[00:00:00] Jason Tucker: This is episode number 402 of WPwatercooler. Can you build an intranet with WordPress? Brought to you by. Not just DesktopServer but ServerPress and WP Site Sync. go over to WPsitesync.com to check them out. I’m Jason Tucker, you can find me at Jason Tucker on Twitter.
[00:00:32] Se Reed: I’m Sé Reed @ Se reed media on all the things I make WordPress teacher WordPress, preach WordPress what? what?.
[00:00:39] Jason Cosper: What y’all thought you wasn’t going to see me. I’m the old Cyrus of this shit. Jason Cosper, AKA fat Mullenweg back in the building.
[00:00:47] Jason Tucker: Go and leave us a review over on Spotify, apple podcasts, and Google podcasts. We’d appreciate it. And we are selling merch, go over to wpwatercooler.com/store, where you can learn how you can purchase those items. Right now we have the shirt that I’m wearing right now for sale. So go take a look at it.
[00:01:10] Se Reed: All proceeds, go to charity.
[00:01:12] Jason Tucker: Yeah, percent proceeds go to charity. I’m hoping that they don’t send you a dime for it.
[00:01:17] Jason Tucker: So that’ll be super awesome.
[00:01:19] Se Reed: Happening today on today’s show.
[00:01:21] Jason Tucker: Yeah. So the idea of this show is we’re going to be talking about intranet, and if you’re not familiar with what an intranet is, it’s the internet with an, a, an intranet is it’s your internal website. It’s the internal way of doing communications of sharing, documentation of doing all that fun stuff.
[00:01:39] Jason Tucker: And for the last. Companies that I’ve worked for. I built internets using WordPress say after we’ve been talking about it and say he’s been cranking out internets for her customers as well. So
[00:01:49] Jason Tucker: Them out.
[00:01:50] Se Reed: I would like to say that Jason is playing the role of Steve today in today’s episode and reading the definition of Wikipedia or the Wikipedia of internet for us.
[00:01:59] Jason Tucker: That was off the top right here.
[00:02:01] Se Reed: Oh, okay. There further, do you want to read the definition? No, you don’t have to do
[00:02:08] Jason Cosper: I don’t even have Wikipedia up.
[00:02:11] Se Reed: I just really wanted to say scruffy, Nerf, herder.
[00:02:13] Se Reed: That’s
[00:02:13] Jason Cosper: so I’m coming at this from the outsider’s perspective, which is one that I don’t take very much. I’ve used internets. I’ve used internets based on confluence. I’ve used internet spaced on the media. The same thing that powers a Wikipedia and like long running media Wiki installs
[00:02:38] Se Reed: I don’t use it so long. That sounds really weird.
[00:02:43] Jason Cosper: it it is you, you probably still browse Wikipedia, but you probably haven’t contributed to a
[00:02:50] Se Reed: Oh, yeah, I know I got locked. I got banned from Wikipedia, 10 years ago and somehow they always know it’s me. And I can’t get an account anymore. I don’t know.
[00:02:58] Jason Tucker: Just donate and maybe they’ll reset it.
[00:03:01] Se Reed: I always donate to a PDF every time I value Wikipedia and they’re like, we need five and I say,
[00:03:08] Jason Cosper: band, but you still donate. That is
[00:03:11] Se Reed: be real. I just haven’t put the effort in to try to figure. If I to edit, I was interested in college. I don’t care anymore. I’m,
[00:03:19] Jason Cosper: sure.
[00:03:20] Se Reed: I’m like, you know what? That could be written better, but.
[00:03:24] Jason Tucker: So could we start, can we start with the most important part of a Wiki or with a Wiki have a intranet. Which I think is the most important part would be the security behind it and how you’re going to protect people from the outside logging into it.
[00:03:40] Se Reed: Cause the whole point is intra. So that’s definitely the most primary feature that it needs. I think the instinct is to just say, oh, you can do this with membership plugins. Which is mostly what I’ve. My various internets on I have been researching for a new internet that I have to build for basically like employing links to log into various Airbnb forms.
