create an intranet with WordPress

The larger your business gets, the more you’ll need to invest into ways to keep everything organized. You’ll need to determine protocols, define teams, set targets to hit, and much more. There are plenty of methods for organizing all that information, and learning how to create an intranet is an excellent one.

In a nutshell, intranets are private networks that only members of your organization (and connected to your network) can access. You can use them as a way to organize all the information and files your coworkers need to get stuff done and limit access to within your network.

In this article, we’ll talk a bit more about what intranets are and why you need one for your business. Then we’ll discuss how to create an intranet using WordPress and what elements it should include. Let’s get to work!

What intranets are (and why your business needs one)

An example of an intranet.

Intranets are fantastic tools for helping large companies and organizations stay in sync.

Technically, an intranet is a private network only users within your organization should be able to access. However, the term is also used to refer to websites within that private network that people outside it can’t reach.

For example, if you want to create an internal community or website for your business, that would be a perfect example of an intranet. The concept of a site that isn’t open the public may sound a bit odd, but here’s why you should consider it:

  • You can use it as a private news channel. An internal website is ideal for sharing sensitive company-related news and tips with your employees.
  • It can help foster team building. Some intranets act as community sites since they include profile and messaging board features that can help people get to know each other.
  • It gives you a place to set up internal knowledge bases. An intranet is a perfect location to host internal documentation for your business and even private files.

Keep in mind that setting up an intranet makes the most sense for medium to large-sized businesses. If you’re running a two-man operation, for example, creating an intranet can be a bit redundant. If you’ve got a few dozen people under your employ, however, it starts to make more sense. Intranets are also ideal for companies that rely on a lot of collaboration, where many different people need access to the same information and resources.

How to create an intranet using WordPress

As we mentioned earlier, intranets are for internal use only. That means you don’t need hosting to set one up, just a dedicated computer you can use as a server and that can stay up around the clock (or at least during working hours).

Once you have that, you’ll just need to set up a local WordPress website to use as the foundation for your intranet. In the past, we’ve covered a lot of ways to set up local sites, including environments such as XAMPP, and tools such as DesktopServer and Local by Flywheel.

In most cases, we favor the latter options since they’re more user-friendly. However, they’re not designed to run sites that need to be always up. For this approach, we recommend using XAMPP, which supports Linux, OS X, and Windows computers:

how to create an intranet with WordPress on XAMPP

Fortunately, it’s fairly simple to install XAMPP and get WordPress running on it. When the website is up, anyone in your network should be able to access it using its LAN IP address, which will look like this:

http://192.168.1.100:100

Here are some instructions on how to find your LAN IP address for various operating systems:

For example, if your XAMPP computer’s internal IP address is 192.168.1.167:

how to find local ip address

And your XAMPP server is using port 80:

how to find xampp port number

Then you could access your intranet from any computer connected to the same network by going to 192.168.1.167:80

If people at work can’t access your setup, you should check to make sure they’re all part of the same network. Finally, you may want to remap your local LAN address to a URL people will remember, or just tell them to bookmark it!

Three elements every intranet should have (and how to set them up)

Now that you know how to create an intranet with WordPress, it’s time to implement some basic features. Let’s start with three of the most important elements.

1. Basic community features

Ideally, you’ll want your intranet to include some essential community features, such as user profiles, message boards, and other ways for people to communicate and share news. Here’s why this is so crucial:

  • Community features can foster communication between groups. The more that people within your business communicate, the better performances you should see.
  • It’s an excellent way to make your intranet a more friendly place. Without community features, your users might not be interested enough to keep coming back as often as you’d like them to.

As you might know, WordPress only offers a few socializing features out of the box. It’s a great solution if you just want people to comment on your posts, but it’s not as well suited to setting up an online community. That’s where plugins such as BuddyPress come in, since they enable you to add these sorts of features to your website:

BuddyPress enables your users to create profiles, join in discussions, and send messages to one another. In short, it offers all the features we’ve discussed so far and more.

2. An internal knowledge base

Documenting your organization’s knowledge is a great way to help both current employees as well as any potential new hires. Rather than needing to waste time asking questions, people can go straight to your internal knowledge base to find important information.

To set up your knowledge base, you can use the free WP Knowledgebase plugin. Or, for more control, you can purchase a premium plugin like Heroic Knowledge Base.

3. An internal files repository

Most businesses deal with sensitive information, including client data, private company guides, and more. Naturally, you don’t want that information to fall into the wrong hands, and your intranet is an excellent place to store it. Here’s why that is:

  • It’s already protected from outside access. By its very nature, an intranet can only be accessed by people within your company.
  • You can restrict access to specific users. If you’re using the right tool, you can limit access to particular files only to the users who need it.

WordPress already enables you to upload any file you want to your website. However, it doesn’t provide you with the option to restrict access to specific users, which is where WP Private Content Plus comes in:

This plugin enables you to create private pages for particular users and upload files to them. Alternatively, you can customize access to entire groups if you need to share files within a whole team.

Conclusion

Intranets provide you with an excellent way to organize all the information you need to keep your business running smoothly. That includes client files, details about who to contact in specific situations, and more. The best part is that figuring out how to create an intranet using WordPress is simple, so you don’t have to build an expensive solution from scratch.

Before we go, let’s recap three of the main elements every WordPress intranet should include and why:

  1. User profiles for your team members, and primary community features to foster team building.
  2. An internal knowledge base to share and compile information.
  3. An internal files repository where your coworkers can easily access all the files they need.
Do you have any questions about how to create an intranet using WordPress? Ask away in the comments section below!
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