How can I make sure my wedding website won't show up on Google?

Love this 8bit mywedding.com template design…
Love the "Pixel Perfect" template, mywedding.com
For professional reasons, my sweetheart and I want to make sure that personal pictures, info, contact emails or numbers, etc. do not pop up when someone Googles our names. We want to make a wedding website to help guests with planning a trip to our location and for RSVPing, but we're concerned about the possibility of the site showing up in searches.

I know some sites have a password-protection option. Will this be enough to keep people from finding the website through searches? If not, what else can we do to keep people from finding the site?

There are really two levels of privacy you're talking about:

  • Search engine blocking (folks can't visit your website if they can't find it, but anyone who knows the URL can see it — this is sometimes called "security by obscurity")
  • Password protection (folks can't view your website without a password)

You're right that many wedsite services (including mywedding.com, who we adore) offer password protection. MyWedding makes it easy for you to create a "wedpass" — a password that you can give to guests so they can log into your wedding website without signing up for an account. Most other commercial wedding websites offer both the ability to hide from search engines and password-protection.

If you're geeky enough to be hosting your own website instead of using a service (NERD SOLIDARITY!), you're probably geeky enough to know how to use robots.txt to prevent search engines from finding your site, and password protect your wedding website at the directory level.

We'd love to hear from readers, though: how did you keep your wedding website private? And why?

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  1. We didn't make ours private but, in hind sight, I would have created a separate wedding email account and Google voice number to put on the site. It makes us still accessible, but doesn't release any personal info we didn't want out there.

    5 agree
    • A separate wedding email account is among my top 5 wedding suggestions IN GENERAL. Tangential, but it really helps you compartmentalize, both literally and figuratively.

      7 agree
  2. I used Weebly to make our website, and they made it really simple with a button to tick saying 'make my site unfindable by search engines' or some such phrase which uses much better English grammar. We didn't want anything personal going on the internet like where the weddings (yep, I had two!) would be held for fear of gatecrashers/theives, and…also..it felt wrong!

    For the same reason, we have no wedding photographs on Facebook, none of our guests put anything online, and we've made our Flickr photograph album viewable with a password only.

    I'm afraid I know nothing other than what my website creator offered for making it private!

    3 agree
    • We used wix.com and they too have a button to make it so search engines can't find it. That was enough for us, since we are mostly concerned with privacy and not with security.

      3 agree
    • Given the topic of this blog, I think the answer is no BUT if you'd like to share your weebly site, I'd really appreciate it. I want to use weebly because I don't like any of the "wedsite" templates. 🙂

      3 agree
  3. I created our wedding site using self-hosted WordPress and one of the settings check boxes is 'prevent search engines from indexing this site'. WordPress is pretty easy to use and set up, even if you don't have a lot of web experience – I'm not as familiar with the free WordPress.com blogs but it shares many of the same traits, so there's likely the same options and this might be something you could do that way.

    1 agrees
    • Yeah, WordPress makes it super easy to do security by obscurity (unfindable by search engines), and with a self-hosted WordPress install, there are tons of plugins you can use to make your site password protected… although plugins can make things a bit more complicated.

      1 agrees
      • I created ours with a self-hosted wordpress as well. I used a password plug-in that was super easy to enable and is user friendly for less technical visitors to the site so I would say not to be put off by the idea. 🙂

        1 agrees
  4. Hey, that's the template we used for our mywedding website, too! 🙂

    I didn't mind our wedding website being able to be found via google, but I made sure not to put our full names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc. anywhere on there. I even tested it out by going to a public computer and searching "[my name] [his name] wedding" and couldn't find our wedding site on any of the first five results pages. I feel secure in this.

    4 agree
  5. I've protected my (self hosted!) website by using the wordpress simple option to discourage indexing, as well as creating a new email specific to wedding stuff so my personal email isn't floating out there, and limiting what information is on the website. It only has our first names, not our last (though both of us has such generic names that they are un-google-able) as well as listing the location but not the time, so no potential crashers. Our personal address and stuff is listed in the invites, but not on the site. I also created a hidden sub-page for the rehearsal party, so that only those invited to the rehearsal know the url to get to it, meaning those not invited don't see any of the info on it.

    1 agrees
  6. As for why: Not only are we private people, but I'd be a bit concerned about an ex deciding to contact me if he found out about the wedding. I do not need that drama in my life. Dataminers have caused trouble for our families via Facebook, too, I'd hate to think what they'd do with our wedding info.

    I'm going to be adding a password protected subsite to my Squarespace site, which I'm really excited about! "Free" invitation and wedsite because I've already got my own domain. Squarespace is awesome if you want something even easier than WordPress.

    2 agree
  7. Another option would be to make private info unfindable by presenting it as a picture instead of text. If you self host and/or are a bit proficient with photoshop or even PicMonkey, you could make images containing private info. Then password protect.

    4 agree
    • Yeah, but that's unreadable by humans sometimes too — like if you have guests with vision problems (including colorblindness), or older family member who use browser text-size increases to read stuff.

      3 agree
  8. Easiest thing to do? Just don't put your last names on the website. Unless you have very unusual first names, chances are a search of "Sarah and Jeff" won't pull up when you google "Sarah Jones" or "Jeff Smith".

    As the only way people are going to see our website is from a direct communication from us (invitation or email), they won't be confused and should already know your last names.

    In order to contact us, we said something along the lines of "We can be reached by our personal emails or facebook. Additionally, you can email us at SarahAndJeff14@mailprovider.com"

    The email we gave was new, but we set it up so all the messages get forwarded to my email so I do see them. Additionally, if you think that you need a phone number, you can sign up for a google voice number and all calls to that phone number can actually be forwared to your phone without ever attaching that phone number to your real name.

    3 agree
    • This is a semi-effective form of security by obscurity, but it depends a lot on where you're getting married. There might be dozens of "Sarah and Jeff" couples getting married in Chicago, but only one "Sarah and Jeff" getting married in Coral Springs, FL.

      7 agree
  9. We used wix.com to make our website and when you're ready to publish it, it asks if you'd like it to show up on a google search. The email widget was also handy if you want to keep your email private. You set it up so that any emails get sent to whatever account you'd like, but the email address is never actually shown

    1 agrees
  10. This is great! Is there any way to prevent registries from being searchable as well? Or any tricks on creating registries that will not come up if someone tries to Google my name? At this point, I'm just thinking of creating registries with two fake names (that are hopefully creative like "Annie Mall" and "Dee Sember") and telling my guests to search under those names.

    3 agree
  11. On the other hand how can we make sure our site IS searchable, I've tried many combos of my sites name and if it's not entered as the URL its impossible to find (I'm using mywedding.com).

    2 agree

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