WordPress CMS is the most popular blogging system on the web right now. In fact, as of August 2011 it managed 22% of all the new websites and has only increased since then. WordPress 3.0 has introduced a new feature called WordPress Multisite.
What Is WordPress Multisite?
As from the name WordPress Multisite, it is what you would expect. It allows blog owners, and site administrators to run multiple sites from one location. The nice thing with WordPress Multisite is you do not have to upload a new WordPress configuration for each site.
Formerly you could do this through an option called Multiuser, but this was a separate version of WordPress. With WordPress 3.0, they merged this option with regular WordPress and renamed it WordPress Multisite.
Some great example of appropriate uses for WordPress multisite is the free blogging platform WordPress.com. Any blog created on WordPress.com is a new site added to the massive multisite.
So if you are managing a lot of different websites, WordPress Multisite might be an appropriate option for you. However, if you are managing just a few websites each with different functions, purposes, and goals, then it may be better just run them on separate installations of WordPress, as long as you keep them all up to date.
In order to help you make a decision of using this feature, let’s look at the pros and cons of using WordPress Multisite.
Pros of WordPress Multisite
You can manage all your blogs from one control panel. It is maybe the biggest proof of using WordPress Multisite as there is no need to upload a new installation of WordPress for each blog or website.
You update all the sites at once within one MU installation instead of updating each one separately. This is also true for all your themes, plugins and widgets.
It’s easier to upload a new plugin or other tool. All you need to do it upload the plugin and you can apply it to all your sites at once.
It is much simpler to backup since WordPress Multisite is a single SQL database. Just create one back up folder for all your websites. It is now not necessary to keep a backup folder for all your sites.
Aggregate content from one of the individual sites into your main blog is now a piece of cake. So this makes it simple to showcase some of the content from individual sites.
As you can tell, all these pros can save you a lot of time in both development and maintenance of a number of different blogs and or websites. However, there are some cons to using WordPress Multisite.
Cons of WordPress Multisite
Server resources needed to host a WordPress Multisite are the biggest con. WordPress MU can quickly use up server resources if you try to run it on a small shared host. Most likely it will be necessary to upgrade your hosting service, and this will cost more.
Themes and plugins may not work on WordPress Multisite as they are created for a regular WordPress. It would be necessary to contact the developer of the plugin or theme to see if it is compatible for WordPress Multisite. So, this could leave you searching for a similar plugin or theme if the one you wanted to use is not available for WordPress Multisite.
Sites on a WordPress Multisite are created as either a subdomain or subdirectory as the primary domain name. There are a few methods to use for pointing those subdomains or subdirectories at a primary domain name. This can be complicated for people who have only a beginner level of web hosting.
To Switch or Not to Switch?
WordPress Multisite is a great new feature for WordPress and can solve a lot of problems of managing and maintaining a huge number of websites or blogs. It is not for everyone, and it is important to weigh both the cons and pros of a WordPress Multisite before making a decision to switch to WordPress at once.
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