[00:04:08] Se Reed: So it’s basically like a list of links, but it needs to be pretty and user. And in, so doing, I found a whole little world of intranet utilities for WordPress that I thought was including themes. I was like, oh I was just like, maybe we can throw some blocks up, but there’s a whole little internet sub economy
[00:04:31] Jason Tucker: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:04:32] Se Reed: happening in there.
[00:04:33] Se Reed: Which, so here I have a question for you J. When we were talking about this before the show, when we were talking about this topic you said that you had an intranet for your current work, but that you were leaving a WordPress intranet.
[00:04:53] Jason Tucker: Yeah. So the reason why is that? We so the organization I work for, we are a Google shop. So we use all Google stuff for everything. And using Google workspace, I wouldn’t be able to use Google workspaces authentication to determine whether or not this person should have access to the intranet.
[00:05:14] Jason Tucker: A lot of my users. Use the intranet as their start page on their computers. So I want to make sure that I’m providing them with the best information that they can get and also be able to like easily click on HR stuff and internal web services and all that fun stuff. So having that Google piece do it is super important to me, but man the services that are the things that are out there are super duper expensive especially for a non-profit.
[00:05:43] Se Reed: For what?
[00:05:44] Jason Tucker: For doing the authentication side of it. So the the software that we used or the, that we used for, it was this one, which is called a Google apps login for work.
[00:05:58] Se Reed: yeah. I was looking at this.
[00:06:00] Jason Tucker: Yeah. So this one gets spendy. If you have a lot of people working for you, or if you have multiple websites. So we have about seven different websites that we manage off of this.
[00:06:11] Jason Tucker: So we end up in the unlimited category and we have roughly around 150 to 200 users. So I start getting into the $599 for authentication.
[00:06:23] Se Reed: Yeah. That’s just like having them log in to something else. So logging into just their own Google drive is a better choice for that. Cause it’s included. Cause all you’re doing is pulling all of the stuff that’s in your Google drive out into the WordPress anyway. Which
[00:06:42] Jason Tucker: Is that’s
[00:06:43] Se Reed: by the way, there’s a Google drive for WordPress plugin.
[00:06:47] Jason Tucker: Yeah. So the problem was, is I started going through all this stuff and each one of these solutions had more money that was involved in it. So to add the Google drive part of it, using the same company that makes us, they charge about $199 a year for being able to do that for a single site or $399 a year for having it for multiple sites.
[00:07:10] Jason Tucker: For
[00:07:10] Se Reed: this thing, this same company is it’s this WP. Gallagan team, right? This was like, they have this whole suite and I love seeing Gallagin it’s so much fun to say that, but, so that was, I just found this plugin when I was looking for this they’re all in one intranet, which has a free version.
[00:07:30] Se Reed: And then the pro version. Basically just adds multi-site, but it doesn’t have Google authentication obviously. Cause they sell the plugin, which you just saw, which charges X number of dollars for that. But it has WordPress user based intranet essentially. So I would say their free version for this is definitely reliable, but it’s very clearly, I think a lot.
[00:07:57] Se Reed: Heading right into that Google app and Google authentication log on.
[00:08:02] Jason Tucker: Yeah. So one of the, one of the things to look at when you’re doing this for any of these authentication things, is typically they look at all of the accounts that are on the if you’re using Microsoft, if using Google, any of the different places, you’re authenticating, they look at all the users that you have.
[00:08:19] Jason Tucker: So if you have a bunch of what I call service accounts, all of those service accounts get added onto it. So I only have 60 people that work at my organization, but I have like almost 200 users in my database, just because of all the different service accounts that we
[00:08:36] Se Reed: So that account doesn’t allow you to decide which of those users you’re integrating.
[00:08:43] Jason Tucker: entire universe of your existence with Google. It looks at it and says, here you go.
[00:08:49] Se Reed: And your reason for not wanting to just use the native WordPress user account slash login is because you just don’t want to have people manage another account, essentially.
[00:09:00] Jason Tucker: Yeah. They’ll never use it.
[00:09:02] Se Reed: They’ll never use it.
[00:09:03] Jason Tucker: never use it. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:09:07] Se Reed: I, my the main client that I’ve got the, I built multiple ones, but the new one that I’m building, they are adamantly not Google workspace users, which makes me sad on a lot of levels. They have a whole structure built, but this is not going to be the highest secure. It’s not going to actually hold any documents.
