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New York City meets Munich

Privacy please

July 26th, 2007 · No Comments · Blogger, Blogging, How To, WordPress

I’ve helped a couple of friends host blogs, and one of them needed to convert to a private, members only blog. It was pretty clear the right way to do this was to have each user have their own account and password, and ideally, the users could simply register and get approved, minimizing administration time. Unfortunately, this was a Blogger blog being hosted on my own server, and there’s just no way to do that without doing a lot of work.

After looking around, it seemed like WordPress would be the best platform to use for a private blog. Even though WordPress doesn’t support a private blog model natively, it can be done with just two additional, easy to install plug-ins, without making any template modifications. Here’s how I did it.

  1. Install WordPress 2.2.1.
  2. Install the Bouncer plug in. This will add a facility to WordPress requiring an admin to approve new accounts.
  3. Install the Post Levels plug in.
  4. Make sure you turn on the “Anyone can register” and “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” options under Options – General in WordPress.

Now whenever you post, make sure you set the post level to “0” instead of public to make a post that only your approved members can read. People who aren’t logged into your site will only see public posts. People who log in (with an account that you authorized) will see all posts.

This also seems to keep the feeds private too, requiring authentication to get the full feed set, which is what you would want for a private blog.

There was one other thing I discovered in the process if you are trying to migrate from a “new” Google Blogger weblog. I learned that the magic import from WordPress can sometimes spaz out depending on your publishing options. So if your import stops after a certain number of posts, screw around with your archive settings, date header format and template a bit. I can’t be more specific, because I did all three (monthly archives, different date header format, and simple blog template) and suddenly the import worked.

I can’t really help with other migration issues, since in this case, because the site is going private, we didn’t care about maintaining permalinks and such. But I did find some good tips about what to do in that case.

I may just finally get my ass over to WordPress myself one of these days.

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