184 – Limited client access v’s full access

Debate with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

Setting up the Debate

We see this debate all the time. Some WordPress freelancers and agencies give clients full admin access to WordPress. Some give another role, such as the Editor role or (with WooCommerce) a Shop Keeper role.

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Some completely reconfigure and white label the WordPress dashboard. Some give an Editor role for everyday use and an Admin role so they have ownership. I’m sure there are more variations.

Perhaps you’ve changed your position on this over the years, or still have a level of uncertainty.

Perhaps the size of your team matters? If it’s just you dealing with the website, you might have greater oversight into what’s going on and feel more willing to allow a client to have the Administrator role.

To here are some of the things that we think are important when deciding what user role to allow your clients:

Limited client access

  • make the website bullet proof for clients
  • reduce the confusing clutter created by lots of plugins a client should not need to see
  • arguably website care plans are a good thing for clients and us professionals so surely the Admin role should be for us in those circumstances?
  • it prevent clients from installing plugins / themes which could break sites, slow them or compromise security
  • in most cases you can use snippets or a Role Editor plugin to customise client access
  • prevent clients on Care Plans running off with your licenses – gor those who are not using GPL software this can be more of and issue as they are not even entitled to the code itself

Full access

  • transparency – nothing is hidden from the client
  • perhaps a more adult relationship of trust is created by it
  • one of the benefits of WordPress is the ownership that comes with open source
  • some useful plugins are not accessible to clients – Analytify Free and Gravity Forms
  • clients are increasingly expecting to be able to manage more aspects of their own site – if they Google for WordPress help they will see articles that assume they have admin access
  • if you adopt the position that you are helping them on THEIR site they take responsibility for it, if they break stuff they will pay you to fix it
  • you shoulder less of the blame when there is an issue with WordPress and plugins
  • avoiding the extra weight and problems that comes with trying to maintain a granular set of permissions – things can break and suddenly the client sees (or looses) options in the Admin area

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So where do you stand on this one. Allow the clients full access to their WordPress website, or try to limit access for a whol raft of reasons. Both are possible, but it one better? After listening to the podcast, perhaps join the conversation below or in the WP Builds Facebook Group.

