Inquiry about multi site options

I have a number of websites and am wondering about choosing Multi-site. My main site is restministries.com and then there are a number of smaller ones. A large one will be our social network platform (moving from Ning.com to buddypress.) I have a VPS at Hostgator.

I have had a company working on my buddypress site and after 40 hours we have now discovered that the theme (X2 from themekraft) has a bug conflict with the BBPress plugin, which messes up my Groups function. This prohibits us from using this theme now. (ThemeKraft has been contacted, it is waaaaay down the list of their priorities to fix). I MUST have groups and forums for my buddypress site.

QUESTION: At this time, I do not want to give members of the social network the ability to create their own blogs, but I am thinking since I will have to do a lot of tweaking with a new buddypress site--or have the company I hired do it--maybe it would be the time to move to a multi-site.

There are many plugins I would like to use that are MS. In time, I may allow people to have their own blogs (they currently do at Ning and will be frustrated they don't have this option when we transition). It would also be easier for my own sanity.

* What are the drawbacks? Benefits?

* Can each domain name have its own theme? (I believe it is a yes, but want to make sure)

* How involved is it? If I was to hire someone who knows what they are doing, about how many hours can I expect them to say this job would take?

* Are there any other questions I should be asking that I may not be aware of?

In my head, when I became aware of multisite I immediately knew this was something that we should do... however, I was halfway into building my BuddyPress site and didn't want to do anything to mess it up. I couldn't take a bigger learning curve at the time. Now, since I will be changing themes for my buddypress site--which is not live yet--and my sites continue to grow, it seems like the logical next step.
Thanks so much!

  • Patrick

    Hi there @Lis

    I hope you are well today!

    Yep, the questions that arise when contemplating a move to multisite can be numerous, and a bit confusing at times. Not to mention the migration from Ning (I presume you have seen our Ning to BuddyPress plugin for that?).

    * What are the drawbacks? Benefits?

    The drawbacks of a multisite install, once you have determined that you need it, are virtually non-existent... as a matter of fact, I can't think of any off the top of my head. :slight_smile:

    The benefits, on the other hand, are just too numerous to list them all here. But for starters...
    - there are dozens if not hundreds of plugins available to help you aggregate and display network content & data pretty much anywhere you want it in your network.
    - once you do enable site creation for your users, you can use our Pro Sites plugin to offer premium upgrade packages.
    - you can set up BuddyPress to display the same community content on every site in your network if you want by adding a single constant to your wp-config.php file.
    - etc...

    * Can each domain name have its own theme? (I believe it is a yes, but want to make sure)

    First, don't confuse sites with domain names; they are different things. Each site in the network can use its own theme, yes.

    And you can enable functionality to allow site admins to have their own domain name for their own site using our Domain Mapping plugin (that you can offer as a part of a Pro Sites premium upgrade package as mentioned above).

    There is also our Multi-Domains plugin which enables you, as the network admin, to offer multiple domain names that your users can create their sites under, in the same network.

    * How involved is it? If I was to hire someone who knows what they are doing, about how many hours can I expect them to say this job would take?

    Very difficult to answer that one. It would depend on many factors such as their skill level, experience with multiste installs, migration from Ning, BuddyPress, etc...

  • Lis

    Thank you, Patrick! Had major foot surgery last week, so sorry for delay. I am moving forward with multisite but need a few more specifics. I have 2 areas of business.

    1) everything related to my ministry restministries.com - this includes my personal site, ministry site, social network for ministry, etc. FOR NOW people will not have personal blogs but may in the future.

    2) everything invisible illness awareness week. FOR NOW people will not have personal blogs but may in the future. people from #iiwk would NOT want a blog that said restmin.whateverhere. Not all are Christians. ideally the sites are rather separate, we just are the founders/sponsors behind the week.

    With this in mind, would it be best to have 2 multi sites?

    Thanks!

  • PC

    Hey there Lis,

    Thanks for posting back and sorry for the delay as Patrick had some personal issues come up.

    I hope you are recovering fast from the surgery and it went well.

    With this in mind, would it be best to have 2 multi sites?

    If you want to keep it on one Multisite, you can use Multi Domain plugin : https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/multi-domains/

    However if you are using Subdirectory multisite, then Multi Domains will not work.

    So if you are using Subdomains, then Multi domain can be used to offer multiple subsite addresses.

    eg.

    site1.com
    site2.com (added to Multi domain)

    so a user can signup for

    user1.site1.com

    or user1.site2.com

    I hope that helps. Please feel free to ask if you have more questions on the same.

    Cheers, PC