WordPress Multisite is a feature of WordPress that allows users to create a network of multiple websites using a single WordPress installation. It enables the management of several separate sites from one central dashboard.
Each site within the network can have its own domain or subdomain, and users can install and activate themes and plugins across multiple sites.
Multisite is typically used by organisations or individuals who want to create a network of websites, such as a blog network, a community of websites or multinational versions of essentially the same site.
What are the benefits?
WordPress Multisite offers several benefits:
- Centralised management: You can manage multiple websites from a single dashboard, making it easier and more efficient to update plugins, themes and WordPress itself.
- Cost-effectiveness: Instead of buying separate hosting plans for each website, you can use Multisite to host multiple websites on a single server, reducing costs.
- Time-saving: Updating plugins and themes can be done over all the sites with just a few clicks, saving time compared to doing it on each site individually.
- Consistent design and branding: You can maintain consistency in design and branding across all sites within the network by using a common theme or template.
- User management: Centralised user management lets users have access to multiple websites within the network using a single login, which is great for bloggers and remote contributors.
- Easy website creation: You can quickly create new websites within the network using predefined themes and plugins, eliminating the need to set up each site individually.
- Scalability: Multisite is scalable, letting you easily add new websites as your needs grow without separate installations.
- Flexibility: Each website can have its own domain or subdomain, giving you the flexibility to customise each site’s URLs as needed.
- Resource management: Multisite allows you to allocate server resources more efficiently by managing all websites within a single installation, reducing the overall server load.
What are the drawbacks?
Before using Multisite, consider the drawbacks:
- Complexity: Multisite can be more complex to set up and configure compared to a single WordPress installation. It requires good technical knowledge and may involve modifying server settings and DNS configurations.
- Plugin and theme compatibility: Some plugins and themes may not be fully compatible with Multisite, leading to functionality or compatibility issues.
- Increased server resource requirements: Hosting multiple websites within a single installation can increase server resource demands.
- Data management: Managing data and backups can be more complex as a single database is used for all sites. A mistake or data loss in one site can affect them all.
- Limited scalability: While it allows for the creation of multiple websites, it may not be suitable for large-scale networks with tens or hundreds of thousands of sites.
It’s important to carefully consider the specific needs and requirements of your project before deciding to implement WordPress Multisite.
It’s probably true to say that it’s more suitable for smaller-scale or medium-sized networks where the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
In other words, if it’s all running perfectly on a wonderful server, it’s a great thing to have.
But we all know that nothing in the digital world runs perfectly all the time, so it might be a case of weighing up risk rather than taking a chance with running dozens of high-resource sites on the same installation.