Reverting from Subdomains to Subdirectories in MultiStie

Hi: I'm running a Multisite install of WP version 3.2.1 (with BP 1.2.10 attached; although I don't think that has anything to do with my question). We originally installed our MultiSite as Subdomains, as our original intention was to let users register their own blogs.

We're now rethinking our business model and have decided to nix the user blogs. We are, however, running quite a few sub-sites for our own purposes, and plan on opening more of them in the future. It has now occurred to us that, for branding purposes, if we're only registering our own blogs to run with the main site, it might be better to run MS in subdirectory mode rather than subdomain mode.

My question is: Does anyone know what the ramifications are to changing the MS blog structure from subdomains to subdirectories for a site that's already up and running? My best research says that this should not be a problem (actually, the problem if any would be going the other direction, from subdirectories to subdomains), but I need to cover all bases here before we try this on a live site and blow everything up.

Anyone have any experience and/or particular knowledge of doing this? If this will work, is there something obscure I might forget to change? I know we'll have to change the wp-config file and the .htaccess rewrite rules; but is there anything else that would need to be done? - changes to the database, etc. And are there any popular plugins that might impede this process? My thanks in advance for your time and knowledge --

  • Imperative Ideas
    • HummingBird

    The only major ramification you have to contend with is writing 301s to the new content, which is pretty straightforward if you can do it at the domain level so that

    example.site.com redirects cleanly to site.com/example/

    The other ramification is that you will increase your SEO because the sub-sites will all be recognized as part of the main site file structure (something you don't get with subdomains). Link juice for everybody!

  • aecnu
    • WP Unicorn

    Greetings conkhead,

    Thank you for the great question.

    The WordPress codex clearly states:
    Addresses of Sites in your Network

    The primary information in this section involves the decision to use sub-domains or sub-directories for your sites. This means each additional site in your network will be created as a new virtual sub-domain or sub-directory. Please choose whether you would like sites in your WordPress network to use sub-domains or sub-directories. You cannot change this later.

    Now I admit I have indeed got things to work that IT/Server techs have said cannot be done but successfully accomplished the mission, but not relative to WordPress itself.

    Regarding link juice though rank will pass to sub directories it is not necessarily better - I found what appears to be an objective article on this very subject and bottom line it comes down to how/what you are using them for.
    http://www.bestrank.com/blog/putting-end-to-subdomains-vs-subdirectories-debate

    I have found sub domains to have even higher ranking for items and come up higher on Google then the main site in the case of keywords in the sub domain versus those of a sub directory.

    The guidelines mentioned in the article seem to be spot on.

    Thank you for being a WPMU DEV Community Member!

    Cheers, Joe

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