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How to create a Shopify preview link when your store is password hidden?

Shopify preview link

Why is this feature a time saver and why you need to know about it? Because it makes life easier for you and for your clients as well.

Here are a couple of reasons why you need this feature in your toolset.

You want to use this tool when you work on a new shop feature and you use a theme duplicate or a new theme that is not published yet.

Another reason is that from August 17, 2020 Shopify no longer allows any store to remove the offline page until you pay for a subscription.

Shopify allowed all stores created to that date to work as they were before the new rule since they do not impose the offline page on them.

For example your Shopify store is under a password page in offline mode and you need to give access to your client to check the store before it is launched or just to check for your work progress.

Normally, in order to allow access to your store you need to send to your client the link to the development store plus the password and an email with instructions on how to work with the store offline page (because sometimes some developers love to complicate things).

The client needs to come to your store, click the “Enter Using Password” button that is usually on all Shopify free themes, type the password and click “Enter”. Easy for you and easy for me right?

Well from a client point of view there are a lot of steps just to see the store. 

Sometimes clients are not tech savvy (yes, not all of us are born with a tech device on our hands, and some of us really don’t care about tech stuff, they just need a job done and that’s it) so they will encounter problems or they will mistype the password because they do not understand how copy/paste works and so on.

They will get back to you frustrated with more questions and make you lose precious time for such a simple task which should be straight forward from the beginning.

What if you can just send to your client a simple link instead with the instructions to click on it to see their new store under development?

Welcome to the “Shopify Preview Link”.

The “Shopify Preview Link” is a link that you generate with a click of a button and send to your client to access the store by just clicking on it.

I’ll go step by step on how to access the tool and how to generate the link.

Published themes

First you need to log-in in your Shopify admin and go to the “Online Store” channel:

Shopify “Online store” channel.
Shopify “Online store” channel.

Once you click on the “Online Store” channel you’ll see the “Themes” page where all your store themes that are installed will be listed:

Shopify themes listing page.
Shopify themes listing page.

Click on the “Actions” button (marked with 1 in the image above) and a drop-down will open listing new options specifically for that theme. In our case it is the published theme, the one that customers see once they visit the store.

Click the “Preview” link to open a new store preview. This will open the store in a new tab like this:

Shopify “Share preview” button.
Shopify “Share preview” button.

Click on the “Share preview” button listed in the image above. A pop-up window will display revealing the preview link:

Shopify “Share preview” pop-up.
Shopify “Share preview” pop-up.

You can copy the link by clicking the “Copy link” button (marked with 1 in the image above) or by selecting the entire link (marked with 2 in the image above) with + C (MacOS) or Ctrl + C (Windows).

You can send the link to your client or post it wherever you want: forums, social media, etc.

After you are done copying the preview link you can close the pop-up by clicking the small “X” icon located in the top right corner (marked with 1 in the image below)  of the pop-up or simply hitting the “Close” button (marked with 2 in the image below):

Shopify “Share preview” pop-up close options.
Shopify “Share preview” pop-up close options.

The users that you’ll send the store preview link can do most of the operations on the store front-end like adding to cart and visiting different pages but they can’t see the checkout page.

If you need them to see the checkout page then you should add them as staff or you can always send the password to them and explain how they should login inside the development store.

Unpublished themes

The process is almost the same for unpublished themes.

Go to the “Online Store” section (marked with 1 in the image below) and to the “Theme library” (marked with 2 in the image below):

Shopify “Theme library”.
Shopify “Theme library”.

As seen in the image above I have a lot of themes installed on my Shopify store so I will choose for this tutorial the “Simple” theme.

Click on the “Actions” link (marked with 1 in the image below):

Unpublished themes “Actions” link.
Unpublished themes “Actions” link.

Click the “Preview” link (marked with 2 in the image above) to open a new store preview.

This will open the store in a new tab like this:

Shopify “Share preview” button on the “Simple” theme.
Shopify “Share preview” button on the “Simple” theme.

Click on the “Share preview” button listed in the image above. A pop-up window will display revealing the preview link:

Shopify “Share preview” pop-up.
Shopify “Share preview” pop-up.

You can copy the link by clicking the “Copy link” button (marked with 1 in the image above) or by selecting the entire link (marked with 2 in the image above) with + C (MacOS) or Ctrl + C (Windows).

You can send the link to your client or post it wherever you want: forums, social media, etc.

After you are done copying the preview link you can close the pop-up by clicking the small “X” icon located in the top right corner (marked with 1 in the image below) of the pop-up or simply hitting the “Close” button (marked with 2 in the image below):

Shopify “Share preview” pop-up close options.
Shopify “Share preview” pop-up close options.

The process is the same as for the published theme and that is that the users that you’ll send the store preview link can do most of the operations on the store front-end like adding to cart and visiting different pages but they can’t see the checkout page.

If you need them to see the checkout page then you should add them as staff or you can always send the password to them and explain how they should login inside the development store.

In both cases, please note that the preview link is available for 14 days. After that if your client needs to see the development store again you need to generate a new one.