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This course presents the WordPress Multisite feature, which allows web site designers and administrators to create a network of sites and blogs from a single installation of WordPress. Author Justin Seeley covers installing the network components, configuring their web server/hosting environment, using the Multisite Network Administration panel, managing users, and backing up, migrating, and restoring a multisite installation.
One of the questions that I get asked the most when I am teaching any type of WordPress class is "how do I control the privacy settings on my blog?" Well, the short answer to that is there are not a whole lot of privacy settings for a blog. However, you can set some default privacy settings inside of your WordPress installation to make it a little harder for people to find you. At the end of this movie I'll walk you through setting up a plug-in that allows you to completely put your blog behind a wall. Let's first start off by visiting the dashboard of one of my multisite environments. I'll go to My Sites and in this case I'll just go to the default, Dashboard.
Inside of the Dashboard of this site I can go down to the Settings and inside of Settings there is a Privacy section. However, when I click on Privacy, you'll notice that the controls are somewhat limited. In this case I have the ability to control what is called site visibility. However, the site visibility only refers to whether or not search engines are allowed to index this site. It tells you at the bottom that neither of these options blocks access to your site. It is set up so search engines will honor your request. Basically this just means that it puts a little strip of code into your side that tells search engines, "hey, don't crawl me and don't index me in your search results." So in this case if you wanted a blog to be "private" you could ask search engines not to index your site and click Save Changes.
Once you do that and go back to the dashboard, you're all set. Theoretically your site will not show up in search results when someone Googles you. However, you may want a level of security that's just a little bit deeper than that. So let's take a look at how to put your web site behind a wall so that users have to log in before they're allowed into the site. I'll go back to My Sites > Network Admin and select the Dashboard. When I get to the Dashboard I need to go to the Plugins section. I go to Add New. On the Install Plugins page go ahead and search for Login configurator and click Search Plugins.
It should be the first result returned, but if it's not, look for Login Configurator version 1.6 by GrandSlambert. I'll hit Install Now and hit OK. Then I'll choose Network Activate. Once I have Network Activate on, I can go ahead and go back to My Sites and let's go back to that default domain and choose Dashboard. Inside of the Dashboard I now have the ability to put the blog behind a wall. I do this by going to Settings and choosing Login Configurator.
The Login Configurator screen is full of options and I advise you to go through and check out all of the ones that are available to you here. The only ones that I am interested in are right here on the Plugin Settings. First and foremost, do you want to Force Login? You can say OFF - Do not force login on any page, On - A user must login to see the entire site, including the homepage. This means that any time someone comes to your site, they're automatically going to be prompted with a user login screen. It will not let them pass that screen unless they have a username and password.
That's pretty handy. Also, you can use a Teaser. This allows for non logged in users to see the homepage, but it forces logins on any other page in the site. So theoretically they could come to your homepage and view some of the posts that you've made, but any time they try to click through to the full version of the post or even click on a page, they're prompted to login and they can't go anywhere else. Finally, you can only force login when a user wants to see a post. This is handy if you are trying to control access to just your blog post or your news feed. The great part about this plug-in, and this is something new that they've added in a recent update, URLs to ignore. You can actually Whitelist certain pages or URLs inside of your site and make those publicly available and not force users to log in.
So theoretically you could Whitelist the sign-up page, for instance, and force users to sign up for your blog before they're allowed to view anything. That's a pretty good way of getting more followers. You can also choose to Ignore the feed URL. If you've protected it, that means you've protected the feed URL as well as the blog. Even if somebody types in the address to your RSS feed inside of any reader, they won't get any content unless they come and register for your site. Pretty cool. huh? You can also ignore that and not protect the feed URL if you choose to.
Finally, you can choose the Redirect URL. This is where users are sent once they log in. If you ignore this and don't put anything here, they're automatically redirected to whatever page they came from. However, if you redirect, you can redirect to the homepage or specified URL in the field provided. Let's go ahead and turn on some of these options. First thing I'm going to do is Force Login, meaning nobody can see anything unless they're logged into my site. Then I'm going to go down and I'll protect the RSS feed as well. I want them be redirected to the homepage once they log in. Then I'll click Save Settings at the bottom.
Now, if I go up and I visit my site, you'll notice that I'm able to see everything on the homepage and that's because I'm currently logged in as the administrator. Let's go back to my Dashboard, go to the top right corner, and Log Out. Once I'm logged out of my site, if I go back to the Homepage and Refresh, I'm prompted with a Log In screen. Here, at the bottom you'll notice it says Back to this domain. If I click that, it's not letting me go anywhere. My blog is now behind a wall and inaccessible to anyone who's not a registered user.
That's an awesome privacy control. If I wanted to, I could log back in and then go back to my Dashboard and turn this off or even change some of the options. So in review, we took look at how to change the blog privacy settings as by default inside of WordPress. That just meant that we control whether or not search engines could crawl us or not--not that big of a deal. But then we took a look at this awesome plug-in called Log in Configurator that allowed me to put my site behind a wall where only registered users can access my content. That's an awesome way to make sure that people both register for your site and grow your numbers at the same time.
So take some time and utilize this plug- in and go through all of those different options that I showed you to find the best privacy setting for you.
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