Mentioned in this episode

User Role Editor

Editor Menu and Widget Access

Members – Membership & User Role Editor Plugin

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome again to the WP Builds podcast. Very glad to have you here. This is episode number 184 entitled limited client access versus full access. It was published on the 18th of June, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley and a few bits and pieces just before we begin, please, if you feel able to share the podcast with your friends and colleagues, if they're into WordPress, please do that in whatever way you see fit.
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Or you can go to our Facebook group and we'll be certain to be posting it in there. Okie dokie. Let's get on with the podcast showy episode number 184 limited client access versus full access. I'm sure you've been here before. How much do your clients really need access in their WordPress website? Do they need full control?
Would you even allow them full control? Is that a silly idea? Do they go and break things? Should you limit what they do? It's a bit of a puzzle. I know that I've played with all sorts of different things, installing plugins to allow the editor role to be expanded or contracted. And David also has done this.
And so we discussed this thorny topic today. I hope you enjoy it. Hello,
David Waumsley: [00:03:54] today's debate. We are talking about whether we should be limiting client access to WordPress or given full access. So this debate has gone on for ages. Isn't it? Nathan, there's a few caveats. We've got to set up the debate a little bit on this one, because both you and I are in a similar position in the fact that we genuinely are only dealing with one client who's responsible for the site.
So that's probably going to change the way that
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:19] we view this, I would think,
David Waumsley: [00:04:22] but. We do behave differently. So you're going to be taking the limited client access and I'm going to take the full access, but. I must admit I'm taking a side that I no longer kind of believe in so much.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:37] You'll have to argue from the, from the D dim, distant memory of how you used to do it, but also quick confessional.
I flip flop on this one, just based upon kind of what the relationship is going forward with the client. You know, whether they're going to be on a care plan or whether it's just something that I'm. you know, kind of handing over, or whether they're going to be with me for the foreseeable, whether they've paid up front for 24 months of care or something, it really does depend.
And also their technical competence, you know, if they demonstrably demonstrate that they can navigate WordPress and they've got familiarity with it and they know what not to touch that also. Has an effect. So I think that that's good to say at the beginning, but we'll take a position one side and on the other, and we'll, we'll just argue it from those points.
So yeah, mine is limit, limit the access you give to clients, whereas yours is, is full access. Maybe, maybe you want to start. Cause it feels like it feels like the, you know, having everything open is the way to start. And then we'll talk about why you might want to buy my, you might want to limit it.
David Waumsley: [00:05:42] Yeah.
So I mean, why I've changed a bit is because I did play around with this just because being new to WordPress and trying to get a good plan experience, I thought I'd play around with a lot of the sort of tools that were out there where you could kind of white label the experience, but. Alongside that I also saw, there was a lot of debates about this with a lot of people say, no, you can't give your clients access.
And it made me want to go the other way. So I went totally on the
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:07] side of full access,
David Waumsley: [00:06:08] just for the whole transparency of the business. I wanted to say, there's nothing that I'm hiding from them. This is WordPress on building your WordPress sites. So I really went in, that was my key thing for giving full access.
Transparency just wanted to have that kind of. Adult relationship with the client where saying, look, you know, this is what I do. I'm helping you with your WordPress site and nothing to hide here, you know? And that key thing.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:33] That's a really nice feeling. I think, I think there's a lot of, a lot of credibility with that.
and also just a, just a nice feeling that, you know, we're all into WordPress clearly, you and I, more than most, but it's a nice feeling that you're spreading the word about it and you're not trying to. To hide things. And should they, at some point in the future part ways with you, or just become curious, the fact that they've got access to everything means that they can do anything without fear of, of butting up against you don't have permission to access this page problems and so on.
David Waumsley: [00:07:05] Yeah. And I had an,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:07] I guess, because
David Waumsley: [00:07:07] really, I suppose my first.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:09] Proper client
David Waumsley: [00:07:10] really was my colleague who I worked with.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:12] So she
David Waumsley: [00:07:14] really, I was building the sites for her and her clients and often she would be going in and doing work. So when I remove some of the full access from her, she was just like some of the clients I've now got, who will just go and Google something on WordPress and realize what they've got.
