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How to decide When to use WordPress Multisite

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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. You want to control the branding and the site building tools and features offered to the networked sites.
  4. 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:

  1. You manage a few websites each with different functions, purposes, and goals.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. One WordPress update applies to all the sites. The same is true for plugin and template updates.
  2. New sites inherit the curated basis of plugin and themes from its network administrator.
  3. Sites are created in seconds. The Network Admin user can create the sites using only the WordPress admin panel.
  4. 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:

  1. Plugins, Themes, Widgets may not work on WordPress Multisite as they are created for a regular WordPress.
  2. Plugins and themes are shared. Networked-site users cannot add plugins to their site (they must request them to the network administrator).
  3. It is difficult to clone your networked-sites to setup a test or development environment.
  4. Evolution is difficult. It is hard for networked-site users to experiment with plugins or new themes.
  5. 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.
  6. It uses more server memory per page than a standalone site.
  7. 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.
  8. 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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How to decide When to use WordPress Multisite
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