WooCommerce Private Category Plugin & How to Use It

Looking for a WooCommerce private category plugin to make one or more categories at your WooCommerce store private?

This functionality comes in handy to:

  • Create WooCommerce wholesale stores
  • Hide specific products from anonymous users (you can put all the products that you want to find in a single category)
  • Hold a secret sale
  • Use in plenty of other ways!

While WooCommerce includes built-in functionality to make a single product private, it’s not really suited for making an entire category of products private because:

  1. It’s time-consuming.
  2. It greatly complicates managing your private products later on.

To save a lot of time and give you more flexibility, you can use a WooCommerce private category plugin like WooCommerce Password Protected Categories.

With this plugin, only users with certain user roles (that you can choose) will be able to see the product categories that you mark as private – or the products within them.

making a category private

How does this WooCommerce private category plugin work?

WooCommerce Password Protected Categories lets you make one or more categories at your WooCommerce store private.

When you make a category private:

  • Only logged in users with a certain role can see the private WooCommerce category or its products.
  • The private category and its products will be hidden from everyone else – including on your shop page, category pages, archive pages, search results, navigation menus, and widgets.
  • You can choose which user roles have access to the private category. By default, only Administrators and Shop Managers can see your private categories, but this is easy to adjust. For example, you might want to make the private categories available to all logged in users, or a specific role such as ‘wholesale’.
  • All the products in that category are also private.
  • Any subcategories are also private.

Below, you’ll learn how to use this WooCommerce private category plugin.

Get WooCommerce Password Protected Categories

Step 1: Mark WooCommerce categories as private

Once you have WooCommerce Password Protected Categories installed and activated, you can start marking categories as private right away.

To do that, go to Products → Categories to view a list of all your WooCommerce product categories.

Edit an existing category or create a new category that you want to make private.

Whether you’re creating a new category or editing an existing one, you should see a new Visibility option near the bottom of the page.

Select the option for Private:

woocommerce private category plugin settings

At this point, your category and all its products are private. But you still will likely want to perform a few additional steps to configure how that privacy actually functions.

Step 2: Configure WooCommerce private category plugin settings

To configure the plugin’s general settings, go to WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Password protected categories.

Many of these settings only apply to the plugin’s password protection functionality. However, the Category Prefix setting applies to private categories. When you check this box, the plugin will automatically prefix any private categories with “Private:

woocommerce password protected categories plugin

You can see an example of the WooCommerce private category prefix setting below:

private category prefix

Step 3: Configure which user roles have access to private categories

By default, when you make a private WooCommerce category, only users with the user role of Administrator or Shop Manager will be able to see the private categories and their products.

While this is fine for some uses, if you want people to be able to actually shop your private categories (say, for a wholesale store), then you’ll likely want to grant additional users access to the private categories.

To do that, you can use a free plugin called User Role Editor.

Read this help article for full instructions on how to give other user roles access to private WooCommerce categories with User Role Editor.

Can I put a product in a public category and a private category?

Each product can only be in a private WooCommerce category OR a public category – not both.

If you want to put the same product in a public and private category (for example, to charge different prices to different users role) then you can easily clone WooCommerce products using the free Duplicate Post plugin. Just bear in mind that when someone accesses a private category, they can still see all your public products.

Can I create different private categories for different users?

All your private WooCommerce categories will be visible to ALL logged in users with the correct privileges. If you want to give different users access to different categories, then you need to use the password protection option that comes with the plugin instead.

Instead of marking categories as private, choose the ‘Password protected’ option. You can create as many password protected categories as you like. You can then give a password to everyone who needs access to them. This is a good way to create customer-specific products.

Save time with a WooCommerce private category plugin

By using a WooCommerce private category plugin, you can easily make multiple products private and control exactly who has access to them.

You can either stick with the default functionality where only Administrators or Shop Managers can see private categories. Or, you can grant access to any other user role on your site.

Finally, while we didn’t cover it, you can also use this same plugin to make categories private by adding password protection. This help article shows you how.

Get WooCommerce Password Protected Categories

Have any other questions about how this WooCommerce private category plugin works? Just leave a comment and we’ll try to help you make your decision!