Yet another client area question/quandry

Hi all, this is my first post here. So before I get into it Id just like to say you have some really cool plugins and themes here. Lets hope the forum lives up to these high standards :wink: Im sure it will.

OK so I know this has probably been asked a hundred times but Ive searched and searched and cant find a good solution anywhere. Which says to me there is a gap in the market for clever plugin builders (hint hint)!

How can I create a client area in Wordpress? What I need is an area where clients only have access to their own area, they can then upload and download pdfs and other files etc. It would also be good for the client and the site admin to have some kind of dialogue either via comments, posts or whatever.

Now I thought about using Dropbox with password encoded pages, but wouldnt I have to create a dropbox account for each individual client? Does anyone know about dropbox here?

Then I thought about using a forum like Simplepress but the way its setup you can assign single users to forums or topics, also the file upload is a bit clunky. It would also mean that all clients would be able to see all the others forums or topics in the main forum home view, which is not what I want!

So then I thought about using multisite and forcing clients to signup for a site, where they would only have access to the posts menu to post files and updates etc. How easy would this to do and would any of your plugins help?

I came across your support system plugin which I thought would work as a client area if you could only share files etc.

I dont know, really confused about they way forward to be honest. Thought WP would have this down already!

Any help mucho appreciated

ta

  • Philip John

    Hiya and welcome to WPMU DEV! :slight_smile:

    This has been asked for many times.... In fact, it's possible to do this using Membership.

    As for DropBox, I use that and no you wouldn't need individual accounts. All you'd need is to create a folder for each client and then to share each folder with the relevant client.

    Actually, providing customers with their own sub site is probably the best WP way of doing it. You could limit their ability to actually do anything and provide a front-end submission using Gravity forms or PostHaste plugins.

    I'll ask the other guys for their opinions too.

    Phil

  • ThePath

    Hey thanks, you will probably see me here a lot over the next few months! doh!

    OK I see that Membership allows me to limit access to files etc but can this be done on a per user basis. As basically each client will be on the same level but I only want them to access their own files. I would also be handy just to have one page for clients which would display their stuff, either front end or backend.

    I found this: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/user-and-document-monitoring/ which I think I can adapt for my purposes.

    I will just create a place where users are forced to sign up as a "contributor" (although in this case it will be "installer") then I have setup the client page the afore mentioned plugin uses for "contributors" only. Its pretty good as it allows me to upload files from admin and assign them to users. All I need to do is customise the front end of the plugin so users can upload or send the site admin files.

    So all I need is a plugin which can upload stuff from front end to the media uploads folder and it will be a piece of cake for the site admin to download from there, make any changes, re-upload and attach to the specific user.

    Still at early stages of investigation into this plugin. If anyone has a concrete better idea then please enlighten me. I will report back with the solution if its good enough or if anyone wants to hear it.

    Thanks for help so far :slight_smile:

  • Philip John

    can this be done on a per user basis.

    Okay, the best way to do this would be to have one page that all your clients access but that is able to detect who is looking at it (by username for example) and display the content accordingly. That'll require some custom development but the other option is to create a level and subscription for each individual client, which is a lot of overhead.

    Phil

  • ThePath

    Hi Phil, thanks for the reply.

    Yeh the "User and Document Monitoring" plugin I mentioned earlier does this, that is you visit one page and it displays that persons files (they have to search by date first to see them).

    The only weird thing Ive noticed is that when looged in as admin the WP admin menu bar disappears from the top of the screen. Then when you visit the client area on front end it wants you to log in again. If login again as admin, the admin bar comes back and you can access the front end client area. Very weird. Might need to dig a bit deeper into that. Seems to work ok if you are already logged in as a client though?

    I really cant believe someone hasnt made a comprehensive client area/portal for WP. Money spinner for sure.

  • Jonathan

    ThePath,

    You can change your settings in your profile, select the admin bar to show in backend and frontend. And update, this should also refresh the cookie.

    I really cant believe someone hasnt made a comprehensive client area/portal for WP

    And for file/client management, there are lots of plugins already, they just aren't listed in the wordpress plugins repository as they come with a price tag. People overlook the plugins that come with a price tag...

    Codecanyon has a lot of plugins that deal with specialized scenario type sites. This seems to be a nice plugin, I haven't used it, but I knew someone that did. I say did, because most people startout on a bootstrap buget, but once $$$ start flowing they eventually hire a custom coder to put together something. Works out cheaper, and easier in the long run.
    http://codecanyon.net/item/wordpress-file-centre/112012

    Jonathan

  • ThePath

    Hi Jonathon, yeh that looks pretty good for a backend option I must say. It would be quite easy to add the functionality of people signing up for a "client" account rather than "normal" one. Then it would be done more automatically rather than having to add the users yourself.

    I think the creator on codecanyon should stuff some more related key terms in the page because I searched Google for the answer to this, not just in WP plugins rep. But I do know about codecanyon and should have had a look to be honest. I dont mind paying for useful plugins, after all whats $15? I can just recoop it from clients anyway. Although it doesnt seem to be that well supported. Also I wouldnt call this a "comprehensive" client area plugin, its just a good start :wink:

    However I am prefering the front end option at the moment, so think I'll stick with what I have. Ive now setup a page only admins and "clients" can access, a form which can punt the admin a file or upload it to a folder and the plugin Ive been talking about provides a front end search for files which the admin has assigned them in the backend.

    Also having it on the front end allows the admin to easily add global client content to the page with ease. If it was in the backend this would be a lot more difficult. Infact I would imagine a whole new function would need to be built to handle adding "global" files so every client can see them (whis would be comprehensive).

    Thanks for you input though Jonathon :- Im sure Ive seen you avatar on the WP forums somewhere! :slight_smile:

  • Jonathan

    Thepath,

    Yeah, the plugin I linked to is real basic, not what you would consider "comprehensive"...

    As for googling plugins, I've done that, and agree sometimes the results show nothing, but then one day out pops something that has been there for a year or so - laugh.

    I don't really deal with client based setups, i find that dealing with individuals on a per user bases takes the wind out of automation and I like automation with simplification. The less moving parts the less chance of breakdown :wink:

    As for backend / frontend - I agree totally, frontend is the prettier option and I also prefer it - Mmm, I actually had a similar discussion here.
    https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/extreem-lightweight-membership-site
    Not about frontend/backend stuff but a fellow member wanted a client based service site - Maybe you can get an idea or two from that discussion... :wink:

    Im sure Ive seen you avatar on the WP forums somewhere! :slight_smile:

    Lol - It is possible :slight_smile: - But I haven't posted there in awhile - shrugs.
    Jonathan

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