Network Activate versus Activate by site/subsite

I recently stumbled upon an issue dealing with a Genesis specific plugin. I had network activated the plugin (as I've tried to do with all my plugins that I'm using on a MultiSite network), but it was causing the theme to behave incorrectly.

At the suggestion on Andrea at Genesis support, I Network Deactivated the plugin and then activated it individually on the main site and each subsite. From that point, it worked flawlessly. Andrea said that I should always activate ALL plugins at each site/subsite unless the plugin specifically states to Network Activate it.

I understand what she is telling me, but I'm rarely satisfied with just accepting something at face value. I like to understand the "why" of things because that usually helps me with other things in the future so I don't have to ask so many questions with similar problems. Can anyone suggest a resource to help me understand the "why" of this as well as better understand when I should Network Activate and when I should individually activate a plugin.

Plus, I also note that there is a MU-Plugins directory that is for "must use plugins" to be installed into. From what I understand any plugin that I want to be required to be used on every site/subsite in the network should be FTP'd to that directory and they don't have to be activated. Is my understanding of this correct.

I apologize if this should have been two posts, but I figured that since it was all related to plugins and their proper installation and activation that it would probably be O.K. in a single post. If you wish for me to break this out in to two posts, please let me know.

James Dunn
Athens, GA USA

  • aecnu

    Greetings JD,

    It is my opinion shared by other tech's and developers here at WPMU Dev that if a plugin cannot be network activated it is not truly MultiSite compatible - which logically this seems definitive.

    There are a few things that I personally know cause members great grief with their WordPress installations. They are as follows, Genesis, Thesis, Salutations, and themes from Theme Forest probably all for similar reasons listed in this article:
    http://wpcandy.com/thinks/themeforest-is-the-red-headed-stepchild

    Including but not limited to taken from and quoting Valerie's comment:
    You’re right – a lot of them are great looking. I’ve purchased several for just that reason. But of the 10 of so themes I’ve purchased from ThemesForest over the past year, only 1 is actually in use.

    and from her quote that I have personally seen happening with members using or trying to use the aforementioned,

    The rest of them, once I started working with them, ended up being too limiting in one way or another, had serious coding problems, conflicts with plugins or other, major customization roadblocks and very little to no support from the author.
    Can anyone suggest a resource to help me understand the "why" of this as well as better understand when I should Network Activate and when I should individually activate a plugin.

    Forward -->

    Can anyone suggest a resource to help me understand the "why" of this as well as better understand when I should Network Activate and when I should individually activate a plugin.

    The reason why is because I said so :slight_smile: .... lol

    Seriously the decision to network activate is really dependent upon the purpose of the plugin and your personal preference. Plugins like Multi DB would be obvious why it needs to be network activated or considered to be "must use". On the other hand maybe you only want an email subscribe widget on certain sub sites. Hopefully you can see my point concerning this matter.

    I also note that there is a MU-Plugins directory that is for "must use plugins" to be installed into. From what I understand any plugin that I want to be required to be used on every site/subsite in the network should be FTP'd to that directory and they don't have to be activated. Is my understanding of this correct.

    This is correct - they will be forced on or always activated there is no choice.

    No need to apologize and I think we have this one wrapped up.

    Cheers, Joe

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