WordPress has three different post statuses:

  • Published
  • Pending Review
  • Draft

It also has three different visibility options:

  • Public
  • Password protected
  • Private

When you set a post to Published and Private, WordPress will display its status as Privately Published.

Are there any differences between a post status of Draft vs. Privately Published? They seem to behave very similarly.

  • 2
    published has a pretty permalink url while draft won't get one – Vishwa May 14 '19 at 6:44
  • @Vishwa - Good point. Would you mind adding that as an answer? – Pikamander2 May 14 '19 at 7:03
  • Post status – nmr May 14 '19 at 7:04

It may be a little bit confusing, but there are significant differences:

  • Publish - published post that anyone can see
  • Future - post scheduled to be published
  • Draft - incomplete post viewable by anyone with proper user role; it doesn't have it's permalink assigned yet, so you can view it only as a preview
  • Pending - post awaiting a user with the publish_posts capability to publish
  • Private - viewable only to WordPress users at Administrator level - the permalink is assigned.
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  • Editors also have the ability to edit other peoples' Private posts. Authors, on the other hand, can only edit their own Private posts. – Pikamander2 May 14 '19 at 7:25
  • @Pikamander2 it doesn’t matter if the post is private or not - author always can edit only his posts and editor always can edit all posts. – Krzysiek Dróżdż May 14 '19 at 7:33

Draft posts (and Pending Review posts) do have permalinks a.k.a. URLs. The URL is automatically generated the first time you save the post as a Draft or Pending Review. Considering that, I can't tell any real difference between Draft/Pending and Privately Published posts/pages, other than the folders in which they're saved.

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I'm a bit late to the party ;), but I just found out that in my theme, there is a difference between a draft and a private post. A draft can be seen in the searchresults when you would search for the post title. When clicking on it, it shows a 404 page. By setting it to private, the draft doesn't show up in the searchresults.

I don't know if this is a wordpress thing, or just my theme. Personally I find it a bit stupid. To me a draft should always be private. That's what a draft is, right?

So, it might be different per theme, but it is possible that both options have a different outcome :).

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