Is Multisite the answer to shipping and payment issues?

I have been reading about this all day trying to decide what to do. I have multiple marketpress related problems that I'm thinking may be solved by using multisite.

First of all I don't understand the difference between multisite and wordpress MU. From what I understand multisite is something that's built into the core of wordpress and wordpress MU is a plug in from WPMU. Or am I wrong. If so which one should I use if any?

Here are my problems (site= http://www.catrinasgarden.com)
First - your new shipping modules are awesome; however is still have this basic problem. Different growers and artists with vastly different products and shipping needs will be selling their stuff on my site. If I go to multisite am I correct that they would be able to have their own settings for shipping on a per site basis?

I have not figured out "configured" shipping yet. If I check priority and first class in the options would it just be up to the customer to choose the correct shipping? Can I make it so Priority is required for certain purchases - like plants? This is what I started off with working on today and I think this will be a separate set of questions, but I wasn't able to get the configured option working yet.

Is there any way to have different settings on a per product basis? I'm thinking the only way is to give those really "unusual products" that have different shipping needs their own store.

For example: Assuming that I have multisite and one of my customers has their own store. Say they sell lip balm, cards and plants. Lip balm and cards could be mailed together, but plants will be mailed in spring on a different date. Should the plants have their own store? In other words this person would have 2 stores?

Second - I'd like to use chained payments. Is that available on a regular wordpress install or do I need multisite for that. I read that chained payments were not available with the global shopping cart. Would this mean that a customer would have to check out separately from each store on my site?

Would each store be able to use different themes?

If I used a multisite install with stores that have different domains vs. stores that have different paths would one choice be better than the other for solving the above problems? Which one should I choose? I'm leaning towards a "path" style install.

It is not clear to me if a person needs to purchase different domain names for the different stores?

The large majority of my potential users are not at all computer savvy. This means that I will probably have to do almost everything for them. This is why I have not used multisite before. Right now each person just has a static wordpress page and product pages and I pay them the old fashioned way with a check. This will of course become problematic as we grow.

One more thing about chained payments, I will go to paypal and read more about that before acting, but do you know if pay pal charges you twice; once when the customer pays you and once when you pay the store owner? Or is it one charge?

Maybe I'm missing the boat entirely and there is a better way to solve these problems. I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have.
Thanks,
Catrina

  • aecnu

    Greetings Catrina,

    <strike>First of all I don't understand the difference between multisite and wordpress MU. From what I understand multisite is something that's built into the core of wordpress and wordpress MU is a plug in from WPMU. Or am I wrong. If so which one should I use if any?</strike>

    WPMU stands for WordPress MultiSite and it was previously named WordPress MultiUser - they are one in the same.

    First - your new shipping modules are awesome; however is still have this basic problem. Different growers and artists with vastly different products and shipping needs will be selling their stuff on my site. If I go to multisite am I correct that they would be able to have their own settings for shipping on a per site basis?

    That is correct, but Market Press should be set up on a site per site basis and not networked activated to insure there individual settings will apply. Network activated in many cases means settings will apply to all sites within the network of sites.

    I have not figured out "configured" shipping yet. If I check priority and first class in the options would it just be up to the customer to choose the correct shipping?

    That is correct.

    Can I make it so Priority is required for certain purchases - like plants?

    Yes but as you will find below you should make separate stores.

    For example: Assuming that I have multisite and one of my customers has their own store. Say they sell lip balm, cards and plants. Lip balm and cards could be mailed together, but plants will be mailed in spring on a different date. Should the plants have their own store? In other words this person would have 2 stores?

    Yes they should to force shipping option as mentioned above.

    Second - I'd like to use chained payments. Is that available on a regular wordpress install or do I need multisite for that. I read that chained payments were not available with the global shopping cart. Would this mean that a customer would have to check out separately from each store on my site?

    The chained payments has a limit of ten different stores that is imposed by PayPal.

    Would each store be able to use different themes?

    Yes the themes that you allow them to choose from.

    If I used a multisite install with stores that have different domains vs. stores that have different paths would one choice be better than the other for solving the above problems? Which one should I choose? I'm leaning towards a "path" style install.

