Best dedicated server setup for WPMU with domain mapping

Yesterday I signed up with WPMUdev and am incredibly excited to use the Multi-site plugins...I was hoping you could look at my situation and let me know if there is a better way to setup the dedicated server I am thinking about getting or if there should be no problems. Here is my situation.

I currently run a company called http://www.shirtandsimple.com - this site is broken down into different locations (or instances of the site) so that when a user visits the website, they pick which location they want to order from and then they are taken to a fully customized website for that location (so like http://www.shirtandsimple.com/hawkeys or http://www.shirtandsimple.com/madison or http://www.shirtandsimple.com/olympia). We have recently made the decision to move this network of sites over to WP multi-site so each location can be better customized, organized, and utilized. I have decided to move from my shared hosting plan to a dedicated server because of this. I have purchased a membership at https://premium.wpmudev.org and plan to utilize many of you plugins and features. One of these is a domain mapping feature that claims to allow me to offer different domains to users or let them use their own domain (https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/multi-domains and https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/domain-mapping). Therefore, instead of being http://www.shirtandsimple.com/olympia - this location could be http://www.bolandersigncompany.com and therefore be completely branded from their parent company.

The other thing I'd like to do is merge some of the sites I have floating around the internet (some on various shared hosts and one on a VPS host) to my new dedicated server. This will save me some money and hopefully improve the speed of my sites.

However - I talked to my current host today and he said there might be problems with the domain mapping for my shirtandsimple.com multi-site if I have any other sites on the server. They said if I only have the shirtandsimple.com site on the server that any other sites/domains pointing to the server will be easier to assign to one of the shirt and simple multi-site locations. He says that if there are other sites on my server, it will be complicated to achieve this domain mapping I'd like to have.

I'd really like to be able to offer all my sites on the one server but the shirtandsimple.com network is most important and I was really hoping to have the domain mapping work. Will domain mapping work if there is more than one root site on the dedicated server? I have limited server configuration knowledge so I can't do a lot of advanced setup (and would prefer not to have to pay every time I add a new location). Is there a way I can do this?

Thanks so much for your help!

  • wpcdn

    I talked to my current host today and he said there might be problems with the domain mapping for my shirtandsimple.com multi-site if I have any other sites on the server. They said if I only have the shirtandsimple.com site on the server that any other sites/domains pointing to the server will be easier to assign to one of the shirt and simple multi-site locations. He says that if there are other sites on my server, it will be complicated to achieve this domain mapping I'd like to have.

    Hmm, I can't imagine why they would say that. With a dedicated server you can have multiple domains, WP networks, etc., etc. Of course you'll have to use some kind of mechanism for managing sites, domains, etc. We use cPanel but there are numerous other options.

    As an example, a typical server of ours can host dozens of domains. One of those domains is a WordPress multisite installation utilizing domain mapping. There are no issues with the domain management.

    Keep in mind that you may need dedicated IP addresses for some sites including your WP multisite setup.

    Also, I'm not sure how much experience you have managing a dedicated server. There is a lot to it, even with something like cPanel in place. There are many, many nuances involving security and various other configurations. If you're not experienced with that, I'd suggest considering a managed or semi-managed dedicated server as you learn more about what's involved. (If you're already well-versed in this, please forgive me for mentioning it. I'm just offering it as friendly advice, as I've seen other people dive into a dedicated without realizing what they're in for.)

    Best of luck!

    Mark

  • drmike

    Not sure what your host is looking at but you can actually do it all on a single IP address. You're just going to have to provide DNS as well on the box and that'll slow things down and make it more manual for you. That's why we suggest folks assign the wpmu install to a dedicated IP address. That way your endusers/ clients/ slaves/ etc. just assign the 'a' record to the ip address and things work.

    Not familiar with your host. May want to pin them down as to what they're looking at as to be the problem.

  • shirtandsimple

    thanks so much for your advice guys - i am definitely looking at getting managed hosting because my experience level with server configurations needs a lot of work :slight_smile:

    It's awesome to know that what I want to do is possible and with your feedback I feel much more confident moving forward with the dedicated server! Quite the increase in cost but my thoughts are it will be worth it!