Isn't. What, you know, because most of the articles out there on working with pro WordPress assume that you've got full admin rights. So then they'll be just get questions. Can I have access to this or what's going on? Why is this not the same?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:43] Yes, I'm sure we've all heard that if you've tried to limit things, the, the whole problem of the menu structure on the video that you've shot for them, it doesn't match up with the menu structure and what they can see.
And actually sometimes I'm not even sure what the menu is structured, that they can see, looks like that whole nonsense of logging out, logging in as a, as an editor or whatever it might be, checking it all out and then logging back in as yourself and telling them what they can actually see. And can't see.
David Waumsley: [00:08:09] And the one that really did it for me, I think is that I used one plugin really great plugin, but it did absolutely everything. It did. The white labeling, it hit whatever you liked and gave you a whole login experience, but it failed on one update. And it gave permissions on the wrong things. And so it hid the wrong things and revealed the wrong things.
And I thought, ah, I just really don't want to touch this right junior. And honestly, to be honest here, but I'm kind of moving on to your thing. I hadn't, you really persuaded me, I think, to go along the kind of role of giving people, The editor access, which is pretty much what I'm doing more of nowadays, because I've realized that it's a defined role already, that does most of what I want and most of what they need.
Yes. So, yeah, so there were the main reasons for not wanting to go there giving full access was just to keep that kind of transparency for me and not to get into the plugins that could mess things up was my kind of major reason for doing it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:12] Yeah. Yeah. And I think they're completely legitimate. The reasons that, That I want to kind of hide things or have hidden things in the past.
And again, caveat is that I do flip and flop on this a little bit is it's just, it's the burden of having to go back in and mend things that get broken. It's a, some people are a little bit more cavalier than others, shall we say? And they, you know, they're just curious and they go around clicking things and, and before you know it they've, Oh, I don't know.
The, the worst case I suppose, would be they've some have gone into the. The, the, the ability to edit the plugins and things like that, and that they've deleted bits of code, or they've tried to insert some kind of PHP that they copy and paste it off the internet and suddenly the website doesn't work and kind of you've, they've just generated work for no good reason.
so there's those kinds of fears really also just, just kind of making it easier for them to understand, you know, the lesson menu items that there are. And the more, the more they are confined to what it is that they'll be doing on a day to day basis. So a perfect example would be a website where the client, you know, for a fact that all they need to do is to edit pages which currently exist and create blog posts and delete blog posts and amend those blog posts.
Just showing those options and nothing else, no settings, no other things is, is just much more straightforward to them. You know, you just log in, do your job, log out and that's it. There's nothing to sort of stumble across or accidentally mess around with. And. Whilst that confines their experience with WordPress, it kind of makes their journey using WordPress a whole lot less painful, you know?
And they'll probably come out saying, Oh yeah, our website's built on WordPress. Right. It never goes wrong. It's an absolute breeze. and so that's good. I think, you know, just to, just to make it as simple as possible so that when they log in the UI is, is straightforward and easy to use. That's probably one of the main reasons I do it.
David Waumsley: [00:11:10] Yeah. And I suppose taking the opposite view on that one and why to sort of keep everything open and not limit things is the fact that, and I guess it depends on the ongoing relationship as well. The one thing that's quite nice. If, if
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:25] they've.
David Waumsley: [00:11:26] Got everything and they've got full admin rights. It also puts them in a position where they're kind of more responsible for their site
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:33] and I'm less so,
David Waumsley: [00:11:34] so if they break stuff because they're messing around, then actually under my circumstances, they need to pay me to fix it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:42] Well, that's a, it's a good point, I suppose, in some sense, having that, you never know you might generate some work for yourself because you know, some paid work for yourself because you've opened things up. I have to say that the whole, the whole WordPress. way of handling permissions. I do. I still find really curious, as I've said quite a few times in the past, I use Drupal a lot and although I haven't used Drupal for many years, I would venture to say.
And I think with some certainty that the user permission system in Drupal is significantly superior to the way it's handled in WordPress. And what I mean by that is not the, not necessarily the underlying architecture, but the user interface and the ease of setting up user roles. so, you know, you have to download plugins in WordPress to achieve this, or obviously write your own code, but.
The plugins exposed different depending on which plugin that you've gone for. So, one that I've got on my screen at the moment is one that I'm sure many people have looked at. there's one called user role editor. it's got lots and lots and lots of downloads, 600,000 downloads. So clearly it's in use.