    Personally I prefer the sub domain install and the Domain Mapping plugin for mapping domain names for those that want there own domains used.

    It is not clear to me if a person needs to purchase different domain names for the different stores?

    That would be an option. Meanwhile they would get a sub domain of the MultiSites main domain to use temporarily or permanently as they desire.

    One more thing about chained payments, I will go to paypal and read more about that before acting, but do you know if pay pal charges you twice; once when the customer pays you and once when you pay the store owner? Or is it one charge?

    Oh no, PayPal will pay you both separately and you will both pay the charges relative to the amount you receive but not X2 except for possibly the 32 cent transaction fee.

    Maybe I'm missing the boat entirely and there is a better way to solve these problems. I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have.

    I think Catrina your on the right path and a suggestion would be to not add a bunch of plugins and junk that you do not need further complicating integrations and making a mess.

    One of the biggest mistakes many people make with MultiSites and regular WordPress is going willy nilly on the plugins overwhelming themselves and their install and have trouble due to this very practice.

    Thank you for being a WPMU Dev member!

    Cheers, Joe :slight_smile:

  • Catrina

    Hi aecnu,
    Thank you for your quick and informative answers.

    So then am I correct about where to "get" multisite? I go to wordpress.org and follow the steps in the codex for set up a network? Or can it still be obtained here at WPMU?

    Okay so in reference to the shipping problems: I only have a few "friends" since I am still in the development stage, but many more want to get on board once I figure out how to do it. Currently those friends have a static page and a few products. So should I completely delete them (products, pages and all links to those pages) first before I begin to set up my multisite store? I know, back up my whole site too in case I have problems and need to restore and I deactivate all plugins also before starting.

    What about their pictures (that are on the "friends" pages) should I delete those too and re-upload them once they have their own store? Anything else you can think of that I have to do before starting so things don't get messed up.

    Next how should I handle myself (my own personal products?). We have already established that I should have separate "stores" for products that require different shipping settings. Should I keep one store, for example "Catrina's Plants" as a part of my main website (this would be easier if I have to reenter all products since this store already has tons of products) and then have subdomain stores for my other products? Or should they all be subdomains for some reason and the main website is strictly informational and administrative?

    Next, chained payments; I did a lot of digging on the Paypal website this morning (could you find a more confusing website anywhere?) This is a critical piece of information; using chained payments is not going to work for me if there is truly a limit of 10 stores. I searched and searched and I can't find anything about a 10 store limit (I have not checked their help desk yet, but that will be next I only searched the faq and forums). I'm wondering if you could be thinking of parallel payments which it seems would have a limit of 10 stores at a time.

    For others reading this post both chained and parallel payment options (along with a lot of other cool advanced stuff like delayed payments and imbedded paypal boxes) are all lumped under "adaptive payments" API on the paypal website. Changing to multisite looks like it is going to be a large undertaking so I just want to make sure that it will be a solution that will be what we need before we try to do it. For future readers here's a link to a "how to start" page for adaptive payments https://www.x.com/developers/paypal/products/adaptive-payments and here's a link to the adaptive payment api page https://www.x.com/developers/paypal/documentation-tools/quick-start-guides/adaptive-payments-api

    Okay you knew this was coming; WHY sub domains over path style domains? In reading over the wordpress codex the path style method seemed easier, but is that what your; plug in does; make sub domain mapping easy? I understand that with using the paths that you have to be careful that "stores" don't have the same path as a previously used static page. Wouldn't this problem be solved if I deleted those pages first? Is there another "pro" for using subdomains that I have not figured out yet? If I use subdomains should I download and install the domain mapping plug in first? Is there a step by step guide or would my best reference be the setting up a network page of the wordpress codex?

    Lastly, point taken on using too many plugins; that's exactly why I'm checking this out first, I often make things more difficult than they need to be. So far I have not had any major problems with things not working together, but I could see how that could happen. Anything in particular that you can see that may cause a problem? Here's what I use: an anti-spam plug in for comments, marketpress of course, a feedburner, a social media plug in, Hierarchical Pages, a custom contact form, Infinite SEO and a photo gallery.

