multi domain vs domain mapping

In lamest term, what is the difference between multi-domain and domain mapping? I have both plugins but they seem so similar to me.

For example:
1. I own several domain names (such as site1.com, site2.com and site3.com).

2. With the multi-domain plugin, I am able to setup a wordpress mu that handles each domain separately (site1.com, site2.com and site3.com)

3. On the flip-side, with the domain mapping plugin, I able to achieve the same effect (site1.com/site1/, site1.com/site2/ and site1.com/site3/), by cleaning up clean the URL (site1.com, site2.com and site3.com) to reflect the same thing as #2. The only difference is that site2 and site3 is under site1.com.

4. As you can see this can be very confusing if both multi-domain and domain mapping can achieve the same outcome.

5. When do you use site1.com and site2.com vs site1.com/site2 and then use domain mapping to clean up the URL to site1.com and site2.com?

6. Overall, what is the best practice and when do use what method in order to achieve the best outcome.

7. Better yet can we break down both multi-domain and domain mapping and when to use them in what situation. I need to understand these methods.

  • Michelle Shull

    Hey there, Reinard! Welcome to WPMU DEV!

    First, I agree, the two plugins look pretty similar from the getgo, but they actually do different things.

    With Multi-Domains, you can allow new users to select from a number of domain names that you control, so if you own blah.com, blue.com, and bling.com, you can offer your new members a choice of domains - blog.blah.com, blog.blue.com, or blog.bling.com, for example.

    *Important note: Multi Domains does not work well with subdirectory multisites, as per the usage guide. So if you've set up your multisite to use subfolders, like so: yoursite.com/blog, vs. blog.yoursite.com, Multi Domains is not a good choice for you.

    Domain Mapping, on the other hand, will map a domain that you or your user control to your pre-existing URLs. So if a user owns hubbahubba.com, but gets a blog on your site called site36.yoursite.com, you can map hubbahubba to site.36.yoursite.

    Ultimately, the two plugins can work side-by-side with no problems, since they're ultimately handling different things. You may not need both, depending on your domain naming needs, but they're definitely different tools.

    Thanks for your question, Reinard! Hope this makes it a little more clear!

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