When Should I Use (or Not use) WordPress Multisite?

Reasons for using Multisite;

  • If you want separate sites with their own admin area.
  • you are happy being the only one that vets/installs plugins/themes on the network of sites and your admins can’t (don’t let them on a multisite or risk all getting hacked).
  • if you want all users to be able to comment on all other sites
  • If you don’t want admins on multiple sites to install plugins.
  • upgrading plugins is very easy and a one click job
  • when you are happy to support the people on the network 100% forever (in which case only very simple setups are applicable).
  • Use it when the group on the network fit together.

Reasons for NOT using Multisite (remember rules are to be broken);

  • if you want users to be able to edit widgets.
  • if you want to be able to NOT have to support people on the netwok longterm.
  • you want all sites to share same store/database (will happen – but not yet).
  • if you want members to use iframes and javacsript – like giving them keys to car (use short codes and plugins)
  • If you want members to instal their own themes and plugins. You must be in charge of vetting these or face the entire network getting hacked.
  • if you are likely to want to move sites off the network (its not that easy).
  • you don’t want all users to be able to comment on all other sites.
  • because you don’t want you admins to administer (that’s what it was deigned for!.. for separate site administered by separate individuals).
  • just because you want all your sites to be the same. Note worpress.com runs on multisite = 1000 totally DIFFERENT sites.
  • if you want 1 massive social site where all can login and exchange data use single install with buddypress.
  • It’s not easy to share content or menus
  • mulisites set up with subfolders  have /blog/ in their URL
  • Restricting plugins is complicated
  • creating user roles is hard
  • moving it (or just one site) is tricky
  • some plugins wont work on multisite
  • don’t use it for sites that need categories (wordpress does this and plugins are available for creating subdomains and edit/remove categories)

Things to note:

  • you can map domains but how will this affect email and shell access?

NOTE: if you are running WordPress multisite for more than 5 people and it’s not hosted on a VPS or a platform that is easily upgrade hardware with 1 click you may have problems.

Questions and Answers

Q: Should I use WordPress with Multisite?

A: It depends what you want to do! What do you need? Not necessarily what do you want? We all like shiny things but sometimes they weigh us down!

Q: What is Multisite for?

A: Multisite is for truly separate sites like wordpress.com. It’s designed for; multiple – separate – sites!

Q: I want the same article to be shared on every site of my network – is that ok?

A: you can – but DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT – IT WILL RUIN YOUR SITES SEO!

 

Want to go nuts with multisite and create multi-networks of multisites? (warning – be careful:)


Questions relating to this page; when should I not use WordPress multisite? When should you use multisite for wordpress?

 

How To Set Up a Website Cheaply & Quickly

OK here’s a very quick and rough guide on how anyone can set up a website. First, some basic terms;

CMS (content management system); use WordPress software – download free from wordpress.org and install on server, but they also have website (wordpress.com) where for small fee you can build your site on their severs using the same software very easily. Great thing about WordPress CMS is, if you want to go elsewhere with it, you (simon) can download the site/db it yourself in a few clicks. It also allows anyone to customise the look in a click with 1000’s ‘Themes.’

Web Hosting (all done in cloud these days – even having your own ‘server’); For non-MOD stuff all you need is a shared and managed (host takes care of server/software updates) £15pm. Most have 1-click WordPress install feature. You need full DNS control (managing/pointing) of your domains.

Of course there are dozens of hosting and domain registration companies but I’ve tested quite a few eg do not use 1&1 – messy and lack of control over domains – so here are my unbiased and not-for-my-own-profit personal recommendations.

You have 2 basic choices…

1) go to WordPress.com create entire site there cheaply and register domains there also. Your site/domains will be hosted by wordpress with 1000s others – no prob and you can easily migrate away. Cons; plugins available (for things like calendars/contact us forms) and the ‘Themes’ are limited but can still make good site editable by anyone. Note: not sure if they allow DNS control of domains you register there – your dev will know.

2) What I have for bit more control (ie you might need developer to do custom coding + more control over plugins / front-end design); Bluehost.com. V cheap. I use Namecheap.com to register domains as I have lots and it’s bit cheaper – but you could do all your hosting and domain registration on Bluehost. Full full DNS control at both Bluehost and Namecheap.

Avoid using developers own software or servers – create your own account at your host company eg Bluehost and then give developer login – that way its all in your name and no one can hold a gun to your head and drag out the work/bills if you want to use another dev company.

Timescale; basic site;
1 day to register domain/hosting, install WP get site up.
3-5 days tweaking functions/about us pages/design.

My dev company

Dotsquares are a great web development company, charge me £75 a day booked in 5 day blocks but you’ll need to either; up at strange hours to manage them – or b) give very clear instructions. Freelancers will drag things out and work on 10 clients at once and can make moving away hard.