Protection disables for a broad range of users the ability to edit a specific article. Only administrators can execute this function. Generally, articles become unprotected within three months of their original protection. Protection is applied to articles which have legal meaning on the project, are under the scrutiny of the Wikimedia Foundation office, or have been heavily vandalized. Protection is often seen as an alternative to mass-blocking a range of users, and different types of protection can be applied.
- Semi-protection disables editing for users without accounts, or who are newly registered users. This protection is generally only used for vandalism.
- Full protection disables editing for all users unless they have sysop rights. This is used for protection of articles within the Office Action policy, or legal protection, as well as to stop edit wars.
The Portuguese Wikipedia has an intermediate protection level between the above two. When a page is protected with this level, only admins and autoreviewers may edit, move, upload, and/or create that page. The English Wikipedia also has an intermediate protection level between the other two, albeit limited to use on templates only, where only admins and template editors can edit.