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If you already have a blog and things are going well with it, you might be considering starting a second one, or even more. The good news is that you can build an entire content network with WordPress, through WordPress Multisite.
Many news organizations and even WordPress itself (in the form of WordPress.com) uses Multisite to allow users who aren’t ready to have their own self-hosted blogs to enjoy all of the features that WordPress has to offer within a more streamlined yet flexible system.
Here’s how to get started with this versatile and powerful blog network content management system.
What is WordPress Multisite?
WordPress Multisite, available since 2010, allows users to run and manage multiple WordPress blogs from a single installation. Prior to that time, a plugin known as WordPress MU or MultiUser achieved the same effect, but since WordPress version 3.0, the feature has been integrated into the main WordPress core files.
Managing WordPress Multisite features is the same within the WordPress dashboard. All of your normal WordPress options are there, but now you can manage them over a much larger set of blogs. However, there are some important distinctions to note, which we’ll get into below.
Do I Have to Redo My Blog To Use WordPress Multisite?
You do not have to redo your blog in any way to use WordPress Multisite. In fact, if anything, updating things like your themes and plugins will be much simpler since you’ll be doing it all from one centralized dashboard. You can still create various user roles to help you in this regard as well.
How Do I Setup WordPress Multisite?
Setting up WordPress Multisite requires some familiarity with core WordPress files like wp-config.php and a server file called .htaccess. If you don’t know what this means or you’re not comfortable editing these files or working with FTP and permissions, don’t worry! WPDandy is here to help with our comprehensive WordPress management and maintenance services. We can help you easily set up a WordPress Multisite whether you have two blogs, or two dozen.
When you set up WordPress Multisite, it’s important to note that user roles will change slightly. You can still have admins, editors and subscribers, but there’s one, all-powerful “super admin” that has control of everything. The super admin can make changes to determine which sites can be added to the network, as well as what themes and plugins are available for use. Regular site admins can also access these tools, but cannot modify them.
Another thing worth noting is how WordPress stores images and manages files within its databases. Normally, a WordPress blog has eleven database tables with different information about your website. But WordPress Multisite has nine database tables for each site in the network. It also has a separate wp-uploads folder for every site in the network, so there’s no chance of mixing up your files and uploading the wrong image or other media file onto the wrong blog
Should You Use WordPress Multisite?
This is a question we’re often asked, and it’s a good one. While WordPress Multisite does allow you to manage multiple websites from a single WordPress installations, it’s important to remember that all of these sites must be on the same network. That also means that they’re all sharing the same resources from a single hosting account. You may not want to actually do that and instead want to be able to manage your WordPress sites from a dashboard that’s outside of WordPress.
WordPress Multisite requires you to have either subdomains or subdirectories for your blogs, while third party WordPress management tools let you have your own custom domain name for each blog. Keep this in mind to determine which choice would work best for you based on the end goals for your websites.
Below, you’ll find some advantages and disadvantages of setting up WordPress Multisite. Read on to determine if this is the best WordPress management plugin for your needs, or if you’re better suited looking elsewhere, such as using a WordPress management tool.
Who is WordPress Multisite NOT Right For?
There’s a lot of focus in this article about whether or not you should install WordPress Multisite, and from the outside, it really seems like it could save you a ton of time managing and updating blogs across a singular network. However, you’ll have a more difficult time with WordPress Multisite (and may even find it cumbersome to use) if:
You’re not comfortable editing WordPress files
WordPress Multisite is designed to make it easier for you to manage multiple sites on the same network, but in order to do so efficiently, you’ll need to be comfortable with at least a bit of basic PHP editing and know your way around a server. If you’re not comfortable with this, you can still set up a WordPress Multisite, but it’s advisable to have a proficient WordPress developer, such as those at WPDandy, to help you.
You only have a few websites to manage
If you only have a handful of websites to manage, it may seem convenient to be able to access them all from a single dashboard, but if there aren’t that many, you’re probably better off keeping them all separate.
You don’t have enough server resources to handle multiple sites
Because each site that’s part of a WordPress Multisite needs to be hosted on the same hosting account, it also uses up the same server resources, and depending on the amount of space and bandwidth your site uses, you may not have enough for all of them.
You’re developing WordPress websites that belong to different clients.
On the surface, WordPress Multisite sounds like a great way for web designers to manage their clients’ websites all from one centralized dashboard. Unfortunately, Multisite doesn’t quite work that way. As mentioned before, all sites need to be on the same server and account, and will need to be either subdomains (like gardening.example.com) or subfolders (like example.com/gardening) in order to work.
