How to Set Up Extranet

Updated April 17, 2017

An extranet is a private Internet network that allows users to securely browse and share files. An extranet is useful for businesses looking to work together and share sensitive information. Administrators have many options when setting up an extranet. Using an open-source content-management system such as Joomla! or Drupal offers a free and secure alternative to other extranets with similar features that require third-party installation and can cost thousands of dollars.

Determine the level of security needed for the extranet. A basic one would be "anonymous authentication," which means any user on an authorised computer can access the extranet. Another option is a virtual private network (VPN), in which computers are connecting directly to one another with a username and password. Another example of one would be a "basic authentication" in which users must provide credentials to log in. Content management systems offer the ability to set up "basic authentication" extranets.

Download Joomla! to your desktop in a folder named "Joomla Install" and extract the contents of the ZIP file into the folder. These files are the framework of an extranet. Testing the extranet can be done on the local computer, but in order to set up the extranet these files must be uploaded.

Access the "File Upload" for your domain. This can be done through FTP software or through your Web host's system. For example, for a HostGator user, log in to "Control Panel" and select "File Manager." Upload the extracted files in "Joomla Install" to the "root" or base of your directory.

Launch your web browser and go to your site. A page titled "Joomla! Installer: Pre-installation check" will appear. Click "Next" and accept the Joomla! terms. Recommended settings for the installation will appear to set-up the data base. Installation can continue without editing the settings.

Press "Next" and name your site to proceed to the third part of installation. Confirm the information in this part of the installation, and set an administrator password. This password is for the administrator only. Write down the assigned username, which by default is "admin," and the password you choose. Warning: these cannot be recovered.

Delete the installation folder to enable the Joomla! platform. Check the completed installation by clicking "View Site."

Click "Administrator," "Control Panel," "User Manager" and "New" to begin adding users. Assign a name, username, e-mail and password for each user.

Choose a group for the created user to determine the access level. Joomla! offers five levels of users: "Registered User," "Author," "Editor," "Publisher" and "Administrator." For an extranet, enable the user to be a "Publisher," meaning they can submit and edit files without needing approval. Users with "Publisher" rights cannot edit the extranet itself, or modify other users.

Click "Save" to save the user. Add additional users as needed. Users can now connect to the extranet using credentials provided by the administrator.


Joomla! will not work unless you delete the installation files.

Things You'll Need

  • Domain name
  • Hosting Service with Apache web server
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About the Author

Michael Bryant has been a contributing writer at various publications since 2007. Bryant has been heralded as an expert in digital innovation and youth culture, with his writing featured on AOL. His work in digital strategy has helped develop a successful online presence for numerous brands. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in communication studies from the University of Kansas.