When it comes to growing your business, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Typically, this involves collaboration between different team members to handle all sorts of internal tasks. One way to keep things organized is by setting up a WordPress intranet site.
In this article, we’ll explain what intranets are and why you might want to set up a WordPress intranet site for your organization. We’ll also walk you through a step-by-step process for setting up a WordPress intranet site using BuddyPress and Passster.
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What is a WordPress intranet (and why you need one)
In simple terms, an intranet is a local communications network that’s typically used for sharing information and collaborating within an organization. What this means is that only members of your organization (i.e. the people connected to the private network) can access it.
Organizations use intranets in a variety of ways although the end goal is often the same – to facilitate internal communication and collaboration within an organization. Here are some popular examples:
- Bulletin board. A WordPress intranet site is perfect for sharing memos, news updates, reminders, and upcoming events with staff members.
- Online community. Adding a discussion board or forum to your intranet site gives staff members a platform to communicate with each other on business-related or company-related topics. For instance, you can use it to create an ideation platform.
- Document hub. Organizations use intranet sites to host business documents, contracts, policies, templates, and wikis. This gives staff members easy access to files.
Unlike intranets that are only available to staff members inside the company, an extranet is accessible by people outside of the company. Extranets are typically used by companies that work with vendors or suppliers and need a way to share resources with them.
So, a WordPress intranet lets you improve internal communication within the organization, better manage business documents and files, and facilitate collaboration between staff members.
How to set up a WordPress intranet site
Here, we’ll show you how you can set up a WordPress intranet site in a few simple steps using BuddyPress and Passster.
Step #1: Set up a local WordPress site
Since the main idea behind creating a WordPress intranet is to allow people within the organization to have access to the intranet network, the first step is to create a local website. The good news is that you can set up a local WordPress website without signing up for a web hosting plan.
To set up a local WordPress site installation, you can use an open-source web server solution like WampServer (for Windows) or XAMPP (for Windows, Linux, and OS X). Alternatively, you can also use a WordPress development tool like Local to set up your local WordPress site.
We recommend going with an open-source web server solution like XAMPP. This involves installing the tool to your desktop, starting Apache and MySQL modules, creating a new database for WordPress, and downloading and installing the latest version of WordPress on it.
Once that’s done, you’ll also have to add a small code snippet to your .htaccess file for using WordPress in an intranet environment. First, to find the IP address of your router, open the terminal (shell) and type: arp -a. This will show you the IP of the router you’re connected to. For example, it might be something like 192.168.2.1.
Then, add the following code snippet to the .htaccess file on your local server:
Order Deny,Allow Deny from all Allow from 192.168.2.1/24
Note: Replace 192.168.2.1 with your router’s IP address.
Here are links to some helpful tutorials:
- How to Install XAMPP and WordPress on Windows Localhost
- How to Create a Local WordPress Site Using XAMPP
Once you have a local installation of WordPress set up, you can move on to the next step.
Step #2: Create an intranet using BuddyPress
Since most WordPress intranet sites function as online communities, we recommend using the official BuddyPress plugin to create an intranet hub in WordPress. This way, your intranet users will be able to share information and resources and communicate with one another.
Another key benefit of using BuddyPress is that it’s fully compatible with WordPress and works seamlessly with most WordPress plugins and themes. This will be useful if you decide to add more features to your WordPress intranet site later on.
Start by navigating to Plugins > Add New from the WordPress admin panel. Search for BuddyPress and install and activate the plugin on your website.
Once that’s done, head over to Settings > BuddyPress and click on the Components tab to configure the plugin’s settings. From here, you can choose to enable (or disable) a variety of features.
By default, BuddyPress gives users the ability to customize their profiles, modify their account and notification settings, and share activity streams. Depending on the type of WordPress intranet site you’re creating, you might also want to enable:
- Friend Connections
- Private Messaging
- User Groups
- Site Tracking
Click the Save Settings button to continue.
Once you’ve decided which features to enable on your WordPress intranet site, you can click on the Options and Pages tabs to further customize how community members use the intranet hub.
Step #3: Password-protect the WordPress intranet using Passster
WordPress intranet sites are only accessible to people within the organization that are on the same private network. However, you might still need a way to step up your security and privacy game. For this, we recommend using the Passster plugin.
Passster lets you password-protect specific pages or posts on the intranet in a few simple steps. This way, you can rest assured that sensitive content on your intranet is protected from unauthorized users.
Here’s what you need to do:
Get the Passster plugin and install and activate it to your WordPress website.
Next, go to Settings > Passster from the WordPress admin panel and click on the Addons tab. Choose a password protection method and activate it.
The available password-protection methods include:
- Simple password protection
- Multiple passwords
- User role protection
- Google reCAPTCHA
- Encrypted unlock link
For methods 1 through 5, a shortcode will automatically be generated for you that you can use to protect content on your site. Simply use this in posts or pages to restrict unauthorized access to content.
And, if you decide to go with method 6, you will receive an encrypted unlock link that you can share with users to give them direct access to the restricted content.
Set up a WordPress intranet for your organization
Setting up a WordPress intranet site is a great way to keep things organized and make it easy for staff members to communicate with one another in a secure way. You can use it to share files and resources, set up an online community, or create a bulletin board to share news updates.
And, once you have your WordPress intranet site set up on a local server, you can use BuddyPress to create an intranet hub and Passster to restrict access to content.
Protect your entire website, entire pages, or just parts of your content with one or more passwords.