6 Steps For Creating An Intranet

The following provides a step-by-step procedure to get your intranet up and running starting by installing and activating our  core Simple Intranet plugin.  We offer the lowest cost do-it-yourself self-hosted intranet solution for those already familiar with WordPress. You should already be comfortable with setting up and installing WordPress, configuring plugins, themes, menus, widgets and shortcodes. We only will support issues directly related to our plugins and do not offer plugin custom development, server/hardware support or general WordPress training and support. If you require a low cost web hosting service with great support and expertise in WordPress hosting, we strongly recommend Dreamhost.

If after reviewing this set of steps below you still have issues, please search Google and WordPress.org, search our site, review our FAQs, watch our video tutorials or search our support forum. If you still have issues, then please read and follow ALL 10 STEPS of the Posting Guidelines in the forum and  post your issue to the support forum first for fastest response.

1) Install WordPress

We highly recommend installing a separate installation of WordPress for your intranet on a subdomain or subfolder.  We DO NOT suggest trying to install our plugins on an existing install of WordPress which your public website uses.  The main reasons are conflicts, performance and security. By default, our core Simple Intranet plugin password protects your entire WordPress installation behind a standard secure login core to WordPress (it uses cookies, but you can always add your own htaccess or SSL layers of security as well, but we don’t support doing that). Other reasons include database and page performance issues and the increased chance of plugin or theme conflicts that inevitably occur as you add more (over a dozen is too many) plugins. Most webhosts including Dreamhost (which we recommend since they specialize in WordPress hosting) offer a 1-click WordPress installation. If you are installing on your own server, go to WordPress.org to download to find out more about installations. We are not server experts and do not support WordPress installations or customizations.

2) Install A Theme

We only support plugins and don’t support themes. We do, however, get asked for themes and can reluctantly recommend a few, however we are coders and not designers.  You can try the free Responsive theme from WordPress.org.  There are other paid themes from StudioPress which we find popular such as the Enterprise or Corporate themes.

To install a theme, login as an administrator to the WordPress Dashboard at yoursite.com/wp-admin and click on Dashboard / Appearance / Themes and click on “Add New” towards the top of the page. Your theme will be a zip file and after uploading it,  you can do a “Live Preview” of it before you “Activate” it.

3) Install The Simple Intranet Plugin

After your purchase, you will receive an email with login details to access the members area where you can download any of our 2 dozen or so intranet related plugins (check your junk/spam filters). If necessary, use the Forget Password option and check your server/junk/spam filters thoroughly.

IMPORTANT! You must deactivate & delete the free Simple Intranet Directory plugin if it is installed.  Errors will result if both free and paid versions are active.

Note, our plugins don’t stop you from downloading extra plugins at WordPress.org, however, we only support our own plugins and you open yourself up to the chance of conflicts with other 3rd party plugins. We never recommend installing more than a dozen or so plugins on a WordPress installation (ours and others from WordPress.org for example).  Conflicts between themes and plugins do occur, and you increase the chance of issues with the more plugins you add. NOTE, our plugins DO NOT work on WordPress.com or WordPress Multisite.

VERY IMPORTANT! WordPress has a default memory limit for all plugins and code of 32 MB and you will most likely need to increase this. As you add plugins, upgrade the core WordPress code etc, you will very likely at some point exceed this limit and see an error telling you that you ran out of memory.  Due to the size of the core Simple Intranet plugin at just over 6 MB zipped and 19 MB unzipped, it may exceed your WordPress upload file size limit or even your PHP installation memory limit after installation.

We strongly suggest that you increase your memory limit to 96MB.  This can be most easily done by editing your wp-config.php file found in the main folder of where you are installed WordPress.  If you don’t, you may get any sort of errors or blank/white screen and be forced to use an FTP file editor to go in and rename the wp-content/plugins/simple-intranet folder on your server to deactivate it and be able to login again (just revise the folder to say “../simple-intranet2” for example). Edit the wp-config.php file (e.g. in Notepad or other HTML/PHP editor) by adding the bolded line below to the very end of this wp-config.php file (don’t leave any extra spaces anywhere after this, since that will cause an error).  If confused, contact your IT person or webhosting company (not us!) or read this article or  this article for more.

