If you understand the power of WordPress, you know just how easy it is to build new websites or blogs for all kinds of different business ideas and applications.
If you plan to build multiple web sites or blogs using WordPress, the information below will help you with your multi-website planning process.
Do you have a number of online businesses or business ideas that require building and managing multiple websites, or are you thinking of setting up a network of blogs?
If so, WordPress has a built-in “Multisite” function, but this may or may not be the solution you need. This tutorial will help you understand the differences between single WordPress installations and WordPress Multisite and when to use or not use the WordPress Multisite feature.
If you are considering building one or more websites using WordPress, you may have come across suggestions or recommendations in places like online forums, online groups, or other sites where people share advice to use a special variant of WordPress called “WordPress Multisite”.
WordPress Multisite is a special mode built into WordPress that allows you to create a network of multiple websites, all running on a single installation of WordPress. They can also share plugins and themes …
(Single WordPress installation vs WordPress Multisite)
Each site in a Multisite set up is installed as a subdomain of the parent site (i.e. wpsite.yourdomain.com), or as a sub-directory (www.yourdomain.com/wpsite). The individual sites in the network are virtual sites in the sense that they do not have their own directories on your server, although they do have separate directories for media uploads within the shared installation, and they do have separate tables in the database.
As the super-administrator of the network, you have access to all sites in the network and can control these sites from a single WordPress dashboard. You then grant sub-users control and access to their own specific sites. Individual users have no access to the rest of the network – only their own sites.
End users of your network can also create their own sites on demand. If you don’t want to allow end users to create their own sites on demand, you can create a multisite network in which only the super-admin can add new sites.
WordPress Multisite was once a completely separate version of WordPress, called WordPress MU (MU = Multi-User). After WordPress 3.0 WordPress MU was merged with the regular WordPress software and renamed “WordPress Multisite.” This is now a WordPress feature that can be turned on or off.
Although WordPress Multisite is very powerful, it’s not appropriate for all WordPress-powered projects and sites.
Below are some examples of when you should not consider using WordPress Multisite:
Additionally, there are times when WordPress Multisite is simply not a suitable option.
There is nothing wrong with using WordPress single installations for your business projects as long as you keep all of your sites up to date.
Useful Tip: If managing multiple single WordPress sites becomes an issue, then consider using a multiple WordPress website management plugin like WP Pipeline.
So, when should you use WordPress Multisite?
You can consider setting up a WP Multisite installation if:
WordPress Multisite offers a number of benefits and advantages:
The best way to understand when or why to use WordPress Multisite is to see some actual examples. Below are some examples of sites and categories of users who use WordPress Multisite:
The most popular use of WordPress Multisite is WordPress.com, which is the “hosted blogging” version of WordPress. WordPress.com allows anyone to create a personal blog quickly and easily using WordPress. Blogs are then hosted on WordPress’ own servers.
Essentially, every blog created on WordPress.com is another site that gets added to their massive Multisite network.
Note: We recommend using the self-hosted version of WordPress for any sites you plan to use for commercial purposes, e.g. a business blog, e-commerce site, affiliate blog, etc.
University websites provide a great example of organizations where it can make sense to use WordPress Multisite, as they typically have a sizeable amount of content, which is often separated into several sub-sections (colleges, majors, etc.). Universities can use WordPress Multisite to network and manage their various academic departments.
Blogging networks like Edublogs.org, where participants can share ideas with a central organization and the public at large (e.g. schools, teachers and alumni) can use WordPress Multisite.
In this scenario, each individual unit in the network (e.g. school, teachers, etc.), can create their own blogs on their own separate domains, and have the main site of their organization or “cause” display feeds of recent posts from across their entire blog network.
A number of large networks, broadcasting corporations and media conglomerates like the NYTimes and BBCAmerica use multisite installations to run separate sites, with child themes managed from a single framework.
If you’re wondering what the difference between the two modes of WordPress is, here is a quick list:
Hopefully, the information presented above will help you understand a little more about WordPress Multisite, and when to use a typical WordPress installation versus choosing to install and set up a WordPress Multisite network.
WordPress Multisite installation tutorials are coming soon.
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