code. Since it's a heavily trafficked site, it'll be a nightmare. Right now I'm banking on the fact that Squarespace is using Git for version control (at least for developer templates) so it's conceivable they'll have a way to allow us to branch/version entire sites in the future and then switch between which version is live. This is just a guess, but it seems like the direction they'd go.

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One other thing you can do is a create a new page not linked to your navigation menu (as mentioned above), but create it as your under construction page using HTML. Temporarily set that as your homepage. From there you can deactivate your menus (or not) and do what you need to do regarding design and construction on all of your pages without manually deactivating each one. When you're finished, set your original homepage back as such and you should be good to go. I hope this helps.

Take care,Michael

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  • 3 weeks later...

There are some good suggestions in here -- however all of them are clumsy work-arounds at best (I realize something is better than nothing, though). The ability to modify, test, and publish is so fundamental to web development, it's hard to understand how this is missing. Also, renaming URLs can wreak havoc with page ranking and inbound links -- so that's not really a best practice. Having to copy all the content to a shadow page is also excessive work -- since there isn't a clone button yet either. When you go into edit mode, Squarespace should allow you to edit a shadow copy for testing.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Given there is now the ability to copy a webpage, presumably one answer to this question about editing live webpages is:

  • copy / duplicate the page the page to be edited, making the copy page not live
  • edit the copy page,
  • copy the old page URL,
  • make the revised copy page live with the changes you've made,
  • delete the old page
  • swap the new URL for the old URL


This to me would seem an acceptable workaround, do you agree?

Edited by scoobie
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