Quick (dumb) multisite starter questions

I'm about to embark on my first multisite project, and no doubt I'll be coming here a LOT for advice! I know I should ask major, detailed questions one at a time here, but I had a few quick ones to start with -- so I hope it's ok to group them all together here:

1). What's the best way to develop a test site for a multisite installation? I've been using DesktopServer for single-site installs, and it's been great. But apparently it doesn't support multisite development. I heard MAMP, does -- so I might switch to that. However, I may just use a live subdomain too, as I don't predict THAT many code changes. (Unless someone here thinks that's a really bad idea...)
So if I test on a live subdomain, and my test site is located at http://newsitename.myowndomain.com (I don’t have access to the ACTUAL “newsitename” domain yet), and I choose "sub-domains" for new sites in the multisite network, will they look like http://subsitename.newsitename.myowndomain.com? And when I ultimately point the newsitename.com domain to the new site, will it basically carry the same structure but without ".myowndomain" in it?

2). I’m learning that not all plugins work with multisite (I know all WPMUDEV plugins do). What happens when I really need one of these plugins and there’s no multisite alternative? I can still activate them on just ONE site in the network, without messing up the other sites, correct?

3). I’d like all the sites in the network to have MarketPress stores. I want site owners to be able to add products to their stores via the front end. Is this MarketPress Frontend plugin legit? It has only 10+ installs, so I’m a little wary. Also, if site owners are using a payment gateway such as Stripe (to take orders on site), does each site then need their own SSL certificate in order for this to work?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give answering these questions!

  • Kasia Swiderska

    Hi Anton,

    1). What's the best way to develop a test site for a multisite installation?

    I would say - keep it simple - the scenario you show would require advanced configuration on you server - like subdomains on subdomains are not very common set. Also not every hosting allows wildcards for subdomains on subdomain.
    MAMP is good idea - you would have opportunity to train.
    I personally set up a fake domain (you can use the one you don't have and use it later) on my server and I added it to my /etc/hosts (paired my server IP with my fake domain)- so only I can get to it - but everything is working with on the proper URLs.

    Also, you have to be sure you enable wildcard to your domain, to have subdomains working.

    2). I’m learning that not all plugins work with multisite (I know all WPMUDEV plugins do). What happens when I really need one of these plugins and there’s no multisite alternative? I can still activate them on just ONE site in the network, without messing up the other sites, correct?

    Yes, this is possible to activate plugin on just one subsite. If it don't work well on that one subsite it shouldn't break all other subsites.

    3). I’d like all the sites in the network to have MarketPress stores. I want site owners to be able to add products to their stores via the front end. Is this MarketPress Frontend plugin legit? It has only 10+ installs, so I’m a little wary.

    I'm not very familiar with this plugin, but there is other that I've seen on one of our members site (Multisite and MarketPress) http://mp-frontend.info/ - and this one is working.
    However if you are starting on test site - you could test it and see if it works for you.

    Also, if site owners are using a payment gateway such as Stripe (to take orders on site), does each site then need their own SSL certificate in order for this to work?

    If the sites have own domains - then yes. If you will have set it as subdomain, then you have only one certificate with wildcard (*.mydomain.com - where * is for subdomain). So SSL for main domain is enough.

    Please, let me know if I can answer more questions regarding this issue.

    Kind regards,
    Kasia

  • Anton

    Hi @Kasia Swiderska -

    I would say - keep it simple - the scenario you show would require advanced configuration on you server - like subdomains on subdomains are not very common set. Also not every hosting allows wildcards for subdomains on subdomain.
    MAMP is good idea - you would have opportunity to train.

    Cool -- I'll just switch from DesktopServer to MAMP then for this multisite project. It's yet another thing to learn, but...I'd rather do that then mess something up with subdomains on subdomains....

    My only question here is...if I'm using DesktopServer for another site, will it conflict with MAMP if I try to use that? I wasn't sure if I could use both at once, and if they use the same settings/locations or not... Or can I just turn off one when using the other?

    I personally set up a fake domain (you can use the one you don't have and use it later) on my server and I added it to my /etc/hosts (paired my server IP with my fake domain)- so only I can get to it - but everything is working with on the proper URLs.

    Sorry....I'm getting a little bit lost here with this bit. Can you explain this another way? Is this something I'm doing locally on my computer, or with my host (I use Bluehost)? Sorry for being a dummy here...

    I'm not very familiar with this plugin, but there is other that I've seen on one of our members site (Multisite and MarketPress) http://mp-frontend.info/ - and this one is working.