    That brings me to one more problem with splitting the stores. I wanted other growers to be able to sell their photos; do you think they will have to have their own photo album rather than just using the one?

    Sorry this is so long, but it's all related.
    Catrina

  • Catrina

    Hi Gang,
    Well, this is truly a test to see if a novice can get through this process.
    I successfully upgraded to multisite so you can ignore the first question in my last post. There is a lot of documentation about this in the forums, the WP codex and WPMU tutorials and I think I read at least most of it. Let’s ignore the shipping questions and payment gateway questions for now and focus on getting the network up and running. I still have a few questions.
    After a lot of reading I decided to go with subdomains as suggested by aecnu above. Most of my blogs will have users that have zero computer knowledge so I will essentially be doing it for them and at this point will only be using subdomains, no outside domain names. I will only be giving “blogs” to people not having them set up their own. So my first question is; do these subdomains still need to be mapped?
    Can websites that are not Wordpress sites be mapped to my network in the future or do I have to convert them to Wordpress sites?
    Since writing the above portion of this message I tried to make one test site and it didn’t work so I went ahead and got your domain mapping plugin and followed the installation instructions. It still didn’t work. I get a message from the browser saying that the site cannot be found. It won’t show the dashboard of the new site either, but I can see the superadmin dashboard and the new site is listed there. While I am in the process of figuring this out I have restored functionality to my main website with the plugins that it was previously using.
    Next question: All of my plugins are in the plugins folder of wp-content. All of the ones I want seem to still work on my site, but I noticed that some like the SEO plug in are only available in the network admin panel for network wide activation. One of the tutorials that I read said you should have a mu-plugins folder, so I made that on my server, but when I installed the domain mapping plugin it went into the regular plug in folder. Does this matter? Should I delete the plugins and somehow make them go into mu-plugins folder? If I have plugins that I like that are not mu tested can I still use them (leave them in the plugin folder) and only use them on my main site?
    Much of the information that will eventually be on separate sites now lives on static pages of my main site. Since I'm using subdomain and not path I'm thinking this will be okay and I can delete them once I get the new sites working. Is that correct or do I need to get rid of those first?
    There is one other thing that I can think of that may have caused the problem, but I can’t figure out why. When I got the plugin uploaded I activated it first before moving the sunrise.php file and adding the extra line of code to the wp-config.php file. After I noticed that you were supposed to wait to activate it I deactivated and reactivated it again. Could this be the problem?
    I'm going to play with a test blog a little more now.
    Do I need a dedicated IP address for this? Is that the problem? I read some posts that say it is suggested, but not necessary. If I don’t have to spend the cash on it I’d rather not since I’m not even really sure this is what I need.
    I think I read something also about domain mapping not working with Ajax on the page. Doesn't Marketpress us Ajax. There was one small thing about this problem may have been solved, can you verify that it has been solved. If not then I guess I can't use it anyway.
    Can you think of anything else that I may have done wrong or do you need to see any of my code? Thanks for any suggestions you may have for me.
    Catrina

  • aecnu

    Greetings Catrina,

    Sorry for the delay in a reply, it appears as though your ticket got buried in the support system somehow and I did not see it.

    So my first question is; do these subdomains still need to be mapped?

    No, you only need to map TLD's (Top Level Domains) for example http://www.whatever.com --> sub.domain.com.

    Can websites that are not Wordpress sites be mapped to my network in the future or do I have to convert them to Wordpress sites?

    You can only map Word Press sites.

    Does this matter? Should I delete the plugins and somehow make them go into mu-plugins folder?

    No it does not matter in this case, it is OK either way for the domain mapping plugin though I personally prefer it in the mu-plugins folder. However, it is common knowledge that developers are wanting to move away from the mu-plugins folder.

    If I have plugins that I like that are not mu tested can I still use them (leave them in the plugin folder) and only use them on my main site?

    The best possible answer for this would be to follow the individual instructions of the relevant plugin.

    Since I'm using subdomain and not path I'm thinking this will be okay and I can delete them once I get the new sites working. Is that correct or do I need to get rid of those first?

    No you do not need to get rid of the html's first and they should be in a different directory/folder anyway having no effect on the WordPress MultiSite itself.

