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WordPress Multisite Pros and Cons

25th November 2015

Admin WP

wordpress category

WordPress Multisite — the Pros

Growth: Community members with the right access permissions have the ability to set up new sites when they need them, without relying on a potential bottleneck in the IT department. A multisite has a Network Admin, and each micro-site has its own local admin. Local admins can be given the ability to add sites for new events, product campaigns, gallery openings, etc. — whatever is needed.
Streamlined site updates: For the administrator of a multisite, one WordPress update applies to all the sites, and the same is true for plugin updates. The administrator of multiple standalone sites has to update each site separately. There exist tools for managing multiple standalone sites, designed to make the update process less burdensome.
Control: With Multisite, the Network Administrator installs the plugins and themes that the sites can use. For standalone sites, plugins can be loaded at any time from any source by the site administrator.
Content Syndication: Sites in a Multisite network do not automatically share content, but plugins can be set up to read content from one site to another, without having the overhead of making an HTTP request to a remote site. Be wary of duplicating content, though, since duplicate content can hurt your site rankings in search engines.

WordPress Multisite — the Cons

Some plugins do not work with Multisite.
Individual site admins cannot add plugins to their site; they must request them from the network administrator.
Individual site admins cannot edit the theme files available to the multisite network. They can use plugins such as the Custom Style plugin to make CSS changes to their individual sites.
If a theme is changed, it is changed for all networked sites using the theme. If a plugin is added or deleted, it will affect all sites that are using that plugin.
It is hard for networked-site users to experiment with plugins, since they have to go through the Network Administrator to have them loaded.
Multisite uses more memory per page than a standalone site.
The sites in a Multisite network are all sharing one single database. This can tax system resources on high-traffic sites, affecting all sites in the Multisite network.

When WordPress Multisite is the Right Choice

If you or your community members need to be able to create and delete sites frequently, eg universities, real estate agencies, rock band promoters, etc.
If you have multiple sites with similar content, but different “personalities,” eg conferences, book releases, garden shows, etc.
If you are providing branded hosting for similarly structured sites, eg professional services, real estate, art galleries, photo journalists, music teachers, etc.
If your community is willing to accept that they will not be able to add plugins or to explore themes.

When WordPress Multisite May Not Be the Best Option

Do not pick Multisite just because it is easier to update. Constraints about plugins and themes create additional work for the network administrator, and can create annoying and unnecessary limitations for certain types of site owners.
Do not pick Multisite if you have sites with significantly different needs. Since the sites will share plugins and themes, the needs of the sites should overlap in functionality. Plugins create overhead for websites so you could be adding unnecessary additional resource requirements to your sites.

To create a multisite its very easy…for once!

1. Add

to your wp-config.php file, before
/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */
2 (a). Visit the network setup page
2 (b). Choose either a subdomain or sub directory structure
2 (c). Enter your network name
2 (d). Enter your admin email
3. Update your wp-config.php file with the code provided
4. Update your .htaccess file with the code provided
5. Log back in to your website

Plugins useful are:

MultiSite Clone Duplicator (This will not update after clone)
Multisite Plugin Manager (adds plugins to all sites in one click)
Infinitewp is good for lots of sites to manage them all effectively
Multisite Shared Menu

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