WordPress Multisite allows you to run multiple websites on your server using the same WordPress installation. From setting up WordPress Multisite to optimizing its various features, this article will help you understand every facet of this unique WordPress tool. Read on to find out more.
WordPress Multisite is a popular feature of WordPress, which enables you to create and run multiple websites using the same WordPress installation on your server. In other words, you can manage several different WordPress websites from a single dashboard.
However, people are sometimes unsure of how to use this feature. This guide will help to clear up questions related to what WordPress Multisite is, who needs it, and how to install it.
Let’s start with the basics.
1. What Is WordPress Multisite?
WordPress Multisite is a feature that allows you to create and run multiple WordPress websites from a single WordPress dashboard. It was previously called WordPress Multi-User or WPMU. WordPress Multisite is not a new feature. It is an advanced feature on the WordPress platform that has been around since the launch of WordPress 3.0. You can use it for a variety of purposes, such as updating all of your websites with a single click or charging your subscribers to create a website on your Multisite network.
2. Key Features Of WordPress Multisite
WordPress Multisite comes with various unique features. For starters, you can run a network of blogs and websites from a single WordPress installation. It enables you to create a network of subdomains, like
http://john.example.com, or directories, like
http://www.example.com/john/. Alternatively, you can also have a separate domain for each website on the network. It is also easier to replicate functionality across a network of websites.
In WordPress Multisite, you can control the entire network as a Super Admin. As a regular website admin, you can control only one website on the network. As a Super Admin, you control the accessibility of users who want to create an account and set up WordPress blogs or websites of their own.
A Super Admin can install new themes and plugins, make them available to the websites on the network, and also customize the themes for all websites. Another feature is the ability to create websites and online shops intended for specific languages, regions, and currencies.
Both the Super Admin and the website admin can control content. While this control extends over the entire network for a Super Admin, the website admin has the right to choose which content from the main domain gets displayed on their respective website. Plugins are also under the control of a Super Admin. However, a website admin can activate and deactivate plugins on their website if required.
3. Who Should And Shouldn’t Use WordPress Multisite?
Although WordPress Multisite offers several features, it is not always the right choice. The main concern is that the websites on a Multisite network would share the same database. In other words, you can’t back up only a single website. That’s why all of the websites on a network must belong to the same principal domain.
Let me explain with an example. A university could use WordPress Multisite to build different websites for each department, for student and faculty member blogs, and for forums. Because the websites would share their database with the university’s main domain, they would be easier to manage on a Multisite network.
Likewise, banks and financial institutions with a national or global network of branches, digital publications with multiple content sections, government offices with multiple departments, hotel chains, stores with multiple outlets, e-commerce companies, and website design companies such as Wix could also use a Multisite network to their advantage.
However, a web designer couldn’t use Multisite to manage several unrelated client projects. If one of the clients decided to move their website elsewhere, it would be a problem because the website would be sharing its database with others on the network. Multisite makes it difficult to back up an individual website on the network. You would be better off using a single installation in this case.
4. Pros And Cons Of WordPress Multisite
Now that we know who should and shouldn’t use WordPress Multisite, let’s look at the technical pros and cons. You’ll need to weigh them carefully before making a decision.
- The main advantage is the ability to manage multiple websites from a single dashboard. This is useful if you are running multiple websites managed by different teams under one parent domain, such as an e-commerce store with different country-specific sub-sites.
- However, you can also assign a different admin to each website on your network.
- With a single download, you can install and activate plugins and themes for all of the websites on your network.
- You can also manage updates with a single master installation for all of the websites on your network.
- Because all of the websites share the same network resources, they will all go down if the network goes down.
- A sudden increase in traffic to one website will affect all others on the network. Unfortunately, beginners often find it difficult to manage traffic and server resources on a Multisite network.
- Similarly, if one website gets hacked, the entire network will get compromised.
- Not all WordPress plugins support a Multisite network.
- Likewise, not all web hosting providers have the tools necessary to support a Multisite network.
- If your hosting provider lacks the server requirements, you won’t be able to use the Multisite feature. For example, some hosting providers might not allow you to add a domain to the same hosting server. In that case, you might need to change or upgrade your hosting plan or change providers.
As you can see, WordPress Multisite comes with several advantages. You can control and manage several websites from a single dashboard. It can certainly reduce your legwork and make your website monitoring hassle-free. Hopefully, you now have enough knowledge on installing, troubleshooting, and working with applications on a Multisite network to take the plunge.
Article courtesty of Smashing Magazine