Our latest free plugin, Disable Author Pages, does exactly what it says: it turns any “author page” into a 404 (Not Found) error, regardless of if the page is loaded using fancy permalinks or not. This not only offers your WordPress website more privacy from snoopers or bots, but it also can help maintain a clean, stripped down design free of unnecessary pages, and prevent duplicate content from being indexed into search engines. For example, both of these are disabled:
Not only that, but Disable Author Pages also converts any author “links” into homepage links, and in the case the entire author “tag” is called (name + URL), it will strip out the link code and echo only the author’s name.
While a few similar plugins attempt to 301 redirect any author archive links to the homepage, we felt this was poor practice and opted for 404 errors instead, rather than bundling too many functions into one plugin. If you seek to 301 direct such author pages, we recommend either manually inputting them individually into a 301 redirect plugin for WordPress or using our other free plugin called 404 To Homepage instead.
By disabling author pages in your WordPress site, ultimately privacy and SEO are both improved.
If you do choose to retain author pages, always make sure you’ve created a custom template including each author’s personal information and only “excepts” of their authored posts, otherwise you run the risks of both duplicate content penalties along with low quality content scores.