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’96M’);

4) Start Adding Users and Content

Please visit this menu below after you have activated the Simple Intranet plugin by visiting yoursite.com/wp-admin to login as an Administrator and then going to Dashboard / Simple Intranet / Simple Intranet.   You’ll see 3 steps to setting up the most common tasks of an employee directory, an event calendar and online forms. You can start adding users (Users / Add New) or import users from a CSV file (User / Import from CSV) using the csv template file provided in that menu area.

step1-si-menu

NOTE: To password protect your entire WordPress site behind a login (which is recommended), go to Dashboard / Groups and at the bottom under the Private Site heading, check the box next to “Redirect all logged-out users to the login page before allowing them to view the site.” if not already checked. 

You will want to start by visiting the Dashboard / Pages / Add New to create key content pages for your activity feed, directory, forms and file upload area. You may wish to name them something like “Activity Feed”, “Directory”, “HR Forms”, and “File Repository”.  To set one of the pages to display on your homepage, you can visit Dashboard / Settings / Reading and set the Front Page to the page you wish to show.

step1-si-homepage

To activate the Activity Feed, go to Dashboard / Settings / Activity Feed and be sure the page ID is updated to the page ID of the page you created for “Activity Feed” (to view the page ID, edit the page and see the ID in the URL such as “post=21”) .  You may also want to find a draft of “Activity Feed” and change the settings on the right to Publish (public). You need to ensure that you have comments enabled on this page for it to work (Dashboard / Settings / Discussion is where you set them to be enabled). You can also edit the Activity Feed page, click on “Screen Options” in the top right to display a menu and check off “Discussion”.  You will then see a Comments area that you can check off below the text edit area to ensure comments will show in the Activity Feed.

step1-si-comments

To add a directory you can start as easily as pasting [employees] into the “Directory” page you created.  To find out more options on shortcodes for this directory list view, visit our Documentation section. To add a employee directory in a grid vs list view, you’ll need to download another specific plugin called Simple Employee Grid View from the Members area and then add the [employee_grid] shortcode, with any desired extra parameters as noted also in the documentation area.

Your event calendar is already activated at yoursite.com/events and you can visit Dashboard / Events / Settings to modify views and more (the event calendar doesn’t no use a shortcode). You may wish to provide your users with a form to complete. To add a front end event form, you can install the Community Events add-on plugin from the members area and add this URL to your menu yoursite.com/events/community/add (see Dashboard / Events / Settings / Community for more).

You can visit Dashboard / Forms / New Form to create a new form name and fields using the options on the right and dragging them to the left.  You can edit the fields, make them required and resave the form. You can then add it into the “HR Forms” page you created by editing that page and using the “Add Form” button about the text/HTML editing box.

To create a File Repository page, download our Simple Files plugin from the Members area, and add the [page] to a page.  To set up permissions for files and folders, you’ll want Simple Intranet installed. You’ll want to visit Users / Groups / Add New to set up new Groups (same as WordPress roles). If you don’t see the Groups menu, try deactivating and reactivating Simple Intranet to refresh menus. Then go into Dashboard / Users / All Users and assign Users you want to the new Groups (roles) you set up. 

step4-user-group2

This will then allow you to paste the [file] shortcode for Simple Files into a page such as “File Repository”, and set Permissions by Group.  You can also set permissions by User (vs Group) in the gear icon (options) area, and also see if you have the ability given your PHP configuration to allow for multiple file uploads and downloads using zip files.  You can then create folders for each department etc and assign permissions to View/Download/Share etc for just the departments who have access.  So to view a Marketing folder with marketing files in it, a user would login with a “marketing” role slug and only view their folder, but not a Sales folder.

step4-simple-files

5) Create A Menu

In Dashboard / Appearance / Menus, add a menu name and click on Create A New Menu.  Then check off the pages you want to assign to the menu from the left and add them to it. Then click the “Manage Locations” tab to assign the menu name you created to the location you want in your theme.  Note, this may vary depending on what theme you choose, and you may have to assign the menu name you created elsewhere also in your theme menu (Dashboard / Appearance / Themes / Edit or similar).

6) Set Up Your Permalinks & Branding

Visit Dashboard / Settings / Permalinks to reset your link format to “Post Name”. This is a good practice to make links more user friendly and also helps with ensuring page navigation works well in the Employee Directory and other areas. Visit Dashboard / Settings / Add Logo and upload your logo to appear at the to of the Dashboard and on the login screen.

You may wish to add other plugins from the Members area to extend functionality of your intranet.  You can reference the shortcodes in the Members area or also in the Documentation section for details on widgets and shortcodes.