  • JoseffB

    You don't actually need a dedicated server either there are some great grid solutions like godaddy (that I use) which gives you basically full range. You install on a static IP in root and you can have as many WP MU sites as you need (after altering DNS in their dns manager). Support is , um, ok -- not over top helpful but manageable. Also you can have non-WP sites in subroot directories. WP is automatically installed if you use their apps page . Honestly they have their biz tight on the upsale so be careful otherwise you'll buy too much. (no I'm not affiliated with godaddy except I use their product).

    So yes, this project is totally doable. I'd be cautious on "migration" talk because what you think is migration and what they think of as migration can be two toatlly different things. I'd have them layout exactly what they will and will not do in the migration, as well as tell you what they are having issues with in their description above.

  • keith.fawcett

    Not sure if you mind getting your hands a little dirty. You could always go with a virtual private server (VPS) install web hosting software like Virtualmin($130 first year then $40 renewal, I currently use this and it's great! Plus the support is fantastic.) or cPanel ($200 per year), both of which should do most of the configuration work of the server setup for you.

    VPSs are relatively cheap and will save you a boat load of money in the future. Two really good ones are Slicehost and Linode (this is my current host).

    Linode is also running a contest starting 9am EST Friday for the first 1000 new customers they are giving them $100 credit to use how they like. That could equal 5 months of free hosting if you go with the Linode 512 plan. Which is more than enough to run 20+ sites depending on how big they are.

    [What I believe to be an affiliate code removed from the Linode link ~ drmike]

  • shirtandsimple

    Thanks for the great feedback! I've already got one of my sites on a VPS - I run very file intensive sites and plan on expanding my business to run a WPMU network with lots and lots of users and pages. I don't mind paying for the dedicated server...

    keith.fawcett - when you said that "VPSs are relatively cheap and will save you a boat load of money in the future." do you just mean on the monthly cost? I'm trying to figure out if there are any hidden fees involved with the dedicated server.

    I'm being very careful to make sure they'll actually 'manage' my server and help with all the migration and setup because I'm not very knowledgeable on the configuration and programming :slight_smile: - getting my 'hands dirty' is knowing enough to setup these WP sites so I don't have to pay my programmers every time I want something done...but my bread and butter isn't the coding. I'm more skilled in the graphics, media, and business marketing end :slight_smile:

  • keith.fawcett

    Yeah I was talking about the monthly cost. Depending on the host you go with there is always the chance of hidden costs -- that's where doing due diligence comes in. :slight_smile:

    If you can find someone to migrate everything for you great. Personally, I'm not sure if I would leave that up to a hosting company though. If you're running very CPU intensive applications then you might be better off going with a dedicated server. But for a more redundant system you could go the route of using multiple VPSs and load balancing them to spread the load of users across multiple boxes and reduce the impact of any one server going down. Although this would require "getting your hands dirty" or hiring someone who knows how to configure those things.

  • Mason

    Hiya guys,

    @keith.fawcett apologies as we don't have a great spot with the forums rules. It's one of the things that has come up during the recent round of suggestions for forum improvements. This will be changed in the next revision of the site.

    Drmike is correct that we only allow for direct links. Use of link shorteners, affiliate links, etc are not allowed and will be removed/replaced at the discretion of the forum moderators. No offense intended :slight_smile:

    Thanks all!

  • keith.fawcett

    @Dr. Mike
    One - Have you ever read the WordPress forum rules? Obviously you haven't.
    Two - What the hell is a WordPress forum -- other than the organization called WordPress, who happens to have a forum. Did you mean to say other forums? Becuase there are many websites that have forums. It goes both way some forums allow you to post affiliate links, some forums do not. Generally there is this wonderful thing called the forum rules that outlines what is and is not allowed or at least a sticky note outlining the same.
    Three - Where do you get off removing my referral code? If someone is so inclined to take the time to copy my referral code and go to Linode and sign up what's the harm in that? You're just being a forum Nazi, especially when I'm a paying customer. Probably not for much longer after the shenanigans pulled here.

    @James

    So why did he remove my referral code? It wasn't hidden behind any link on the second post.

  • drmike

    One - Have you ever read the WordPress forum rules? Obviously you haven't.

    Just for reference since you asked, I used to be a moderator on the wordpress.org, mu.wordpress.org and wordpress.com forums. For over two years, I was the only moderator on the wp.com forums. In fact I wrote the rule stickies for two of those forums. Affiliate codes have never been allowed on any of those forums.

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