Run Multiple Blogs More Efficiently With WordPress Multisite

by Matt Montaruli on September 27, 2012

Do you manage multiple WordPress installations? Are you tired of logging in and out of all of your different WordPress blogs just to update the plugins for each site? You might want to consider WordPress Multisite.

I personally own five different sites running WordPress and use almost all of the same plugins for each site. As you can imagine, whenever a plugin or WordPress update is released, it can be a real pain to log into WordPress five separate times and update each site individually.

However, with WordPress Multisite, you can manage multiple blogs under the same WordPress installation. You only have to log into one place to perform any routine maintenance for any of the several blogs you may manage.

Below are some notes on what Multisite was like to set up and manage. You can find instructions for how to install Multisite here.

Much Easier to Manage

Once implemented, Multisite has made it far easier to manage multiple blogs under the same WordPress installation. You only need to log into one place in order to update WordPress or any plugin for all sites in the network.

Setting Up Domain Mapping

The Domain Mapping plugin, which is a Multisite plugin that allows you to have different domains for each blog in your network, is quite easy to set up. However, it also has a few minor pitfalls.

You’ll have to do some minor configuration with your host in order to implement, and the steps required will vary from host to host. A simple Google search should yield the instructions you’d need for your specific host.

How Changing the Domain Settings Can Affect How a User Logs In

Certain files (i.e.: CSS files) will, by default, use the network url (networked-site.blog-network.com/path-to-css-file.css) instead of the mapped url (networked-site.com/path-to-css-file.css), despite the default settings for domain mapping.

The only way to override this is to go into the individual settings for each site and change all instances of the network url to the site url.

By making this change, you can no longer utilize Remote Login, which allows you to log into one blog in your network in order to access the admin areas of all networked blogs. Without Remote Login, you can still update WordPress and plugins from one place, but you cannot log into one blog and the jump into the admin section of another to write a post.

I decided that Remote Login wasn’t too important to me, so I went ahead and changed the URLs, because I wanted to ensure that as many HTTP requests as possible were going to the same site url.

Some Additional Drawbacks

Some plugins may not be Multisite-ready. In my experience, this has been pretty rare (at least among the more popular plugins), but those that aren’t compatible generally provide an alert message of some sort to inform you that the plugin isn’t compatible. Hasn’t been much of an issue for me, but just something to watch out for.

Before deciding on Multisite, keep in mind that you’ll have less control and flexibility over individual sites, since all blogs are managed by the same installation. This limitation in flexibility may turn some off.

Remember, if one blog requires a server upgrade due to increased traffic, either the entire network of blogs must be moved, or the one blog must be separated and re-imported into a new independent WordPress installation. This is more complicated than changing a server for a one-blog WordPress installation.

You should weigh your priorities. If you are considering Multisite, it is likely because you are looking for convenience. If convenience is more important to you than flexibility, you should likely implement WordPress Multisite rather than keep all of your blogs separate.

Care to share any of your own experiences with Multisite or are you interested in implementing yourself? Let us know in the comments below.