    When I got the plugin uploaded I activated it first before moving the sunrise.php file and adding the extra line of code to the wp-config.php file. After I noticed that you were supposed to wait to activate it I deactivated and reactivated it again. Could this be the problem?

    It certainly would have been a problem but i do not think it should be now. TIP: One should read completely through a plugins instructions before installation to avoid problems and to not miss any steps. It is possible with some plugins that this would have been detrimental to your MultiSite install, but i do not think so in this case.

    Do I need a dedicated IP address for this? Is that the problem?

    This depends alot on the host and how many domains are on the non dedicated IP and if there are any other MultiSites on the non dedicated IP. If using Domain Mapping it is a lot better to use a Dedicated IP, almost a must have.

    Can you think of anything else that I may have done wrong or do you need to see any of my code?

    You have covered so much in your last post I do not know exactly what the current issue is but possibly having trouble with Domain Mapping?

    Thanks for any suggestions you may have for me.

    It is my opinion to not read into this stuff so much as it can be confusing especially if it is relatively older information due to the changes in both WordPress and plugins.

    Dive in and go a step at a time with plugins including testing them one at a time to see if you have any issues after installation of a certain plugin and resolving issues in the same manner - one at a time.

    Please advise on where we are at with your install and issues.

    Cheers, Joe :slight_smile:

  • Catrina

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for checking, I have made progress. I successfully set up my multisite and I have a few subdomains set up (xxx.catrinasgarden.com) and those are working fine.

    One point I'd like to make for people reading this in the future is that you do not want to set up subdomains inside your hosts control panel first. I ran into problems with this. Instead read the "before you start" section carefully and use the wild card method.

    This is a "side job" for me so I'm not always moving at the speed of light. I do have some prospective clients who already have their own website (they have a domain name). I don't know why but I didn't see your last post so now I see that these top level domains is where I will need to use the mapping plug in.
    I see that I will have to convince them of the beauty of Wordpress.

    The other thing I need to work on is chained payments with PayPal. At one point you told me that there was a limit of 10 on the number of site owners that you can use this with this. When I get to this I'll go to PayPal help but I'm wondering if you could be thinking of parallel payments which does have a 10 stores at a time limit.?? This is a critical point to me as I eventually want to have way more than 10 stores and I need an easy way to collect my 10%.

    One new problem that popped up is it seems that there is no longer an option for manual payment in my new stores although it still exists in my main store. Any ideas why that may be happening?

    Having the ability to set shipping options differently for each store is going to be a big plus. I still have to figure out the USPS postage calculator too. I signed up, but have not tried to implement it yet. I'll save that for another ticket if I run into a wall.

    I'm working on accounting and taxes now but domain mapping is next. Has any work been done on integrating Marketpress with accounting programs? Is there a way that I can enter orders that were not made through the shopping cart into the back end so that all orders will be in the same place?

    Thanks,
    Catrina

  • aecnu

    Greetings Catrina,

    You are 100% correct about the chained payments and the parallel payments and that parallel payments has the ten transaction limit in a single transaction. I am sorry for the confusion which was in my head for some reason but in fact it was incorrect.

    Even in the incorrect hypothetical 10 transaction limit that I had given, it is my understanding that it is not relative to how many stores that there are, just how many nested transactions in a single transaction.

    Setting up chained payments with PayPal can be a challenge.

    One new problem that popped up is it seems that there is no longer an option for manual payment in my new stores although it still exists in my main store. Any ideas why that may be happening?

    yes the manual option is available for any and all stores but needs to be made available via the network admin dashboard --> Plugins --> Market Press --> Network Activation

    Then go to Settings --> Market Press --> and permission the gateways as you see fit.

    When logged in as network admin on the main site you have almost all options at your finger tips.

    Has any work been done on integrating Marketpress with accounting programs?

    Not that I am aware of, but it does offer csv export so it probably can be done.

    Is there a way that I can enter orders that were not made through the shopping cart into the back end so that all orders will be in the same place?

    Not that I can see, but there is always direct database configuration. However, if allowing manual payments or direct order input through the backend, how do you intend to get your cut of the sales?

    Cheers, Joe

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