WordPress Multisite was introduced in 2010 with WordPress 3.0. It replaced WordPress MU (Multi-User), a feature that used to allow individuals to set up large networks of sites. Multisite allows hosting of different sites on a single WordPress installation in order to cater to specific business cases that require multiple websites that need to be managed from a single location.
WordPress Multisite has the advantage of being able to have several sites on a single hosting plan. Additionally, the administrator could centralize management of all WordPress updates, themes and plugins.
When to Use WordPress Multisite?
What if a single individual (or an organization) have multiple sites or blogs?
Management quickly becomes an issue because of individual requirements of these websites. The burden quickly builds up, because every site has its own set of plugins and themes updates.
A developer or a web agency can install and manage the network of client sites from a central panel. Clients can have administrator access to their own site (if they wish or there is a real need for that).
The good thing is that WordPress Multisite has several practical use cases that add great value to businesses and organizations. Here is a short description of selected business cases.
WordPress Multisite for Education
Imagine a university that facilitates its teaching faculty, administrative staff, and students by providing department level local websites within the main network. For example, the university can have a local portal for teachers where they could mark attendance, enter class schedule and other information. Similarly, the university could provide a student portal that offers the academic calendar, results, syllabus, resources (including ebooks) and related information.
With WordPress Multisite, universities can create hundreds of blogs and academic microsites without resorting to installing multiple copies of WordPress CMS.
WordPress Multisite for Media
Media houses, especially electronic media, can use WordPress Multisite for their news channels or e-papers for regional languages/audiences. Those regional sites can be managed from a single location. In addition, these websites could be individually updated through Multisite service.
BBC America is a great example of WordPress Multisite in action. The website has a Multisite WordPress service, and each of its programs has its own website.
In addition, media houses using WordPress Multisite can provide local websites for in-house departments, such as editorial, marketing, and archive departments.
WordPress Multisite for Development Agencies
Using WordPress Multisite service, development agencies can run all their subsites from a central location. In many cases, this is handled through subdomains, such as marketing.xxxxx.com or support.xxxxx.com. Each microsite is independently updated without affecting the other websites on the network.
WordPress Multisite for Ecommerce
Let’s take the example of a WooCommerce-powered ecommerce store. In this example, the ecommerce store is a part of the main website. The store owner would, therefore, have the main website and a secondary ecommerce website. The Multisite would then allow the users to browse the store without having to leave the main website.
WordPress Multisite for Hotels
I will finish this selection of use cases of WordPress Multisite with a business case for hotels. Multinational hotels can make regional websites that offer local information while the main site provides hospitality ethics code, corporate news, and portfolio.
Hotel owners can also use Multisite for separating the internal and external management of the business processes. For internal management, the website administrator can keep records of housekeeping, staff roster, training, and working shift etc. Similarly, for external management, admin can keep a record of guests and customers and the services they use.
Where Is WordPress Multisite Not Recommended?
After reading the benefits and uses of WordPress Multisite, you might think that it is the appropriate solution for all multisite business scenario. However, the following are some scenarios where multisite is not recommended.
- If you are not a network or an organization, you wouldn’t get the full benefit of the solution.
- The ecommerce websites share a common store database.
- If the main website is vulnerable, there are chances that you could lose all the multisites.
- If your main website is hosted on a shared hosting.
Appropriate Hosting for WordPress Multisite
If you already have a large and growing network, you need more resources for WordPress multisite. In case of insufficient resources, the number of user requests could result in a crash of the server. Therefore, experts suggest hosting your WordPress Multisite Network on a managed cloud hosting provider can scale-up the resources of your server whenever required.
As you can see, the WordPress Multisite allows for a scalable and extensive network that could be easily managed from a central location. This allows for the flexible implementation of WordPress-powered business cases.
If you want to set up a WordPress multisite, with potentially hundreds of websites, you will need advanced knowledge of server administration, although this is not the purpose of this tutorial. You can leave the server side technical issues to the dedicated team of Cloudways Support so that you could focus on your business.
I hope that this list has given you great ideas about incorporating multisite functionality into your organization’s WordPress network. If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comment section below.