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Please help: sharing experience working with WordPress multisites

 10:28 am on Apr 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hello WW members,

I need some advice on WP multi-site management. Anyone here is controlling more than 2 websites at a time? I would like to have advice and experience sharing from WP pros here. Now I spend quite a lot of time in these websites and have trouble with investing time for my new projects.

I read several articles but the only solution they give is plugins. I mean, plugins are okay but I want to have real experience from the pros. So what plugins are you using for multisite management and beside plugins, do you have any other advice?

Thank you everyone!



 4:46 pm on Apr 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Can I ask
1. Why do you want to run multisite?
2. Will the sites be very similar (same plugins, same parent theme)?

I haven't tried multisite in a long time, but my experience was that if the sites are not highly similar, it's more work than it's worth and in a case like that, you're better off with separate sites on a central dashboard (I use ManageWP but there are others).

If the sites are similar enough that they share all the same plugins and you want to be able to update once and not have to test for each site, then you get some advantages.

Like I say, though, for the practical side of it, I haven't done it in a long time because I always found sites diverging. I'd say the best use case is building a publishing platform with a suite of similar sites.


 7:19 am on Apr 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thank you ergophobe.

I'm managing about 12 websites and only 5 of them suitable for WordPress multisite. With other 7 websites they are separated and for different clients. I guess I have to manage these 7 manually then :(


 12:29 pm on Apr 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld mattrosario86
Multisite is easy to setup and manage. The harder part is to setup sub-sites on their own domain. Easy to do a sub-domain or sub-directory setup.

There isn't much to manage with WordPress as far as updates to the core files and the plugins are concerned if it's setup right. WordPress can do automatic updates for it's own files and you can install a plugin that will automatically update other plugins and themes.

@ergophobe. Sites can be radically different. The only real rule of thumb to remember is that whatever you install for plugins and themes is available to the entire network.


 5:14 pm on Apr 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

@lorax - the issues I got into are the cases where one site needs a plugin update, but another site has a conflict with that plugin, and then you're stuck.

It's not a common issue and may be much less common than the long ago days of your when I last tried this, but my experience was that you have to be very careful not to set up different sets of dependencies.

An example would be where
- 5 sites use plugin A
- 1 site uses plugin B, which extends plugin A.

Plugin A has a critical security update, but plugin B hasn't updated yet. You're stuck and can't upgrade your multisite because you're waiting on the plugin B update for that one site.

Probably rare, but worth thinking about.


 8:11 pm on Apr 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

Good point @ergophobe. I've wondered about what I'd do if this happens to me. I've wondered if I can tell WordPress to skip loading a plugin on any give site - I believe I can but I have not tried this yet.

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