[00:09:29] Se Reed: It’s just really a. A bunch of basically a lot of links for them to manage their data input. So it doesn’t have to be super elaborate and they don’t have existing user accounts. So the use case for my current installed. Totally works for a WordPress installed because in order to use something like Google drive, I’d have to pay all of that money and set something up separately.
[00:09:55] Se Reed: So I’m just building out a a hosted site that’s locked down and I might use this all in one intranet. I’ve always used, like I said, different plugins before, but now with awesome motive buying up paid. Why can never remember which ones they had paid memberships pro right. Paid memberships pro that’s the one that they just bought.
[00:10:22] Se Reed: You remember?
[00:10:23] Jason Tucker: I don’t
[00:10:24] Se Reed: No one can remember the name with sand hill and awesome.
[00:10:27] Jason Cosper: It’s so hard to remember who.
[00:10:30] Se Reed: I think it’s paid membership sprout. Anyways, someone can look it up and tell us that we’re wrong and you’re welcome to, or I could go live on the air if you want me to. But whatever point is when you’re building your intranet, which is in theory supposed to be this, like long-term. Project.
[00:10:50] Jason Tucker: Right.
[00:10:51] Se Reed: It matters just like with every project, but it matters which plugin you’re using, because it’s not going to be as easy to switch something that involves all the users as it is to switch something that just the backend might touch.
[00:11:07] Se Reed: If you want to switch plugins later there’s a lot of different for different functionality. There’s a lot of different ways you can do that. And maybe people will notice on the front end or not, but in this case, it all involved users and their login and their user experience and what they see when they log in.
[00:11:24] Se Reed: And so that becomes a much more entrenched decision than when you’re doing stuff that may not show on the front end, but only shows on the backend. So really becomes just so much more complex. And I think maybe even more so than just a regular membership plugin site, because people at work tend to really it’s like that whole book who moved my cheese. Like when you, like, when people move things in their work, it’s really disruptive across the work environment.
[00:11:59] Jason Tucker: Yup,
[00:12:00] Se Reed: So I think changing around the knowledge-base costs, we’re racing that the place you work, I don’t know if we’re talking about that online or what, but the place that you work has been using the same media Wiki since the two thousands, since Brittany, since before Brittany was in her
[00:12:17] Jason Tucker: which is where the microphone.
[00:12:18] Se Reed: Yeah.
[00:12:20] Jason Cosper: Yeah.
[00:12:21] Se Reed: Millennials pre Brittany conservatorship or after it, Brittany.
[00:12:25] Jason Cosper: I think that they’ve been using it since the time that her and Justin showed up in the all denim outfits.
[00:12:32] Se Reed: That isn’t easy.
[00:12:34] Jason Tucker: So
[00:12:34] Se Reed: How would you ever even convert from something that you’ve been using for that long? What, I can’t imagine the obviously I can imagine it. I am imagining it right. The that’s what seems like a lot of work. There’s so much invested debt technology in their knowledge, debt, technology, debt like inherent when.
[00:12:58] Jason Cosper: and with that the interesting thing about it is that it is because it’s media, Wiki and itself hosted. And I work at a company with a bunch of nerds. It’s fairly easy for them to shove that behind like the VPNs. You only can log into the VPN and then. You can get access to that.
[00:13:25] Jason Cosper: So you don’t have to worry about any sort of Google authentication or anything like that. It’s only if you want us like start adding stuff to the Wiki only if that becomes like a part of your job where you’re adding like knowledge to that, then you have to sign up for an account and everything else.
[00:13:47] Jason Cosper: But again if you lose your position,
[00:13:51] Se Reed: in your internal login, you still have to set up an account in order to edit the internal Wiki. It’s not directly connected with an existing and account.
[00:14:04] Jason Cosper: I think so. I’m probably talking out of turn, but I believe so.
[00:14:10] Se Reed: Cause I think, I really think that user management and is the core thing here, because being eight, the thing about using the Google integration is that you can just, this is the beauty of Google workspace. You can just go in and go and delete that user. And then their access to everything is cut off with, we’ve covered that in a previous episode, in terms of protecting yourself against internal threats.
