Pros and Cons of Using WordPress Multisite
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WordPress Multisite is an option that allows blog owners and site administrators to run multiple sites without having to upload a new WordPress configuration for each site. This option was formerly made available through WordPress Multi-User. Now developers can configure the WordPress 3.0 installation to allow for multi-site use. There are many benefits and disadvantages to doing so, based on your experience and needs. Here’s a breakdown of some of the pros and cons of WordPress Multisite:
Easy one-stop management. Once you configure the multi-site installation, you can manage all your blogs from one control panel. You don’t need to upload each new installation. The multi-site option is more convenient and saves you a great deal of time setting up and maintaining new blogs.
Multi-site updates. The multi-site configuration allows you to update your WordPress software for all your sites at once since you are only using one installation. Not only can you update your WordPress software for all sites at once, but you can also update all your themes, plug-ins and widgets at once.
Single SQL database to maintain. You don’t need to create backup files for each of your sites individually. Since you only have one SQL database to maintain, you can create one backup folder for all your sites at once.
One-time plug-in installation. Anything that you install for the multi-site configuration can be applied to all the sites under its umbrella. That means that if you install a new plug-in or other tool, you can apply it to all your sites at once, rather than having to upload it for each site individually. You choose which sites to apply each update. This saves you a great deal of time on both development and maintenance.
Complicated set up. If you’re a relative beginner to WordPress or to coding, you may have a hard time understanding the multi-site configuration. The set up is more complicated and so may require more study or assistance than the one-site installation. There are multiple tutorials, including this one (http://codex.wordpress.org/Migrating_Multiple_Blogs_into_WordPress_3.0_Multisite) from WordPress and this one (http://wptheming.com/2010/03/wordpress-3-0-enable-network/) from WP Theming. This video tutorial (http://www.webdesigncompany.net/wordpress-3-multisite-setup/) is also one of several available.
Compatibility issues. Not all themes and plug-ins were created for use on a multi-site configuration. Therefore, you may not be able to carry over some of the themes or plug-ins that you have chosen for your sites. You should check to see if the multi-site configuration is supported for the tools you have selected. Otherwise, you may have to search out new themes or plug-ins for use on those sites.
Mapping issues. When you designate the sites on your multi-site installation, they are created as subdomains or subdirectories on the main site. You can then use a plug-in or other method for pointing those subdomains or subdirectories at a primary domain name. This can be complicated for those with only a beginner level understanding of web hosting, or it can be an inconvenience for others.
There are many pros and cons to choosing the WordPress multisite installation. The number of sites you maintain, your purpose for those sites, and the extent of your knowledge of or experience with WordPress will determine whether this option is a good choice for you. Have you used WordPress multisite? What are your thoughts? Would you recommend it to others?
About the Author:
Heather Green is a freelance writer for several regional magazines in North Carolina as well as a resident blogger for onlinenursingdegrees.org. Her writing experience includes fashion, business, health, agriculture and a wide range of other topics. Heather has just completed research on healthcare admin programs and online physical therapy aide programs.
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