Intro to WordPress and WordPress Multisite

Previously when you hosted unlimited blogs on one installation you would use WordPress MU (also known as WordPress Multiuser and WPMU).  WordPress and WordPress MU have now merged.

This now means you can install WordPress as:

  1. A stand alone WordPress site.
  2. Complete an additional step after installing WordPress to enable WordPress Multisite to create a network.

Enabling Multisite allows the management of multiple sites (called Multisite) from one WordPress installation.

There has been terminology changes with the release of  WordPress Multisite.  Here’s a quick overview of key terminology changes:

  • WordPress MU -> WordPress Multisite (also known as “MultiSite”, “MS”, etc). This now refers to WordPress with Multisite enabled
  • Blog -> Site (a blog that a user can signup for)
  • Site -> Network (a group of blogs are tied together, usually supported by the main blog where registrations are accepted. A Multisite install only has one Network unless you are using a special plugin that allows more than one network)
  • Site Admin -> Super Admin (the super admin user has access to everything across the entire Network)
  • Network Admin dashboard (a key change with the release of WordPress 3.1  the Super Admin area has been relocated into a separate dashboard area accessible by clicking on the “Network Admin” link in the WordPress admin bar.
  • Site Admin Dashboard (the normal WordPress admin area that your regular users see and where you access all standard WordPress functionality)

The Network Admin Dashboard

The “Network Admin” dashboard is a separate dashboard area for all Network Management on a WordPress Multisite install; this is where you access your Super Admin area.

The “Network Admin” link is only viewable and  accessible to users who have been granted Super Admin privileges for the Network.

You access the “Network Admin” link via the My Sites dropdown menu on your WordPress admin bar.

network-dashboard-link

Once in the Network Admin dashboard you can quickly change back to the “Site Admin” Dashboard, by clicking on the dashboard link to any of your sites under My Sites.

subsite-dashboard-link

The Network Admin Dashboard

network-dashboard-overview

Benefits of using WordPress Multisite

Enabling WordPress Multisite lets you run a network of unlimited sites on one installation. It’s ideal for those who want to run multiple sites, multiple blogs or offer blog hosting services to others.

WordPress.com and Edublogs.org are examples of large blog networks that use WordPress Multisite.

Hosting several sites on the same installation using WordPress Multisite, instead of installing new site each time means all the sites run off one install on the same network.

The benefits of this include:

  1. You only need to update one install when new versions of WordPress Multisite, plugins or themes are released
  2. You can manage all the sites in one place; easily managing, controlling and accessing all sites and users on the one install
  3. It’s familiar to many of your users as its admin panel is fairly similar to the standard WordPress admin panel
  4. Each user can have more than one site (or none) and easily navigate to each of their sites from within their dashboard

Upgrading to WordPress 3.5

It’s good practice to upgrade WordPress using FTP than to use the auto-upgrade button inside your dashboard.

  1. Log in to your install using an FTP program like Filezilla and navigate to the root of your website.
  2. Backup your entire WordPress install — you should be doing this regularly anyway! (download all files except wp-content and store as backup)
  3. Log into your WordPress install and de-activate all plugins
  4. Download the latest version of WordPress
  5. Unzip WordPress download file
  6. Upload new versions of the wp-admin and wp-includes directories by FTP
  7. Upload new versions of root files except wp-config.php by FTP
  8. Remove the theme folders from wp-content and then upload wp-content by FTP.
  9. For WordPress multisite – log into your dashboard, go to Upgrade >  Update Network in the Network Admin dashboard and click Update Network.
  10. Go through and bug test standard WordPress functionality to check everything is working properly.
  11. Re-activate plugins, one by one, and check standard WordPress functionality as you activate each plugin to ensure everything is working properly

WARNING:

  • If you’re using BuddyPress, you should update both WordPress and BuddyPress at the same time.
  • You’ll experience a few funky jQuery issues if you don’t. They MUST be updated together.
  • Make sure you deactivate BuddyrPress before upgrading your WordPress

Please refer to the following information if you are updating a pre-WordPress 3.1 install.

  1. Important WP 3.0 Upgrade Instructions: PLEASE READ BEFORE UPDATING!
  2. How to Upgrade WPMU 2.9.2 to WordPress 3.0 in 5 Easy Steps
  3. Important: WordPress 3.1 Upgrade Information