What is WordPress Multisite?
Essentially, the multisite is a feature offered in WordPress, which allows the WordPress user to create a full-fledged network of sites on a singular WordPress installation. It is available since it was launched alongside the WordPress 3.0, which is an extension of the WordPress Multiuser, with its features being incorporated into WordPress core. This setup shares a file system, database, and are usually variations of the matching domain. There are typically two kinds of multisite: subdomain (site.domain.com) and subdirectory (domain.com/site). Administrators may also be able to map custom domains to any of their current subsites.
It has various features, amongst most useful which include; the ability of multiple websites and blogs being run from a single WordPress server, this grants the user full autonomy over their website's content, actions and in some cases, even monetary profits. Another feature of it is being the ‘Super Admin', who when installing themes and plug-ins, can make them available to multiple users at a time, all of whom seem to be using other sites on the constructed network. It is important to mention that, other admins will not have the authority to install themes and plug-ins. Furthermore, as a Super Admin, you can create deviations to themes for all websites. Website Admins, however, cannot make changes to their themes.
The Pros and Cons of Multisite in WordPress?
Probably the biggest advantage is that you have convenience and control, as you get to manage all the websites from one single dashboard. Each site on the network can have its administrators, so this distributes the workload and gets work done more efficiently and quickly. Furthermore, having a multisite system on your website allows a lot of organizational structures to be put up, which guarantees an optimal workflow. For example, the multisite makes it significantly easier for the user to manage updates as the only prerequisite that needs to be fulfilled is that WordPress (the main handle) has to be updated itself and automatically all plug-in installations, themes, etc are updated on all domains of the network.
However, it has its cons as well, particularly when it comes to managing the website that is set up for multiuse. One of the major setbacks to using the multisite system is that of connectivity – which happens when the network is down, consequently, all connected websites are too. This immediately puts a stop to all operations and that too immediately, all at once which puts a significant strain on the company’s reputation (when it may not deliver the promised work to their clientele and thus consequently, may even result in monetary loss.) Moreover, the traffic that accumulates on the server resources for the novice level workers, is a difficulty. In case, one of your websites gets unanticipated traffic, then it will disturb all other websites on the network, making them slower because there isn’t any load distribution. Additionally, then there is the possibility of having a cyberattack on the company, that results in a full-scale network hack that may immobilize and threaten the whole network operation and data integrity. It is also important to mention that, some WordPress plug-ins may not work on all connected sites on a multisite network. Also, the WordPress multisite network is not fully sustained by all service providers which may limit your options.
Who needs a Multisite?
While there are third-party tools to manage the WordPress Website from a single dashboard, with options like InfiniteWP and iThemes Sync which make it easier to maintain various WordPress sites collectively. The usage of the multisite program is relevant in the scenario when for say; the management of a Magazine website, which has different segments that need to be regulated and maintained. The same can be said about a business that has multiple wings and factions that need to be distributed via sub-sites, if the case is that they are located at different, multiple places all across, with various branches that all have their subjective demands. Besides, if the case comprises a Government or non-profit organization/corporation then to conserve their IT budget (since WordPress is free) they might employ its use, for managing different sub-sections of their organizations, which may include departments, regions, locations, etc. The use of a multisite can also benefit an independent network of blogs running on multiple subdomains, that's owned by an entrepreneur or as in today's modern age, social media "influencers". Nowadays, it is also plausible for schools and colleges to have their students create and maintain blogs on the school's server.
The prerequisites for a Multisite Network
WordPress Hosting is something that is needed for a successful multisite network – this includes collaboration with service providers like BlueHost, HostGator, SiteGround and various others which offer a traffic management system (something that is imperative for a multisite to function, especially if it grows into a large network), Shared Hosting with VPS servers and other services. However, it is important to know how to set up a WordPress multisite network in the first place.
How to Install a WordPress Multisite Network
If the installation is taking place on a pre existing WordPress website, the first and most important part is to deactivate any plug-ins that are installed on the website. It is as simple as going to the ‘Plugins’ handle on the website, proceeding to ‘Installed Plugins’, selecting all plug-ins, going to the ‘Bulk Actions’ button, selecting the ‘Deactivate’ option and then clicking on the ‘Apply’ button.
Then proceed over to the ‘Tools’ and then to ‘Network Setup’ page to organize the multisite network. On to the next, on the network setup screen, there will be a need to install the ‘Apache mod-rewrite module installed on the working server. Then WordPress needs to be informed about the kind of domain structure that will be required for your respective need which is primarily the Subdomains or Sub-directories. Then to affirm the installation process, the network would need a title, the correct email address of the Network admin, and then just click on the ‘Install’ button. The only thing left in the process will be to add the wp-config.php and .htaccess file individually.
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