[00:14:36] Jason Tucker: Yeah.
[00:14:37] Se Reed: That’s really valuable, like being able to just turn that off versus having, being like, oh yeah. Did someone turn off the Wiki?
[00:14:43] Jason Tucker: goes back to what Cosper was saying in that if you’re, it depends on how the people in the organization will be interacting with it. So if the if they have to use a VPN in order to connect, to do any type of. Then you’re golden, because then you just say the allow will only allow them to connect via this one in point through the VPN and essentially you’re coming from wherever the VPN is going to, or in my situation my users aren’t that sophisticated to need a VPN because all their stuff is cloud-based anyhow.
[00:15:16] Jason Tucker: I just need them to pretend that they are the correct. And if they’re logged into a Google account and even the Google account part is difficult. But making sure that the login into the correct Google account, then they’re able to access those services that, that Google account is allowed to access.
[00:15:32] Jason Tucker: So it really just depends on how the company is set up. You can have a company where they never allow anyone to work off a site ever. And if that’s the case, then it’s super simple. You just say, are you coming from this IP address? If not, sorry. And as long as the IP address never changes, you’re good.
[00:15:49] Se Reed: Oh, go ahead.
[00:15:50] Jason Cosper: I was going to say so, so Tucker I thought of a situation. I know that there are several plugins out there. I don’t know of any decent ones. I’m sure that there are but I know that a lot of sites that aren’t WordPress have been moving to like these kinds of magic link setups, where they email you a link to log in I know that would probably end up just confusing a number of your end users.
[00:16:22] Jason Cosper: I’m sure. But,
[00:16:25] Jason Tucker: page doesn’t work.
[00:16:26] Jason Cosper: For some, for, in some situations Jessie, you route around the whole having to pay Google or having to pay a third party to integrate with Google and you still really dead set on using WordPress. It seems like one of those password lists log-in magic link login plugins might be a good option.
[00:16:50] Jason Cosper: There, cause even there was one that I saw the pro version of it is like 39 bucks a month compared to what was it? 5 99 for 200 users. Okay. So 39 bucks a month and you can put it on a site and.
[00:17:09] Se Reed: this is what I love about. WordPress in general, is that there’s so many ways to construct something in your case, of course, we’re talking about outside of WordPress media, Wiki, and then outside of WordPress, Google, but also within the WordPress sphere, you have all the different authentications.
[00:17:27] Se Reed: You could probably find someone to authenticate with Facebook if you wanted to be just real day about it.
[00:17:33] Jason Tucker: So there’s like auth zero, for instance, is a, is an organization that you could pay for that. Or an applicant, an online thing that you could pay for that would do the authentication for you. And they are just like a dumb authenticator. It’s whatever you want me to authenticate with, let me know.
[00:17:49] Jason Tucker: And then it will go out and do the authentication. So it just depends on if the, like for us, if you’re the, if you’re the, if you’re the vendor coming in to build a website and build the intranet. Ask these questions, like, how are you with indicating with other stuff? Do you authenticate with other stuff currently?
[00:18:05] Jason Tucker: Is there a website that you have some, either a magic link for it, or they have some kind of a Google thing, or maybe they’re using Azure for all their stuff. Whatever it is, ask those questions before you start trying to build something, because they may already have something that you could just jump on and run with.
[00:18:23] Se Reed: And and should, because if you have multiple accounts, like the value of an intranet is only as good as the people using it, right? Like we don’t touch the internet. Then the internet is a huge I could say that for all websites, if the website is just ignored and left alone, it’s not doing what it should be doing, but.
[00:18:41] Jason Tucker: Definitely.
[00:18:42] Se Reed: But the user blockage of having another account to log into or having to manage that is really, I think the main the main blocker to accessing that they already have to remember that it exists and where to go. And then they have to like, oh, I have an account I need to log in. I’m just gonna message Sally over here and see what she has to say about it. Why are you even having an intranet? But I think that’s the the other thing is that all-in-one internet plugin has, is an Ottawa gout, which I had not thought about. If you have a VPN, you don’t necessarily have to worry about that because a lot of VPNs have timed log outs, right?
