How to use BuddyPress as a Private Collaboration System

For sites with multiple writers, it’s nice to have a place for them all to interact privately. Though there are solutions like Yammer and Teambox, they require your writers to register and log into another site.  I  can only guess as to how busy some people are! With this post I’ll show you how to make your own Private Social network for your writers using BuddyPress.

WordPress 3.0 is required for this guide, as we’ll be putting WordPress 3.0’s new multi-site feature to good use, along with BuddyPress. For better integration my Past guides on BuddyPress should go down a treat.

Useful Links

Making the new Section

For the private section, what we’ll really be using it another WordPress site. Thanks  to the wonders of Multi-site it will use one database, so users don’t need to re-register.  So we’ll have an extra section which is technically a separate site…  It’s up to you whether to use a sub domain such as or a directory: I’ve went with a directory as for my own setup a sub domain wasn’t needed.

Making it Private

Depending on the content you plan to post in this section you may not want it private, if so  you can skip this part.

By making the site private I mean that visitors need to be logged in, in order to access the site.  Absolute Privacy does a great job at making a site private, redirecting logged out visitors to the log in page, though this can be changed to any page you want.

To be extra sure of your privacy you should edit your robot.txt file to disallow your private section.

Guide to editing your robot.txt

Editing your theme file

Again what you do here depends whether you’d like the private section to match your main site, or whether to have it looking totally different.

For this section firstly refer to my two past guides

Going that bit further

Once you get this far, you should have BuddyPress setup working, privately or not, with its design built to suit your needs/tastes. You could finish up now, though if you want to add a bit more class to this read on!

To make it that bit easier for your members to access this section we can put a link on the main site linking to the private section. Though instead of letting anyone who visits the main site see the link, it’ll only be visible to logged in members.

if ( is_user_logged_in() ) {
    echo '<a href="#" class="private">Private</a>';

You could change this so that when someone not logged in visits the site they see a “Write for us” link. Or even a nice welcome!

if ( is_user_logged_in() ) {
    echo '<a href="#" class="private">Private</a>';
} else {
    echo '<a href="#" class="write-us">Write for us?</a>';

Changing the look of the login page

Though the default WordPress login looks fine, and works great. Though it would be nice to remove the WordPress branding from it, and make it look like its part of the site too.

WPFuss have a great code snippet for changing this logo, all you have to do is add the code to the functions.php of your theme

Customize The WordPress Login Screen Logo Without a Plugin

Don’t want members? Have writers instead

Instead of calling your writers “members” on the site, we can call them anything you wish. For instance if you wanted to called writers, as they are writers!

Add the following to your wp-config.php or bp-custom-php

define( ‘BP_MEMBERS_SLUG’, writers );

or if you’re a business:

define( ‘BP_MEMBERS_SLUG’, employee );

to change it to Employee.

Note: The above code only changes the slug, which is the URL i.e to

Some other alternatives.

define( 'BP_ACTIVATION_SLUG', 'activate' );

define( 'BP_ACTIVITY_SLUG', 'activity' );

define( 'BP_BLOGS_SLUG', 'blogs' );

define( 'BP_FORUMS_SLUG', 'forums' );

define( 'BP_FRIENDS_SLUG', colleagues );

define( 'BP_GROUPS_SLUG', 'groups' );

define( 'BP_MESSAGES_SLUG', 'messages' );

define( 'BP_REGISTER_SLUG', 'register' );

define( 'BP_SEARCH_SLUG', 'search' );

define( 'BP_SETTINGS_SLUG', 'settings' );

define( 'BP_XPROFILE_SLUG', 'profile' );

To change these component names everywhere on the site, the recommended way is to use the .po file. Though they are usually used for translating WordPress to another language we can easily use them to change the names.

You can find this file, buddypress.pot   in /buddypress/bp-languages/

You’ll need to rename it to buddypress.po in other words: remove the “t” at the end.

File Sharing

With a simple to install plugin you can have let  your team share files or documents easily. It would be a simple alternative to the likes of drop box, your team can add the file right in the discussion!

Forum Attachments for BuddyPress allows members to upload file attach files to their posts in the forum. Simple yet effective.


As you’re using WordPress for all this collaboration why not use the blogging features of WordPress too?  You could use the blog posts to replace memo’s or emails. It’s much easier to talk as a group on a blog post than in an email!


Once you have this setup, you and your team, no matter what you do, now have a private place to collaborate together.  You can turn off what you don’t think is needed, say for instance the activity feed, or profiles may not be helpful for everyone. They may even prove to be a distraction for their work!

Alot of you may find you only need 1 group for your private area, be sure to turn off Group Creation in the BuddyPress settings. Though to keep things organized, a group for different topics could be very helpful. For example here on 1stWebDesigner, we could have a group for each of the main categories,

Where all the writers can access these groups if they’re writing a post. And ask or advice or feedback on a post they’re working on. Then using the group privacy settings Saad and Dainis, our brilliant editors could have a group to discuss the general running of the site. All these discussion would be easily found again by everyone involved.

As many people said before the uses for WordPress and BuddyPress are endless, I hope many of you find this example useful. but you may just have to try it out to see just how useful it is!


I'm Darren ,A teenager living in Ireland.I run a few different sites around the web, being my newest addition Connect with me on twitter. Look forward to hearing form you!

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  1. Sunil Sharma says

    Hi Darren

    Thanks for your detailed post on Buddypress

    Recently I am operating my website for math students and wanted to add forum plugin (thinking about wp+buddypress+bbpress) and I also installed at Your article helped me a lot to do this but I am little confused about plugins as some plugins shown on are not updated for a long time and most wordpress plugin don’t work with combination of wp+buddypress+bbpress. Can you suggest me some better plugins so I can make a perfect forum like phpbb forum based on wp however currently I am working on trial and error theory, pls. suggest me. One more question I want to ask that how can a user write wordpress post if he wants to write in buddypress.

  2. Jim R says

    Hi Darren, thanks for the post.

    Question: were you able to get “Absolute Privacy” plugin to work with Buddy Press? I installed it and it worked to “privatize” WP pages – but not the extra Buddy Press pages.

    Also, re: uploaded files: are those actual files private as well or just the page that contains them (or links to them)? In other words, are the actual jpgs, pdfs or whatever are uploaded actually inaccessible to non-members or is it just the pages that contain that media that are inaccessible?


  3. Marc says

    I love buddypress! I just started using it and still learning how to use it properly. My team mates are free to create posts as they please and I dont have to do that much moderation anymore.

  4. says

    I’ve been thinking of making something like that for the last two weeks, but the lack of time stoped me. Maybe ill give it a chance….

  5. Rob says

    Thanks for writing this post. I’m thinking of integrating BuddyPress with my site, but just didn’t have time to research it, BUT, you’re post saved the day :)

    Thanks again!