    Ah, ok -- I saw this page, but I wasn't sure if that was the same thing or not.
    Unfortunately....when I click on download or buy on the link you gave me, it takes me to a "not found" page. :slight_frown:

    If the sites have own domains - then yes. If you will have set it as subdomain, then you have only one certificate with wildcard (*.mydomain.com - where * is for subdomain). So SSL for main domain is enough.

    Great - good to know!!
    Thanks!

    • Kasia Swiderska

      Hi Anton,

      My only question here is...if I'm using DesktopServer for another site, will it conflict with MAMP if I try to use that? I wasn't sure if I could use both at once, and if they use the same settings/locations or not... Or can I just turn off one when using the other?

      You can, although you couldn't run them both at the same time unless you changed the apache/mysql ports on one to prevent them conflicting.

      Sorry....I'm getting a little bit lost here with this bit. Can you explain this another way? Is this something I'm doing locally on my computer, or with my host (I use Bluehost)? Sorry for being a dummy here...

      Sorry for the confusion. Hmm. I'm not sure if this will be possible with the Bluehost hosting, but if you some day have the dedicated server (or VPS) you can add domain to server (fake or one you don't have jet, or one does your client have on his server), set the site for this domain (FTP, database).
      On your computer, in console you edit /etc/hosts file and then add rule where you have your server IP address and domain you've added. Like that:
      122.123.34.56 myfakedomain.com
      (of course IP have to be true).
      From this moment when you access this domain from your computer (and only yours) you will see the site you've set up on your server with this domain.
      I have now two WP multisites working that way under the wpmudev.dev domain.
      This is very handy, when you develop site for client on your sever, but you want to deploy it smoothly to clients server with his domain and don't worry for changing urls after moving site.

      Ah, ok -- I saw this page, but I wasn't sure if that was the same thing or not.
      Unfortunately....when I click on download or buy on the link you gave me, it takes me to a "not found" page. :slight_frown:

      Ugh. OK, I've check the info in plugin code, and looks like that our member is using this free one https://wordpress.org/plugins/marketpress-frontend/

      Kind regards,
      Kasia

  • Anton

    @Kasia Swiderska -

    You can, although you couldn't run them both at the same time unless you changed the apache/mysql ports on one to prevent them conflicting.

    Thanks - it's not necessary to run them at the same time, and switching one off to run the other is not a problem! I'd rather do that than change settings that I may not remember to change later if needed...

    Sorry for the confusion. Hmm. I'm not sure if this will be possible with the Bluehost hosting, but if you some day have the dedicated server (or VPS) you can add domain to server (fake or one you don't have jet, or one does your client have on his server), set the site for this domain (FTP, database).
    On your computer, in console you edit /etc/hosts file and then add rule where you have your server IP address and domain you've added. Like that:
    122.123.34.56 myfakedomain.com
    (of course IP have to be true).
    From this moment when you access this domain from your computer (and only yours) you will see the site you've set up on your server with this domain.
    I have now two WP multisites working that way under the wpmudev.dev domain.
    This is very handy, when you develop site for client on your sever, but you want to deploy it smoothly to clients server with his domain and don't worry for changing urls after moving site.

    OK...I'm sort of getting it (though still a little confused). I think Bluehost has temporary domain capability. But I think I may just need to dive in and make mistakes and just figure it all out. :wink:

    Actually...I'm noticing DesktopServer DOES support multisite development, but only with their premium version. I might purchase it just for that, as they have some easy to follow documentation regarding multisite.

    Ugh. OK, I've check the info in plugin code, and looks like that our member is using this free one https://wordpress.org/plugins/marketpress-frontend/

    I'll try using that for now. But....I'm concerned about its low number of downloads, only 1 review, and the fact that it uses a shortcode for the front-end form. If there ends up being a problem down the line, or the developer decides to stop supporting it, then I'm screwed.

    Do you know if there's ANY chance the WPMUDEV devs will incorporate a native front-end solution to MarketPress? I think it would be a brilliant addition -- as a lot of online shops depend on lots of people having access to inventory and products. And any way to make that process easier would be a huge help to LOTS of people...

  • Twedros

    Here's my 2 cents... I haven't tried the Marketpress plugin for frontend, however if you try the Ultimate Branding plugin, you can customize the backend and make it match your brand. Also if you use the new Upfront themes, your Admins can design their stores from the frontend. If you do use the Upfront themes with Marketpress, I strongly suggest using the plugin "Marketpress Mojo" by Marketpress Themes.

    Best of luck with your network!

    Also if you want to save some $ you can yet up your multisite network as subfolders instead of subsites. Meaning if you set up as http://www.mysite.com/yourstore instead of http://www.yourstore.mysite.com. Doing it this way, you may be able to purchase 1 SSL and it will cover your network rather than them more expensive wildcard SSL (this of course depends on your host).

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