Gallery, page, and folder privacy settings

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SmugMug gives you several privacy options that you can apply to any Gallery, Page, or Folder on your site. You can mix and match how visible or locked down you want your photos to be by tweaking your Visibility and Access settings.

You have three flavors of Visibility:

And different types of Access, which change depending on the Visibility you’ve chosen:

You can password-protect any public or unlisted Gallery/Page/Folder. You can find the privacy settings in your Organizer. Highlight the gallery, page, or folder you want, and then click the Settings button.

In the dialog box that opens, you'll find the Security & Sharing tab on the left.


Everyone (Public): Available to the Public
Galleries visible to Everyone can be seen by anyone who might visit your site. This setting means your site and galleries are also visible to search engines, and the galleries will show up within your own site's navigation. Use this setting to increase your discoverability!

Tip: Want your galleries to be public but still kept out of search engines like Google? Check your Site Searchability settings.

Anyone with the Link (Unlisted): Hidden from the Public
Galleries visible by Anyone with the Link can’t be seen by the general public on your SmugMug site and aren't crawled by search engines. The only way someone can view them is if you (the site owner) give them a direct link. When you do that, it'll look something like this:

The random scramble of numbers and letters at the end of that link is the "key" that's required to open the unlisted gallery. Without it, we'll just redirect them to your 404 page.

Similar to an unlisted phone number, there's a VERY small (one in more-than-a-million) chance someone could just type in the right digits and stumble across your gallery. So you can use additional security options described below for more protection.

As the logged-in owner, you'll always know whether or not your gallery's visible by Anyone with the Link because we show the status at the top of the page. For example, this gallery is for Anyone with the Link:

We'll also show the privacy status of Folders, Galleries, and Pages any time you're looking at a thumbnail around your site or when you're in the sitewide Organizer:

Only Me (Private): Seen Only by You
Galleries/Pages/Folders visible by Only Me are completely private and invisible to the rest of the world. They can ONLY be seen, found, and browsed by the logged-in owner of the site. We don't recommend you use this setting if you plan to share the gallery with anyone.


If you want your photos to be fully explorable, you should allow “Anyone” access. Pair this with Visibility for “Everyone,” and you’ve got the most discoverable option if you’re wanting to be found.

People with Password
Maybe you’d like visitors to know you have lots of photos on your site, but you don’t necessarily want them to be able to explore them all. You can lock down pages, folders, and galleries with the “People with Password” access option. Anyone visiting passworded areas won’t be allowed to view any of your content until they enter the correct password—which is set by you.

Password-protected galleries require visitors to enter a password to see the photos inside. These galleries don't display any social-sharing options.

You can mix and match your passworded galleries with other security options. For example, you can make your gallery visible by Everyone + passworded or even visible by Anyone with the Link + passworded. If you choose the latter, the gallery won't show up in SmugMug's search and Google will know the gallery exists, but it can't look inside.

Important note about passwords: SmugMug does NOT store your gallery passwords in any way that could be leaked (we use an industrial-grade one-way hash), so we recommend that you fill in the "Password Reminder" field to help jog your memory if you think you—or your client—might forget. For your extremely important photos that you never want shared, we highly suggest you don't use password reminders at all. Here are great tips on how to create strong passwords.

You're covered: When our systems detect several incorrect attempts at entering a gallery password, we'll notify you by email about what's going on. The email will tell you which gallery it is and provide additional details about the location and time that these passwords were being entered.

We'll only show a generic "lock" icon as the gallery thumbnail to protect your content, but you can choose a featured photo to select a different image to represent the gallery on your site.

Tip: You can secure your entire SmugMug site with a password, too.

People I Choose
Have some great candids from a family gathering? Or maybe you want to deliver photos to a client and don’t want any other visitors to find them. Enable Private Sharing by selecting the “People I Choose” access option.

Pages, folders, and galleries available to people you choose are accessible only through invitations you send. Every invite has a unique redeem token, so once your guest uses the invite, no one else can, even if your guest forwards that invitation email on to someone else.


Q: I want a Folder to be Unlisted but a Gallery in it to be Public. Or my Page to be invite-only but a Gallery to be Public. Possible?
A: Yes! Folders and their contents can have different Visibility settings. If you send your visitors a link to an Unlisted Folder that has Public galleries, the Public galleries will be displayed. If there are Unlisted or Private galleries in the Folder, they won’t be shown to your visitors.

Q: I want a Folder to be Private but a Gallery in it to be Public. Possible?
A: Unfortunately not possible. If a Folder is Private, everything inside that Folder will also be Private. Unlike Unlisted Folders, Private folders can’t contain anything other than Private content.

Q: I have an Unlisted Folder with Unlisted Galleries inside it, but when I send friends a link to the Folder, they can't see any of the galleries. What's going on?
A: "Unlisted" means your visitors will need the direct link to each folder, gallery, or page using this privacy setting. Visitors won't be able to see the galleries because unlisted galleries cannot be seen without a direct gallery link. If you’d like to make some of the galleries inside the Unlisted Folder visible, just toggle those galleries’ visibility to Public.

Q: I want to set one password for a folder of galleries.
A: Use a Folder Password! While in the Organizer, select a folder in the left-hand drawer and click the Settings button shown at the top of this article. The dialog window should say “Folder Settings” now, and you can adjust the Security & Privacy settings just like you would for a gallery.

Q: Why doesn't my password-protected gallery require a password anymore?
A: For convenience, SmugMug remembers that you're authorized to visit a gallery once you've correctly entered the password. You can revisit the gallery, provided you do so on the same computer, for 24 hours without having to enter it again. Anyone who visits the gallery for the first time, however, will be asked for the password.

Q: How can I share multiple unlisted or passworded galleries from different folders at once?
A: Sharegroups!

Q: Ack! I forgot a gallery's password!
A: You won't be able to see a password as a logged-in site owner, but you can reset a gallery's password by following the steps above for setting a password.

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