This Post is a compendium of Conditionals and a list of Good and Bad Parts, to definitively help you to decide when to use WordPress Multisite. If Multisite is for you
Multisite is a feature of WordPress 3.0 and later versions that allow multiple virtual sites to share a single WordPress installation. When the Multisite feature is activated, the original WordPress site can be converted to support a network of sites.
— The WordPress Codex
1 WordPress Multisite if:
Consider WordPress Multisite if you are in more than one of this next Use cases:
- You manage a network of: organizations, delegations, dealers, sub-offices, … ex::
- A company with a network of agents.
- A corporation with different companies.
- A community (E.g., a school with departments)
- You are a promoter or manager:
- An event manager (E.g., book releases, art gallery events),
- You promote authors (E.g., a network of podcast producers, musicians)
- You want to control the branding and the site building tools and features offered to the networked sites.
- You need a multilingual site, and you want to promote each language content as independently as possible.
2 Not WordPress Multisite if:
Now if you have considered WordPress Multisite, try to avoid it if one of this next points is crucial for you:
- You manage a few websites each with different functions, purposes, and goals.
- You need totally separated databases. If, for instance, one of your networked users needs access to the database, remember, Multisite stores everything in the same database.
- You need to share content or want a cross-site search tool. WordPress Multisite does not provide you the solution. Networked sites are content independent.
3 The good parts:
If you are still undecided, let us expose The good and The bad parts. This will help you to abandon the gray zone.
- One WordPress update applies to all the sites. The same is true for plugin and template updates.
- New sites inherit the curated basis of plugin and themes from its network administrator.
- Sites are created in seconds. The Network Admin user can create the sites using only the WordPress admin panel.
- Content isolation. For instance, if you need different language/country sites and each site with its own different content. In this case, with Multisite you don’t have to deal with plugins like WPML (Multi-language plugins are more oriented to the synchronization of similar structures of contents between languages).
4 The bad parts:
- Plugins, Themes, Widgets may not work on WordPress Multisite as they are created for a regular WordPress.
- Plugins and themes are shared. Networked-site users cannot add plugins to their site (they must request them to the network administrator).
- It is difficult to clone your networked-sites to setup a test or development environment.
- Evolution is difficult. It is hard for networked-site users to experiment with plugins or new themes.
- A backup restore can move back in the time not only you site but all your networked sites. Not all backup programs work with Multisite.
- It uses more server memory per page than a standalone site.
- When one of your network sites becomes too big, and you want to separate it as a standalone WP site, the process is hard and complex. Especially if you want to preserve the URLs.
- If one of your networked sites does something weird that spikes his traffic, resources are shared so that it will affect the rest of your sites.
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