[00:19:26] Se Reed: Don’t they the ton of VPNs, but mostly it’s if you’re, if you sign off, you have to do the whole thing again. With the VPNs. So I’ve never thought about auto logging out a WordPress user before. And which is interesting because I’ve actually had WordPress login, WordPress users stay logged in for it stays logged in for, I don’t know how long
[00:19:50] Jason Tucker: until you like blow out the salts and redo stuff.
[00:19:53] Se Reed: Yeah. Like that cookie is a, that’s a long. I don’t know what it’s, but I thought that auto a log out was a really handy tool. I had not thought about before. So especially with people being at doing remote work and I’m not even imagining it like in a cafe, it’s just maybe the catwalks on it and change.
[00:20:17] Jason Tucker: You have other stuff like bringing your own device. So people are bringing their own device from home to work. You have people that are using their home computer to just like quickly log in and do something. You have somebody who may be bringing in a mobile device onsite, and then they’re using their mobile device.
[00:20:35] Jason Tucker: They’re taking a mobile device home. There’s so many different ways that this could go down and you have to deal with all that. And you just have to make sure that you’re really watching the thing is that if Steve was here, he would say, that’s the it problem. The it department’s problem.
[00:20:52] Jason Tucker: And it totally is. But sometimes you’re working for a small business. You’re the one providing this like ridiculous extra layer of protection that you’re presenting to them. Hey, you want to intranet all your people work from home, but some of them are at work. And some of them use devices that we don’t own.
[00:21:10] Jason Tucker: You’re the smartest person in the room at that point. And you have to come up with a solution for it.
[00:21:14] Se Reed: Obviously, but in the level of client that I am dealing with I know the difference between an it department and someone doing a website development and website management and even a Scotia, email management as little as possible. I’m just directing and maybe giving some advice, but that even so much as you work on the internet, Everyone’s oh, fix my phone or whatever.
[00:21:46] Se Reed: It’s not, I know the difference between it and understanding hardware and understand standing security. And, but that my clients don’t understand the difference in those layers. So really they expect me to know. All of that information and to protect them from that information. So some of the times I can only say here’s what your risk parameters are.
[00:22:10] Se Reed: And these are the services that you need to use to mitigate that. And we choose to do those. They cost X number of dollars. They choose to do it. And if they don’t, and I can only provide informed consent as much as possible.
[00:22:26] Jason Tucker: we talk about some of the features that are on an intranet in the next five minutes, we talked about a publication for the entire time, which is totally fine because at the indication smart, because you really need to think about this and authentication is authentication is one of the biggest pieces of the past.
[00:22:43] Jason Tucker: Yeah.
[00:22:43] Se Reed: I’m using the login, right? Like it’s not just authentication. It’s really understanding how your users are going to use the internet and how resistant they are to technology and logging.
[00:22:55] Jason Tucker: Yup.
[00:22:56] Se Reed: And retainer the current client I’m building for, they are not technologically savvy. Like just not, that is the user base we’re starting with.
[00:23:06] Se Reed: And I have to provide something that is really simple for them to use.
[00:23:11] Jason Cosper: So what sort of internet are you building for them? Just a place to collect links, collect documentation, like
[00:23:19] Se Reed: Collecting documentation, essentially. It’s like filing reports and things like that. Which has been built out on air. I almost said Airbnb. It’s not Airbnb. It’s air table, not Airbnb, not the same thing. I don’t, I’ve, I have a lot of clients actually working with air table these days. I don’t know if you’ve come across that.
[00:23:41] Se Reed: Because you can build whatever you want until. though there are existing solutions for what is out there. The build your whole own thing is very attractive to people. And so you get a very custom backend air table setup, which is great for them. But then logging into air table is a nightmare for most users.
[00:24:03] Se Reed: Like it is not intuitive. There isn’t a clear. It just it’s like logging into my SQL for people
[00:24:12] Jason Tucker: Right.
[00:24:12] Se Reed: that don’t know what’s happening here. Essentially what I’m building is a login and you can get pretty linked to all of their different forms and some formatting to fill them. If you’re doing this, it’s over here and go to this, and then they either form and it does what it needs to do.