And another much smaller one that I've used in the past is just called editor menu and widget access. And it just enables and disables things to appear in the, in the menu. If they've got the editor role and I would encourage people to go and look at that one, cause I've found that to be quite useful in the past.
But the point is you've got to use third party solutions and not everything is obvious or straightforward. Whereas in Drupal you, it was out of the box. The CMS comes with it built in and you just tick boxes and it's in, it's in plain English. You understand exactly what you're ticking and if you tick it, Exactly what somebody be able to do.
And it's very granular. So if you tick this box, anybody with the role of, and you can just type them in, in Drupal, you just make up your own user. Also, I might have a role of, I don't know, superhuman or something like that. And the superhuman, the role can, if I tick this box, they can create posts. If I tick this box, they can edit other people's posts.
If I tick this box, they can delete other people's posts. If I tick this box, they can create who knows what. And the point is it's simple tick box structure out the box, dead, easy to use. And when I came to WordPress, I just found nothing like that. And I was really curious and still to this day, I'm curious as to how, the user roles are kind of named and, you know, you've got lots of under spaces, sorry, underscores inside those names and you have to memorize what they are.
And what they're called is it's far less intuitive. and the reason I mentioned that is because. I think it's significantly more difficult. And so I'm arguing from your point of view, really, if you are going to be doing this, you do take on a little bit of a burden, whereas in something like Drupal, that was just out the box, easy.
But I still do it because I was used to doing it in Drupal. And I liked what it gave me. I liked that it gave me the capability to reduce the clutter, allow them only things, which I wanted them to see. And so when I came to WordPress, I hankered for that a little bit, and found, found these plugins to enable me to do it.
David Waumsley: [00:14:57] So this debate wouldn't really happen in Jurupa, would it? No, you really, you start with limited access and the new granted as you go along, unless you're the person building
Nathan Wrigley: [00:15:05] the site. So what you would do is you would literally tick, if you wanted it to be an admin role, you would just literally tick every box on that screen.
You would just tick them all. And there's an easy way of doing that. Sounds like it'd be really complicated, but you can, you know, you can, you can select a bond which selects them all if you know what I mean. and then you can just remove them. And it was, it was really nice. And that many times I would have a client and I would limit their access to something.
And then I'd get a phone call to say, why can't we? And I would literally go in and tick a box, which was so transparently obvious what it was, what its purpose was and click save. And then whilst they're on the phone to me, I'd say now try it and how, yeah, thanks. Got it. Right. We can do that now. That's great.
And I think that's much more difficult to achieve, but I still wish to do it because I, I like. I like that, as I've said before, I like it to be simple for them to see and use, and also just to have less clutter and so on and so forth. There's also the argument though, of hiding things that really they've got no business seeing.
So I suppose it depends on what your, whether you've got them on a care plan or not, but hiding things like that. Plugin licenses, for example, that's a whole debate and I'm sure we've all been bitten where somebody's got your, let's say for example, gravity forms, license, which is an annual subscription, you've got to pay for that.
And all of a sudden you find that they've moved hosts. They're no longer communicating with you, but they've got your gravity form license and probably will have for the rest of time. And you're going to keep, probably paying for it for the other sites that you've got. But maybe. maybe they shouldn't have had it in the first place, you know?
David Waumsley: [00:16:40] Yeah, well, I've definitely had that. I've had, because they've got full admin access, it means they can just install a plugin, duplicate the site and disappear with all the licenses in tact or although we can disable them. Most of them, yeah. From the plugins themselves, it's still a job to do. And not all of them could be.
I remember short picks a lot. I needed to change my license key if it wasn't that the client. Did it do the job for me and we moved it, but,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:05] yeah, probably just that has a material impact. Doesn't it? On, on your you're. So short pixel is, it crunches images down and makes them shorter, sorry, smaller in size.
And, and you've got a limited amount of those images that you can crunch your month based upon a license. So a client having that, that could actually impact your business in some way. MALDI so it may be.
David Waumsley: [00:17:29] Yeah, it would have been quite a job. Cause I mean, they couldn't really block that key that you would need to create a new key.
So that would be a job of installing that into all existing clients. Fortunately, this client was good and they, they did remove it so they didn't use it any longer. But yeah, that was one example of where, you know, The dangers. So I'm not really arguing my case. Let me go to a point where I can argue the opposite.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:53] So with full
