View your Joomla Site as a Public User while Set Offline

Sometimes when building a new site or making changes to an existing site, you want to have the site online, yet in an offline mode. When a Joomla website is set to offline, the site is put behind a login and special rights are needed to login from the frontend. Super users can login to the frontend but have extra things visible like editing buttons and unpublished articles. If you want to see the site for you client or yourself as a public user, you can setup a special group to use for this function.

Keep reading to learn how.

First, to set your Joomla website offline, you will need to:

  1. Click System > Global Configuration
  2. On the Site tab, click Yes for Site Offline
    Mark Joomla Site Offline in Global Configuration

    Then, if you view the frontend of your website, you should now have whatever offline message you set in the Global Configuration and a login module. Note, some templates have special overrides for the offline page, so you might have messaging or imagery that needs to be edited elsewhere.
    login to frontend of offline joomla site

    If you login as a Super User, you can view the site, but you will also see extra options that allow you to edit articles or modules from the frontend.
    viewing offline joomla site as super user

If you want to login and see the site as a normal public visitor would, you will need to setup a different group with special rights.

  1. Go to Users>Groups
  2. Click New to create a new group
    create new joomla group
  3. Call the Group Reviewer, or whatever you prefer
    Name Group in Joomla
  4. Make sure to leave the Parent Group on Public
  5. Click Save & Close

    You should now see the Group listed under Public, same level as Registered, but not under Registered.
    Verify Group under Public

  6. Next you need to set the rights on this new Group, so go to Global Configuration
    Set Permissions for Group in Global Config
  7. Once in Global Configuration, go to the Permissions Tab
    Permissions tab in globale configuration of joomla
  8. Once on the Permissions tab, select the new Reviewer group
  9. Set Site Login to “Allowed”
  10. Set Offline Access to “Allowed”
    set group permissions
  11. Click Save & Close

    Now that you have a User Group setup, you need to go and create a new user.

  12. Go to Users>Manage>Add New User
    Add new user in Joomla
  13. You will need to give the user a name, username, password, and email on the Account Details tab
    Setup new user
  14. Then select the Assigned User Groups tab
  15. Uncheck Registered, and select Reviewer, or whatever you named your group
    assign user groups in joomla
  16. Click Save & Close

    You should now see the new user you created in the Reviewer group.
    verify new user

  17. Now, to check that the user is setup correctly, go back to the frontend and login with your new user
    login to frontend of offline joomla site

Once logged in, you should see the site as a public user, with no editing capabilities.
view offline joomla site as public

You can always delete this user group later on if you no longer need it. If you need to allow someone to access this site when offline but see as a Registered User, you would simply follow these steps with the exception of making the Group Parent “Registered” versus “Public.”

Interested in learning more about Joomla? Check out our many courses about Joomla and Joomla-related topics.


  • Robbie Adair

    Robbie started her career in corporate training until starting her own custom training and media company almost seventeen years ago. In 2010, she began doing classroom training for OSTraining while running Media A-Team. She is often presenting about various tech topics such as Joomla, Fabrik, Web Development, Social Media, and Augmented Reality. She loves seeing that "ah-ha" moment in peoples eyes in her sessions and workshops. She lives in Houston, Texas, but enjoys all the travel for client work and speaking gigs.

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2 years ago

This article really helped me. Thank you!

2 years ago

In Joomla 4, the user nesting needed to be set within the ‘public’ grouping, as follows

– Enabled Viewer  <-- – Guest – Manager |  –  Administrator (etc)

2 years ago

Thank you Robbie ! This is just what I needed.

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