Introducing WP Hive – The WordPress Multisite Alternative
Recently WPMU.org was given the opportunity to interview John Sessford of WP Hive, a plugin that allows multiple WordPress sites to run on a single installation. If you haven’t heard about the WP Hive project, it may be just the tool you’re looking for in order to manage multiple WordPress sites without all of the overhead.
1. What is WP Hive and how did the project begin?
WP Hive began in 2008 while I was contemplating building a large network of sites that I would administer myself. I needed a configuration that would allow me to have only one installation of WordPress for all of the sites and I figured there must be a way that was simpler and didn’t have the level of administrative overhead that came with WordPress MU. After a little research and some trial and error, I created this plugin and posted in the repository. I was surprised at how much interest it received back then and still does now. I never started that network of sites but many others have done it successfully using this plugin.
2. What are the advantages of WP Hive over WordPress 3.0’s Multisite capabilities?
WP Hive is targeted to a single administrator who manages multiple sites, whereas Multisite seems to be targeted to networks of sites where anonymous users register and set up their own sites. In WP Hive, each site in the Hive is an independent WordPress site, so adding or extracting a site to or from the Hive is easier to do since no import tools are required. WP Hive installs like a plugin and is lightweight and simple to use. It also supports domain, subdomain, and subdirectory sites simultaneously. In comparison, Multisite administrators must pick a mode, and a special domain-mapping plugin is required in some cases.
3. What features are on the road map for WP Hive in the future?
We’ve got a plethora of ideas that have been contributed by users:
– Faster setup of sites including copying existing sites and defining default settings for new sites
– Posting, aggregating, and searching posts on multiple sites
– Better compatibility with caching plugins
– A fully featured API for extending WP Hive’s capabilities
– And more…
4. Is WP Hive compatible with popular caching plugins such as W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache?
Yes. I know of some sites which have successfully implemented a caching plugin. Unfortunately, because of the similarities with how WP Hive and these other plugins hook in, a little tweaking and manual code is sometimes necessary. Some instructions on how to do this are available in the support forums, and I do offer full email support to any Pro Subscribers.
5. Will WP Hive work with plugins written to extend WordPress Multisite capabilities?
No. The multiple site functionality in WP Hive works differently than the way WP Multisite does. I am, however, working on an API to allow developers to write plugins that extend WP Hive capabilities.
6. How active is the WP Hive community and what kind of support can a user expect?
Currently I’m both the developer and the support technician and I try to get to requests as soon as possible. There are a few community members who are knowledgeable with WP Hive, and I think we could definitely use additional members. There’s an active support forum at wp-hive.com and WP Hive Pro subscribers receive preferred support both on the forums and via email. I also offer custom development and installation services for anyone who requires something special.
7. What advantages does a WP Hive PRO user get over the free version?
Aside from the satisfaction of supporting the project, WP Hive Pro subscribers have access to the most up-to-date add-ons, first-notification of new releases and preferred support via email. Right now, there is one released add-on: “Single Sign On”, which allows visitors / users who are logged into a one site to traverse to other sites in the Hive without needing to sign in again. I’m currently working on other add-ons to include in the collection.
8. What are your plans for the WP Hive project and where do you see it going in the next year?
WP Hive has been my side-project since its inception and I plan to keep working on it as much as possible, creating add-ons and releasing new versions whenever possible. Ideally, I would love to see some new community members or a WordPress oriented company take a vested interest in the project to help it move forward at a faster pace. Anyone interested in helping out with WP Hive should definitely get in touch with me.