WebMatros / Headway Hero member Ngozi wanted to know how she can run multiple Headway websites, from the same WordPress install. Quickly, my comment spiraled into a mega-comment, worthy of inclusion in Guiness’ Book of World Record’s (for longest comment ever), so I decided to turn this into this impromptu blog post, so you may benefit as well:) The subject of creating a WordPress multisite network is widely described around the web, but here I do my best to make it really easy to understand – and simple to follow – step by step.
Ok, here’s how it’s approached, in rough steps:
First up, Headway fully supports what’s known as WordPress Multisite.
Multisite was originally known as WordPress MU (short for Multi User) – an extended version of WordPress, capable of running multiple websites, from a single WordPress install. It’s what WordPress.com – the hosted WordPress-solution (offered by Matt Mullenweg’s company Automattic) – is based upon.
Activating WordPress Multisite
To enable Multisite on your site is a bit technical. Depending on your technical skills, you may need to hire “a geek” to do it for you. For a technical person it’s a 30 minute affair, easily done. In some cases, your web hosting company can help you out if you ask them nicely. In any case, you need to check with them, whether your hosting plan supports WordPress Multisite. Not all do!
Okay, so let’s assume you have hosting, capable of running a WordPress multi-site:
First, to enable multisite, ak in your (until then/now) “single-site” WordPress install, the directions you need to follow, are these:
Successfully and fully followed, those instructions have now given you the ability to run multiple totally independent WordPress websites, from your one and only WordPress install. Nice ‘eh?
But we’re (most likely) not there yet! Unless you plan on using these WordPress sites for the purpose of demo-sites (showcasing f.e. themes or plugins) or you wanna run a free blogging platform, perhaps for your local community; you’d need to take an extra step.
You see, what you have now, will be different sites yes, but all on a single domain, either placed in subfolders/subdirectories, or on subdomains. Like this:
Most of you will probably want this instead:
… or without www for that matter:
Note: no matter which option (above or below) you choose; your original site (myoriginalsite.com) will still be available, unaffected by all this. So don’t worry: it doesn’t disappear!
What else you need to know
Finally, a couple of things you should be aware of, choosing to go the multi-site route:
1. Once you go multisite, it’s hard to go back. It’s a one way road!
2. Your sub-sites will not be easily to separate from your multi-site install. If you f.e. host your clients sites this way, and they wanna move their site elsewhere, use the analogy (or is it a metaphor? Can never remeber the difference…) of trying to separate two siamese twins. It _can_ be done, but would require a _very_ sharp saw! Prolly a chainsaw. And that would turn this into a horror movie. Ahem…
(I’m sure they’ll understand…)
3. Multisite has the benefit of giving your sub-website users access to the Appearance tab in the WordPress admin. This includes the ability for them to edit their menus, and switch themes etc – but not install plugins. This is desirable, and on normal WordPress sites, access to the Appearance tab (your clients should be able to edit their menus!) would require them to have Administrator-level access. But that would also let them install plugins – and I strongly suggest they should NOT be able to install plugins. The result is usually installation of some bug-ridden, incompatible, security-holed crappy “social sharing buttonz” plugin. WordPress Multisite solves this problem, elegantly.
4. Whenever there’s an update available for the Domain Mapp.. plugin: DO NOT update it via WordPress’ auto-updating feature. You’ll likely need to manually also update the sun… file that’s placed in your … directory. Not paying attention to this can, potentially (I’ve been there) bring down all sites.
5. WordPress Multisite rocks! I like it a lot! So give it a try if you haven’t already!
Any questions? Ask ’em in the comment section below! I’ll love to hear from you!