[00:24:31] Jason Cosper: I thought of, I actually, for a brief period of time was using a WordPress based intranet. It was effectively when automatic had put out a peachy. It was a way to collect what, like people want to spit and that’s how automatic uses it. What people on a specific team. We’re doing like the problems that they were running into during the day, everybody had an account on just this internal blog effectively.
[00:25:06] Jason Cosper: And at the end of their shift, they’d be like, oh, I ran into this problem here. This customer is still dealing with this. If someone wants to take a look at that, please do and it became effectively a running log of what the team was dealing with, like on a day-to-day basis.
[00:25:24] Jason Cosper: And it was good to be able to go back and see oh, okay. A week ago we were having this problem WordPress search being bad. It,
[00:25:37] Se Reed: As discussed previously.
[00:25:39] Jason Cosper: Yeah. It, it definitely made some of that stuff harder to surface, but it was good to have, nevertheless, just to be able to have that internal discussion.
[00:25:53] Se Reed: That’s essentially like a WordPress based slack, right? Like less, less DM based WordPress slack. And I don’t know if I think there are a variety of different plugins here and some of them really provide more of a base camp experience where it’s like, there’s chat and there’s some BB press things. to provide the cultural component feeds to the internet. So there are, there’s that idea too. Are you rebuilding some of those SAS a sauna base camp like that’s essentially what the P two is doing and I’m assuming there’s still based on that. Anyway, the internet could also in theory be that and not just a knowledge base or a link farm, or
[00:26:45] Jason Tucker: We have the weather on the website on the internet. We have like really I put the weather on there cause it’s these are things that people are. I want them to go in back and use it. And so you have to have the attractive things for them to go and look at it. So it’s I need the weather photos
[00:27:00] Se Reed: maybe that’s in planning events.
[00:27:03] Jason Tucker: Photos of recent events that we’ve done at the there, the all of the all of the different Google drives that they have access to. And also we provide them with Google analytics for the various pages that they are the stakeholders in, so that they’re able to look at the Google drive look at them and say, oh, okay.
[00:27:26] Jason Tucker: And I’m using like and my clients into like spasms. I’m like here’s some Google analytics data. They’d be like,
[00:27:34] Jason Tucker: no, it just depends. It really just depends. They’re all
[00:27:38] Se Reed: fire hose of data.
[00:27:40] Jason Cosper: also had a thought at a P at a previous job. I had, we had access to the Facebook for workplaces, which like you.
[00:27:53] Jason Tucker: still
[00:27:53] Jason Cosper: I okay. There we go. I was going to say you think Facebook by itself as bad enough, just imagine a Facebook populated solely by your coworkers, but some people like that.
[00:28:05] Se Reed: it sounds yeah.
[00:28:07] Jason Cosper: And, but I’m,
[00:28:08] Se Reed: But it’s Facebook. And so made it worse, like
[00:28:11] Jason Cosper: but.
[00:28:12] Se Reed: way worse.
[00:28:13] Jason Cosper: this is something that appeals to you, but you don’t want to go with Facebook. There’s always buddy press and you can make an intranet buddy press set up for your internal team.
[00:28:26] Se Reed: slightly brutal. Anyway, what I that’s here, you can call it. You can call it.
[00:28:35] Jason Tucker: 30 minutes. Thank you very much for hanging out with us. We really appreciate it. We’re going to have to come back here and talk about internets. I think a little bit more. I’d love to see if Steve has built anything with an an intranet. Maybe we can get his take on some
[00:28:49] Se Reed: I’m going to use some of these plugins to test them out on for this new project. And I can report back if there are any good or if they’re just a bunch of hooey.
[00:28:58] Jason Tucker: I think this is a great idea.
[00:28:59] Se Reed: All right.
[00:29:00] Jason Tucker: to y’all later. Here’s our outro or say got cut off,
[00:29:08] Se Reed: We got the music
[00:29:09] Jason Tucker: you could go over to wpwatercooler.com/subscribe to subscribe to this content and all the content that we have out here. Run apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, YouTube. We’re also on something called Amazon music. So I go there to
[00:29:25] Se Reed: wherever you are, wherever you go. There you are.