David Waumsley: [00:17:54] access, there are certain plugins which are not available to the editor. I mean, I know you're going to argue they, so one example might be if. Yeah. Again, if you're on a budget, if you wanted to use something like analytics, which gives you your statistics from Google in the backend of your site, in your dashboard, if you want to use the free version of that, that's only available to admins to get that information.
So if I restrict that I would definitely need to pay for the paid version of that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:25] Yeah. I suspect as always, there'll be a way around that went there, but for most people. That's just a bridge too far. They don't want to go and figure out how that's done and so on and so forth. So, yeah, it's a fair point.
I've run into that loads like loads of times where you just think, why wouldn't an editor be able to do that. That just seems really contrary to. The spirit of what this plugin for example is offering. I just can't see her. I can't see a use case where an editor wouldn't have an option to be able to view their data.
You'd think the plugin author would have added that in, but in many cases they haven't, they've always taken the assumption that right only the admin gets gets hold of whatever this plugins doing. and that's just how we're building it. And then you have to go in and figure out ways to. Well, either purchase a key to unlock that functionality or modify it or change plugins or whatever.
Yeah. I can see the point and that's, that's got me so many times going hunting around for sort of snippets of code here and there, or, you know, getting in touch with the developer and saying, is there any way. That the editor can do this. And then in some cases getting so frustrated with the fact that I can't work it out, just making, making, it's got a country, it's going to be contrary to everything.
I've just said, making them an admin anyway, just because really the budget isn't in this project for me to go wasting time hunting this stuff down.
David Waumsley: [00:19:47] Yeah. I mean, I'm sure in the cases where I've wanted to restrict and allow access. So the things that I've needed to, to change about the editor role have been access to forms and the access to the theme options as well, which I've wanted to allow, which aren't there, but when it comes to some plugins, that analytics was my example.
you know, you can't because you can't do that with a rolls plugin. I don't believe because it's, it's, it's not one of the official roles that. That prevent you from seeing that information
Nathan Wrigley: [00:20:16] right there. Isn't a hook in there that, that role's plugin can get ahold of and, and make it enable it. No.
David Waumsley: [00:20:23] Oh, no, I don't think so.
I mean, obviously, yeah, it's fair enough. It's that business model, but that's just one example of why, you know, given somebody's free open use, they, they got access to certain free plugins that they can use, which you wouldn't, they wouldn't normally be able to.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:20:38] It is curious using these. these plugins to, to figure out what certain permissions will be allowed to which user role it is.
It is curious sometimes what happens, you know, you go in and tick a box and something utterly unexpected occurs on their end because the naming conventions are sometimes so inexplicable and difficult to sort of figure out I've done that so many times, as I said earlier, just essentially, you've got an incognito window open over here.
on a different screen with a contrived editor user that I've just invented. And I go and tick a box on the, on the plugin thinking, well, it's definitely going to do what I want. And then you go over and ah, curious, nothing seems to have changed, or if it has changed. No, that's not what I wanted. And there's quite a lot of cat and mouse trying to figure out which boxes to tick.
And honestly, I think I've wasted quite a lot of hours figuring that out and I do it. Infrequently enough, but I never memorize what these things are. So every time I wished to do this, I kind of, I have to sort of begin again. I haven't got a template figured out for, okay. These are the ones that I typically wish to tick.
I should probably just screenshot it or something that would be probably an easier way of tackling it. Yep.
David Waumsley: [00:21:50] Do you know what I mean? One of the things that are going again from my side, which is the limited client access, I've not really. Seen any difference going from one to the other? So when I limited it, I mentioned I had a few issues with it when I've gone full access as a reaction to that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:22:06] I also,
David Waumsley: [00:22:07] I I've, I've really lost all those issues. Nobody's come to me and said, it's really complicated in the backend. They just don't go to where I don't show them to go. So they don't go into the plugins and they don't go into these extra options, which have been added to my menu, which you see as an admin.
So I kind of question whether. That much is gained from the user perspective. Don't yeah. Don't most of the clients only do a very limited number of things and they just learn their little routes and ignore the rest.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:22:35] You know, I think you're probably right in that if I was to be confronted, let's say somebody says, I don't know, I start work on something and they say, well, you need to log into our CRM.
You've never seen the CRM before, but just log in and do these. Do these particular tasks, I would just do that. I'd follow the instructions. I wouldn't sort of try and figure out, Oh, what can I do with this CRM that I, that I shouldn't be allowed to do? Let me go and poke around and see what happens. No, I probably wouldn't.
I suppose it does come from a position of just wishing to save the possibility that they're going to do something wrong. And then of course there are a lot of people who deliberately. Go out and try to hide word press and go to great lengths to, to completely re well, okay. That's, that's extreme. Some people do wish to remove WordPress.