News and journalism channels often use WordPress Multisite for their networks so that they can manage different sections of their websites independently of the others. Updating the scores at example.com/sports won’t affect anything over at example.com/weather. So, although it might seem like a huge time saver to manage all of your client sites from one central location, WordPress Multisite won’t give you that kind of freedom and flexibility.
You’re developing WordPress websites that each need their own IP address and web hosting account.
There are times when you want all of your WordPress websites to have their own IP address and hosting account. For example, for privacy or security reasons. If one site goes down, they won’t all go down like dominos. If you’re worried about this happening, WordPress Multisite may not be the best option for your needs.
Your administrators want greater customization options
One of the best features of WordPress is the vast array of customization and personalization options you’ll find. But with WordPress Multisite, only you, as the super administrator, can install and customize them. If your network site administrators want the freedom to customize and create their own themes or modify existing themes, unfortunately that simply isn’t possible with WordPress Multisite.
You need to use specific plugins with your site that are not compatible with WordPress Multisite.
Although it doesn’t happen very often, there are some plugins or themes that simply aren’t compatible with WordPress Multisite, and in those cases, you’ll have to look for another way to build up your network of blogs if you are particularly tied to a certain theme or plugin.
With all of these points in mind, there are times where using WordPress Multisite is a smart idea. Let’s take a closer look at opportunities where Multisite will make a great difference in your blogging strategy.
Who Does WordPress Multisite Work Best For?
There are some times when WordPress Multisite is absolutely the best tool for the job when it comes to managing multiple websites. Those times include:
When you want a single point of access for all logins to the blog content network
This helps reduce the risk of a security or privacy breach, since having all logins connected to a single WordPress admin login area will cut back on the number of brute force login attempts or hacking attempts. It’s also easier for your network administrators to secure your blogs this way and prevent any malicious interference.
When you want to help ease your workload by having multiple blog administrators
One of the best reasons to use WordPress Multisite is that it lets you delegate your workload to others. Many people build their blogging “empire” by having writers and marketers to work on specific sections of the blog network. Since they are all unified under a single, broad topic (like finance or education), it makes it much easier to work on each specific blog rather than trying to cobble together a bunch of scattered blogs under a single brand.
When the content of your blogs is similar in nature and can be unified under a single domain name (with subdomains or subdirectories)
Here again, like news, sports and other types of sites that can branch out into similar related sections (while still retaining their original individuality) having multiple blogs with similar topics that can all fall under a given category is a great way to use WordPress Multisite to the fullest. Common ideas beyond news and sports sites include local sites and how-to sites. For example, you could set up a blog all about different art techniques while having subdomains designated for each type.
When you want to make updating themes and plugins easier and more efficient
This is a huge time-saver for blog owners. Updating themes and installing plugins are easier because all a super administrator has to do is do so once, and they’re all updated across the entire network of sites. It certainly beats going into each one and updating them individually!
Getting Started with WordPress Multisite: Your First Steps
As noted above, installing WordPress Multisite means following a step-by-step tutorial and being comfortable editing code and updating some server and database portions. If you’re not comfortable doing that (and not everyone is!) we at WPDandy understand completely. That’s why we’d love to help you get started by installing your WordPress Multisite for you. We can even help install the sub-network blogs or sections of the site. We understand how to work with WordPress as well as how to edit core WordPress files that make the Multisite functionality possible, so you never have to worry that we’ll leave you with a bunch of code and hope that you’ll figure it out!
Plus, with our intuitive Dashboard panel, you can make programming and development admin tasks even easier. Much like a support ticket station and live chat rolled into one, from our unique and exclusive admin dashboard plugin, you can correspond with our team and have your dedicated WordPress developer work with you on your WordPress Multisite.
Your Complete WordPress Multisite Experts
Want to create a new blog within your network but aren’t sure how? Need some help with managing and maintaining your WordPress Multisite network of blogs? We can help you! Simply correspond with our programmer via the admin interface and get a prompt, courteous response quickly and easily. Put our experienced, proficient WordPress developers to the task and get your to-do list done easily and efficiently for one low monthly fee. It’s the smart, simple way to start growing your blog empire and taking advantage of the wealth of tools and profits to be made as a blogger, content publisher and an influencer in your given topic.
You can do it, and WordPress Multisite can help you achieve it. Contact us today for more information or for a free, no obligation quote on your project and let us handle all of your WordPress management and maintenance needs!