Multiple questions: hosting filesystem structure & domain mapping

Testing my free trial: (Sorry is isn't 'good support ticket form' but I need some direction just to get me on the playing field :slight_smile:

My name is Mark. I recently started a Web Development company, DMT ENTERPRIZE. Consider me a knowledgeable novice at web development actively improving my game. I am advanced as a computer geek with 35 years of experience with computers, OSes, programming, etc.

I created my first sites with Joomla and I am now focusing on WP exclusively. I am actively engaged in learning all aspects of site development, especially e-commerce sites at the moment.

For this ticket, I'm seeking advice and resouces to guide me in organizing sites on my newly-acquired web host (Siteground Shared GoGeek) with my 2 existing Joomla customer sites and my 1, in development WP e-commerce site. In the immediate future, I want to create a couple of multisite networks and/or maybe even a multi-network installation of WP - some for e-commerce and some not.

My main concern has to do with hosting directory heirarchy and domain mapping - details which should best be decided on now at the onset because they will be difficult/expensive to change later as my sites/networks grow.

I have these sites:

1. adventurefloors.com: a basic customer site using Joomla. It is installed in ~/public_html/sites/af. It is complete; in maintenance mode. I may redesign it using WP at some point in the future.

2. macnampa.org: a private company intranet site using Joomla. It is installed in ~/public_html/sites/mno. This is in continuing long-term development - when my client wants new features and as time allows.

3 starrycollection.com: a WP e-commerce site in early development. It is installed in ~/public_html/sites/mstc. I started with WooCommerce, but I'm considering restarting w/ Multisite & MarketPress since I have other e-commerce sites in my development queue.

NOTE: I don't have a site at ~/public_html/ and I don't need one... it's domain is the default subdomain give by Siteground when I created the hosting account.

At this point, I need:

1. How may I best lay out my site host to support existing sites and make future multi-site networks easy and viable to create and access. I expect my networks to be domain mapped subdir networks, but I can also use subdomains... Honestly I'm not even sure how to ask the question. Maybe this: is the process of domain-mapping mostly .htaccess tricks which must work for all sites/networks on the host?... How do domain mapping plugins fit in with .htaccess and WP itself to make sure different domain requests find the right site, multisite network, or page? Without experience, and with lots of options, I'm pretty confused about whole thing.

2. Related to SSL certificates/receiving payments... is it possible (and a good idea) to create a single payment processing site which would be connected across a network of MarketPress sites? Although it would have a different domain than the sites it supports (which is acceptible), it could use a single SSL certificate and receive secure payments from all connected sites.

3. And finally, show me how to best leverage your resouces to justify a continued membership and long term relationship.

Please offer me any advice, considerations and reference resources you can.

  • James Morris

    Hello DMTez Webmaster,

    I hope you are well today. Thank you for your questions.

    RE: How may I best lay out my site host to support existing sites...

    The current model you are using of pointing your domains to sub-directories under public_html and using the public_html as a empty space for the default sub-domain is really the best model. This way you're avoiding the possibilities of .htaccess problems. An important note is that you should make sure you configure your domains for multisites that will use Domain Mapping so that you point the domain to the folder and not install WP Multi-site in a sub-directory of that domain's folder.

    For example:
    http://net-admin-domain.tld/ works well with Domain Mapping.
    http://net-admin-domain.tld/network-admin/ does not work well.

    This way, all your sub-sites will be a sub-directory off the root of the Network Admin domain and will map properly.

    RE: 2. Related to SSL certificates/receiving payments...

    Possible, yes. You could use a generic domain that you point to for all your sales. However, the question is whether you want to put that much work in. You have to factor in the development and integration time needed to make it all work together. Your time is worth money. The cost to benefit ratio doesn't really come out in the favor of running a single site for sales unless your intention is to run a large number of site. You can get SSL certificates for $50 USD or less these days. There's also https://letsencrypt.org/ which enables you to get a free SSL cetificate.

    So, is it possible? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Not really. Not unless you have a large number of sites or a large number of products that you want to share across all sites.

    RE: 3. And finally, show me how to best leverage your resouces to justify a continued membership and long term relationship.

    In your situation, I think you will find our plugins will be indispensable for what you are trying to do. We have a very wide range of premium plugins that streamline the development process.

    For example: Domain Mapping is a fantastic tool for running numerous websites as a single multisite install but applying different domains to them. I find this makes updates, security, and streamlining of processes so much easier. Again, time is money. You can save a great deal of time with that plugin alone.

    That doesn't factor in all the other fantastic plugins we offer that improve performance (Smush Pro, Hummingbird), increase security (Defender), streamline new site development (New Blog Templates, Cloner), ensure failsafes (Snapshot with Managed Backups), enhance social integration (Floating Social, Ultimate Facebook) and help you monetize your sites (MarketPress).

    And those are just a few of the plugins we offer here! :slight_smile:

    While you are an experienced developer, we all need help sometimes. Our membership comes with 24/7/365 support via the forums and live chat. We can even log into your site and fix things for you when needed. If you do some searching around for ratings of WPMU DEV Support, you will see we are consistently rated as one of the best in our field.

    I hope this clarifies a little more about what we do here at WPMU DEV. Let us know if you have any further questions. We'll be happy to help! :slight_smile:

    Best regards,

    James Morris

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