Many people just wish to remove any option like I described. but there are a lot of people who completely modify their WordPress install. So I'm thinking of things like, you know, whereas sites and they're selling the, the ability to put, publish a website. So they're selling that as a platform. And, and, and they don't, for some reason, don't wish to acknowledge that it's WordPress, that it's built this, I suppose, in a sense, they're afraid that that would, would cheapen the offering.
Maybe make people question whether or not there's actually any value with WordPress is free. And so they go and they hide it, you know, change the colors, remove the WordPress logo, fiddle with the menus, move them up and down, add widgets. And so there's a load of plugins that we've talked about extensively in the past, especially on the news as they constantly get updated, like, You know, plugins that enabled you to completely modify the dashboard.
And I'm sort of torn on those. I haven't so far used those kinds of plugins. All I've done is disable or enable things which would have been enabled to an admin user. I've just made them non-available or available, depending I haven't gone to the lengths of customizing the dashboard. So it's got, I don't know, a welcome video or it's got some.
A form on there where they can contact me for support or something. But I know a lot of people have done that. And I suppose doing that, you can lock things down and make the journey for them a little bit easier.
David Waumsley: [00:24:48] Yeah. And I've definitely played around with this, you know, it's when I'm kind of finding my feet on what my business is supposed to be about, you know, and I've been swayed by people.
So that's why I played around. But a lot of this stuff, you know, it wasn't just about my client's user experience. There was an element where, to a point I wanted to hide it and claim it was kind of my work, you know, in the early days, Entirely. I feel for my type of business, I've kind of grown up from that one now it's like, no, no, look, you know, I just work with you.
My skills are enough surely too, to see the value in me. So I don't try and hide it. And I try it. And I think for me personally, I'm much happier with that kind of open nurse with it. Cause I'm quite happy with who I am and. I kind of want less of the responsibility for what might happen to WordPress and the plugins that I look after.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:42] Yeah. Yeah. I know what you mean. I do. I do find like curious. I've never hidden WordPress, but I've hidden capabilities. As I said, I wonder, I wonder if there is some legitimacy in that I'm trying to put myself in the position of somebody who was coming to me, wishing to have a website built and. I don't necessarily announce that I'm using WordPress right from the offset.
I might just say, you know, I'll talk about websites in general. I'll talk about the fact that, that we, we use, you know, what's called a, a CMS and things like that. Won't necessarily talk about WordPress and certainly don't get into the whole conversation about plugins that you could use to do it.
And I wonder if that's some part of me that feels that. If they realize that this can be achieved through a free CMS and in some cases free plugins, if I'm kind of reducing my likelihood of getting that client on board, the reality of course, is that if somebody is coming to me wanting to have a website built, it's because I can build it because I know over many years, which ones are of use and which ones are not of use and which ones I can work with.
And they simply don't have the time. You know, in the same way that I don't go to the mechanic and ask him how he's going to fix the car and then say, yeah, do you know what? I should just take it home and do it myself. It's not what you do is it? I need to know. I need to get out of that a bit more and embrace it a bit more like you do, but I don't hide WordPress, but then again, I don't really push it at the beginning cause I just think it clutters that debate word.
What WordPress, what was that? just sort of, don't mention it until later on in the process.
David Waumsley: [00:27:21] Yeah, exactly. I mean, definitely I've changed over the time. And if you've got a model, you know, really where you are, I guess kind of value pricing model, particularly, you know, where you're taking the view that clients don't need, that they're looking for the end results.
That's what you're selling. That you're going to be more led towards the idea of limiting. Certain access. So they don't see the tools that you're using and I've gone completely. Although I was always tempted by that I've realized, you know, my best model for me is going to be the complete opposite of that.
So I've kind of embraced it and I start right from the beginning with this is WordPress and why I think it's quite good choice for you.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:27:58] Yeah. Yeah, it's interesting. And again, shooting myself in the foot, somewhat here, on the occasions where I've given clients complete admin rights, I'm struggling to find an episode where that's backfired.
Where the client has just gone, like I said earlier, or cavalier, and has just started to fiddle and broken things. Most of it is the opposite actually is that clients wish to do things and suddenly realize there's a limitation. And usually it's a limitation, which I hadn't foreseen. So, you know, the plugins that I've installed, the meeting, the capabilities, I hadn't.
