15 May WordPress Multisite
WordPress multisite has gained a ton of traction over the last few years, as it allows people to very quickly setup a network of blogs (similar to wordpress.com, only self hosted). I often see it misused, however. It has tons of awesome capabilities and used correctly it can be a very powerful too. Albeit complicated.
First, it should really only be used for blogs, or sites where content is updated on a regular basis. It often creates a lot of headache for everyone involved if you have two unrelated sites (say a site for your plumbing business and a site for your painting business) that you want to manage from one place, to use WordPress multisite.
While it may be somewhat slightly more convenient in some aspects the longevity of your site is going to suffer. Things like upgrading your WordPress multisite aren’t as straightforward as a regular WordPress upgrade. Furthermore the library of plugins that are available to multisite users is significantly smaller than the regular WordPress plugin library. This is because so many thing have to be taken into account when writing plugins.
The way data is stored in a WordPress multisite often causes issues for plugins and themes alike. Basically, new instances of sites are created in the database, but the details for the entire multisite are stored in your main sites database tables. All the other sites have the regular database information, with some additions (mainly how they’re related to one another).
It’s all these complications that result in tons of long term headache just for having one place to manage a couple unrelated sites. For something like that, ManageWP is an awesome resource. Although having two instances of single WordPress installs may not be that much of a headache.
WordPress multisite is best used when you have a network of blogs. Lets say you write reviews. Maybe in five different cities. Each city is going to have different authors. This is a perfect use case for multisite. It allows one person to oversee the entire site (the super admin), as well as allow you to have administrators for each of the five cities (so they can approve content from authors, add plugins, edit that city’s theme, etc.)
In the case above, managing all your content from one place makes sense. All the content is, in some way related to other content. It may make sense that someone from one city moves to another city and wants to write reviews for both. Setting this up is very simple with WordPress multisite, no second login needed.
In the future, we’ll look at some in depth aspects of multisite, some use cases, and other tidbits. But one of the most important aspects is making sure your site is right for it in the first place.