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I'd like to display a simple password box where visitors need to enter a password before they can access the site.

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Looks like a good option, I trust his plugins. There are a variety of other plugins available if you search for members, private, access, or a combination of those terms

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I am a big fan of the Members plugin, but if all you want to do is have people log in to view the site, Registered Users Only is probably an easier option: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/registered-users-only/

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Yup, that looks like a good one as well, and also by a trusted developer. That's the most important thing with plugins anymore! – Rev. Voodoo Aug 30 '11 at 19:26

This works pretty well also http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ultimate-coming-soon-page/ redirects non-logged in users to a custom message.

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I use the plugin user-access-manager because it can display messages indicating that you don't have permissions or hide the stuff you can't access. It also protects the download links.

Hope it helps.

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