I haven't tried every single permutation of everything. And then I suddenly realized that something that I said that they could do, they actually can't do. And then I've had to go on break that. Whereas if they've got the capability at the outset, Yeah. Interesting. I think I've swapped sides, David.
David Waumsley: [00:28:51] I think I've sort of sized because I'm going to argue again.
well, both sides really cause one of the things was, and because I'm looking after the sites and I've got to look after the security of those sites, really. I don't want the clients installing plugins that I don't really trust. Cause some are not so great on the security. And I won't know about it.
Until the next update until it shows up in my main WP dashboard or something. So, you know, this is, and I think I've managed to tell most clients, please talk to me if you want it's your site, you could do it, but please talk to me, cause I've got some experience with this and there was one client and this is where in a way it's limited is a good thing.
But the other day, one of my clients who does seem to shove it in his own plugins and ask me about it. Had just did it, he put in a plug, I can't remember the name of it. And I thought, Oh, he's done it again. What is it? And I looked at it and it was this fabulous plugin I've not seen before. And I thought I'm going to use that.
Oh, I thought he must've done his research on it. It was really it. I can't remember what the plugins called.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:29:54] Oh, that's really curious. So you actually learn something, but do you know, what's really nice about that? Is that you've you've clearly, well, I say you've clearly, maybe, maybe this person was familiar with WordPress.
Prior to you building their WordPress website, but perhaps not. They've, they've taken it on board and they've become a member of the community. And anybody who's found themselves onto the WordPress repo, probably through the admin interface, you know, probably not going out, searching on Google, who knows.
it's, it's kind of like getting into the whole, the whole ecosystem, you know, the community at large and stuff. That's I think that's actually a total win.
David Waumsley: [00:30:29] Yeah. So it's funny. It can
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:30] work both ways, but I just, I thought
David Waumsley: [00:30:32] that particularly with this one person who installs plugins, but he's choices are pretty good, but the last one I just thought, Oh, wow.
I didn't know about that by a good developer. It was a really useful thing.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:44] Yeah. Yeah. And of course that's another debate altogether. Isn't it? The plethora of things, which they could go and install, but again, in my defense, a IX sticking it to the limited side, that person. Could just as easily have stuck in a real Dodd and made your life a little bit more difficult by sticking something in and then expecting it to work.
Because honestly, if you're not. If you're not familiar with WordPress and the way that the whole UI looks, you would assume to a great extent that all plugins just work. The way this platform is built is you just had a plugin. It just works. There's going to be no problem. And of course, some things can have catastrophic effects on all sorts of things.
David Waumsley: [00:31:29] she do. I think one that I've seen with people that I'm not managing, and I've gotten to look at their sites is a whole bunch of people. When the G at GDPR stuff came out, they must've installed many of those kind of policy plugins and stuff like that. And I think nearly most of the ones I've seen of those, I've had some security issues somewhere down the line.
And in fact, I've had to fix people's sites because of installing those plugins.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:54] Do you, do you, do you offer different? I know that you've been arguing from the full site, full access point of view, but do you, based upon what your perception is of whether they'll stay with you, like let's, let's assume that's a care plan or, you know, they're going to continue to pay you some money.
Do you offer, do you offer a different approach to this? You know, in other words, if they're not going to be sticking with you upon finishing the site, do you then turn them over as out, turn it over as abdomen, or would you, would you keep it limited? On the basis that I don't know, maybe there's some licenses in there, or maybe they'll come back to you for some additional work later on because they've discovered limitations.
David Waumsley: [00:32:33] you know what I mean? That's, that's kind of almost another debate in this. Isn't it about who owns the site a bit? Isn't it? I mean, my view is simply, I mean, I do now, so I've gone over to your side. I do now limit the access initially that I give people and that there's some videos that explain that I've done that, but I also tell them that at any point they can have full administrative rights, but also if they're leaving, they just get zoomed up to full admin.
That's it simple as that.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:01] Yeah, I can't see any, I can't see any downside to that. You know, if they're not on your hosting, if they're not going to be continuing to pay you anything. and presumably if you've explained the, the licensing and how they need to take those on board for themselves, yeah, it just, it's a no brainer.
Isn't it? Here's the site. There you go. Upload that to your server. You're on your own, but we're here. If you need help.
David Waumsley: [00:33:26] It would be so tempting though, to not give, you know, the access, but then I don't know how they would move the site for it. I don't know how that would work.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:33] No, no. Interesting. Yeah.
