You can set your site Offline via the Control Panel (Settings > General Settings), and then edit the System Offline template (Templates –> Messages –> System Offline). For more info see: https://docs.expressionengine.com/latest/control-panel/settings/general.html#website-online
No. The native System Messages do no parse other template tags, embeds, partials, etc. For something like that you’re going to want to look at the Custom System Messages ( https://expressionengine.com/add-ons/custom-system-messages ) add-on.
Those are just the ways to use the “System Offline” functionality. If you don’t want to you use that feature, then you could of course just have an “offline” template group, and make that the default for now. This doesn’t prevent others from finding your other pages if someone guesses the links for anything, but it would serve as a coming soon front page. Then when you’re ready, just set your default template group to your actual site’s home template group. As you mentioned, there are more non-EE ways of doing this too. I’m just trying to give you thoughts around what ExpressionEngine itself provides.
I understand, and thank you for taking the time.
I’m thinking that EE is (and probably always has been) more for web developers with clients than for individuals with personal sites. The licenses for add-ons are all “commercial” which is not how I’m using it, but there doesn’t seem to be any individual or non-profit options. I don’t have clients to pass these costs on to. I just want to put pictures of my dog on the internet and connect with friends and family without having to go through Facebook to do it.
Don’t get me wrong - I don’t mind paying for software. I’m into EE for more than a grand since 2005 when I was paying people with pMachine email addresses. But the fact that it’s free now and the first time I want to personalize a core function I see “throw us $25 more bucks and you can do that” makes me want to scream.
So I think maybe EE is a little more complicated than I need right now. But I really do appreciate you responding and trying to help, so thanks for that!
Little off-topic, but you’ve obviously been around EE for a long time. If you’re not already over there, we’d love to have your voice in Slack ( https://expressionengine.com/blog/join-us-in-slack#join-us-on-slack ).
I’m also a volunteer on the EEConf committee and we’re having a virtual community meetup coming up next week: https://t.co/vHmQb1L3fs. Again, love to have you share your thoughts and join the other conversations.
Ok, so to round this up…
Questions: What I wanted to do was customize the “system offline” template so it matched the design of the rest of the site.
I also wanted that template to show how many days were left before the site would be back up. The date countdown code snippet I had was php, which wasn’t working in that template.
The “system offline” template is found here: (Templates –> Messages –> System Offline).
Hope this helps anyone else looking for something similar!