Multisite, is it better for a small web design company

Hi, I currently use some shared hosting as a reseller for my design clients. I have a number of different wordpress installations, one for each site & things have gotten slooooow, particularly on sites that use the upfront theme / builder. I have been thinking about either switching all the sites to multisite & using domain mapping. Or... another option is to get a VPS Cloud server thing & move all the sites gradually to that, I'm assured by my host that it will be quicker. So I guess my basic question is, which is faster out these options:
1, Keep the shared hosting & move all the existing domains to multisite.
2, Move to VPS hosting but keep the sites as separate installs.
3, Move to VPS hosting & move all the existing domains to multisite.
I hope that all makes sense!

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hello Barnaby,

    I hope you're well today and thank you for your question!

    If "things got slow" I'd definitely move to a more powerful host in that case. Shared hosting is rarely prepared to host a large number of complex sites and each WP install adds up to resource usage. VPS should be better in that terms. For a business model where you do host sites for your clients, it might be even better to move to some kind of cloud-based environment as it would be scalable.

    By that I mean that in case you'd be close to hitting resource limits, you could easily "re-configure" these limits either for good or just temporarily without any need to move sites again. Still though, a good VPS should be better than shared hosting.

    As for whether to move to Multisite or not. That's a bit more "tricky" questions. Will that lover server's resources' usage? It might limit it though it's difficult to say how much. With Multisite install there's actually only a single instance of WordPress (instead of multiple full installation) so that should result in a bit less memory usage (overall, because average use for that WP instance might be a bit higher than average use for any of your current separate installs) and probably significantly less DB queriess (again, in general).

    There's certainly an advantage of all the sites being managed from a "central place" - for you as a super-admin. I mean: easier updates and easier "tech" management of an entire setup. In my opinion then moving to VPS would be definitely worth it but whether to move to Multisite or not it would be more the matter of "features/convenience" rather than performance (as there should be some "boost" but I wouldn't expect "miracles" and it's not guaranteed until you try it and test).

    If you have any additional questions, let me know please.

    Best regards,
    Adam

  • Barnaby

    Thanks for your reply Adam.
    I will look into a cloud based VPS then.
    But just one final question, am I right in thinking that I could run one installation of multisite wordpress on a VPS, then using domain mapping just transfer the domains from my existing hosting to the new VPS? & each domains' website, from a client/user point of view would appear the same as it currently is?

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hi Barnaby,

    am I right in thinking that I could run one installation of multisite wordpress on a VPS, then using domain mapping just transfer the domains from my existing hosting to the new VPS? & each domains' website, from a client/user point of view would appear the same as it currently is?

    Yes, that'd be pretty much the same. The main difference from user point of view would be that they won't be able to install their own themes and plugins but instead only choose from those that you made available to them. Whether it's an advantage or disadvantage though - that mostly depends on how your customers use their sites. If they don't install themes/plugins anyway, that'd be fine.

    One other aspect to consider would also be the set of plugins used across these separate sites currently. It's not any kind of requirement for them to be the same (or nearly the same) for each site but it's certainly more beneficial to move to Multisite if most of the (sub)sites use similar set of plugins, at least in some part. Like I said though, that's not a "crucial requirement"

    Best regards,
    Adam

  • Barnaby

    That sounds good, I like this bit:

    One other aspect to consider would also be the set of plugins used across these separate sites currently. It's not any kind of requirement for them to be the same (or nearly the same) for each site but it's certainly more beneficial to move to Multisite if most of the (sub)sites use similar set of plugins, at least in some part.

    Most of the sites I have use defender, hummingbird, smart crawl, snapshot, ultimate branding, snapshot & the upfront theme & I have to say, it's when I install upfront that everything seems to slow down dramatically, especially according to the hummingbird scan. That's why I was thinking about multisite to see if having one install of each of these plugins would make any difference, especially if I was to move to a VPS. Am I correct in viewing it that way?

  • Predrag Dubajic

    Hi Barnaby,

    What kind of sites are you creating for your clients, are those simple sites, for blogging etc. or is each site is used for different niche?

    If you have simple blogging sites then multisite might be a good approach here, your list of plugins is somewhat basic setup, they take care of security, speed, SEO, backups and it's something useful having on each site.
    If there are not many other plugins this should use less resources and show improvement in speed.

    If your site have all different usage, for example one is for e-commerce, one for some LMS, then one for social connections, etc. then that means that you will require installing more "heavy" plugins in a single installation and that might cause same load as having multiple installation where each one will do it's own thing.

    Hope this helps

    Best regards,
    Predrag