I think during the course of this debate, I think I've, I think I probably have changed position a little bit, but I, I don't think I'm going to change a lot. I think on most sites where I'm going to be having an ongoing relationship, I'm going to stick to. The editor role and use more, more often than not use this editor menu.
What's it called again? Editor menu in widget access. I really have enjoyed using that on it has made the process a lot easier. and then if they're not going to be sticking with me, just admin all the way, even at the point of building the site. But I suppose I've got to figure out at the beginning, whether or not they're going to be sticking with me, but usually I've worked that one out by the time they've signed on the dotted line.
David Waumsley: [00:34:16] Yep. And I already was moved to your direction anyway, but I think we're probably in the same place with the way that we work. We're not hiding anything. We'll try and make it as easy as possible for them to avoid some issues. But it's their choice at the end of the day. Isn't it?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:34:32] Yeah. It's interesting as well, because I think the badge of WordPress, the, the sort of brand of WordPress is becoming a real positive.
and although it's free to use. I don't think there's anything to hide away from. In fact, I think it's something that you can use to say, well, currently it's about 36 and a half percent of the world's top 10 million websites are using it. That's a really, that's a really powerful message and, you know, hiding it.
Maybe, maybe it's something that is going to work against you because they'll kind of expect you to have written all the code yourself to understand every line of it. And when you hit a problem, which you will do at some point with a lot of these, these things, the idea that you, you aren't immediately able to fix it because you've got to write a support ticket to some developer elsewhere because their plugin seems to be the problem that might cause problems.
David Waumsley: [00:35:26] Yeah, absolutely. And I wonder if, even though we all know WordPress is free, but I'm wondering really is most people who go into it really do think of it as free that because, because premium plugins have become so central to this that I wonder if that's the case. Do people still see it as, Oh, it's WordPress it's free.
So it doesn't really, you know, it's not got any value. I don't know if that's the case any longer.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:51] Yeah, no, not, not a position I've ever really taken. Like I said, I don't describe it right at the very outset because it just seems to me, those conversations usually are about, look, you need a website, this, this is what we can do for you.
And it, you know, that just doesn't seem to be a lot of mileage talking about WordPress too much. but then as things develop and you realize, okay, this is a, this is a bit of a lead now. Okay. We're getting closer to the. This becoming a contract and so on. I don't have any problem mentioning WordPress.
And I mentioned it multiple times in my, in my contracts and so on and so forth.
David Waumsley: [00:36:27] Yep. So we've got the conclusion. Is it really for, is it's kind of limited access. Both can be applied.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:35] Yeah, I think, I think for me in a typical install, I'm going to limit access, not out of any desire to hide anything.
Just out of a desire to make it easier for them really clutter-free and so on. And that's probably what I'll do. And then if they're moving away, just tick, you know, go into their user profile, make them an administrator, click save, and then hand it over and say, you know, now you can, you can do anything that you like, just be careful.
Yeah, it'd be
David Waumsley: [00:37:03] fabulous to hear people who take a completely opposing view and they want to limit the access, but people do have their own issue, claim ownership over their sites, you know, and that would be very interesting, like the WaaS you're saying
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:16] yeah, those views and that seems to be a growing Sphenomenon as well.
So yeah, definitely put some comments below, feel free to do that. You can always. Put put some comments in our Facebook group towards you. People stop come forward slash Facebook. If you fancy doing that. That was a nice little debate. I enjoyed that. Thanks, David. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:37:34] Yeah, we do. Cheers. Bye.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:36] Well, that was interesting.
I always like chatting to David about these things. I hope that you enjoyed it. Maybe we have a similar position to you. Maybe we're entirely different and you have a new and interesting way of limiting access for your WordPress website clients. If so, and you'd like to comment, please head over to WP Builds.com.
Leave a comment underneath the post or head to our Facebook group WP belts.com forward slash Facebook and leave a comment on the posts that you'll find there. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Want to set up your AB split test in record time, the new AB split test plugin for WordPress.
We'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes. Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers rows, really anything. And the best part it works with elemental Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it [email protected]. Okie dokie. I hope that you'll come back and join us next week.
Next Thursday we'll have a new podcast also on a Monday, like I said, there's the live news and the regular news. So hopefully we'll see you at some point. All that remains for me to do is to fade in some dreadful, cheesy music as we do each week and say, bye bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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