Standalone versus multisite - what is the best choice for me?

I have two starting questions. The first is if I want to manage three sites, two include blogs and all serve as consulting web sites,

1) what is my best way to go standalone or multisite?

2) Are there any downsides or upsides that aren't obvious?

David

  • nelnehal

    multisite is more of a network of sites, where you can have unlimited number of subdomains or subdirectories. you can use the domain mapping plugin to then map it to your individual domain to these subdomains or subdirectories if u wish to. The disadvantage of multisite is that since all the subdomains or subdirectories are in one database, all your blogs and websites will be in one database. this means if you would have to move the site later on (for example if its a clients site, then it would not be easy). however multisite are much easier to manage plugins themes etc.

    if you are using a single wordpress installation for each site, its easy to move around the sites to new hosts or locations, however its more work to manage them.

    i use multisite for networks which are going to remain networks. for example if i have 10 sites that are not going to be separated in the future. if i plan to sell my sites, or iif i have a client, then i use a separate installtion.

  • Timothy Bowers

    Hi drconsults.

    Personally I would go for a multisite, here are my reasons why:

    1. One code base to maintain.
    2. One DB to maintain.
    3. If you want users to interact then one set of details will work on all sites.
    4. If you use one theme for a global look and wish to change code or css, its only one edit.
    5. Easier to manage.
    6. You can always add more if needed and remove those not needed.

    I use single installs when a client wants full control on their site and this they purchase cPanel hosting.

    Disadvantages:-

    1 Eggs and basket spring to mind, but if someone was clever enough to hack one site then chances are separate DBs would not help any, especially not when all in one hosting package/cpanel.
    2. Some plugins are not multisite but that said, more are becoming since the merge of WP with WPMU

    The disadvantage of multisite is that since all the subdomains or subdirectories are in one database, all your blogs and websites will be in one database. this means if you would have to move the site later on (for example if its a clients site, then it would not be easy).

    I fail to understand the reasoning here? You think moving one database is harder than moving three?

    Most people use Panels these days like cPanel and that has a great feature of backup and import. A webhost can transfer a site through their WHM within moments.

    Even without a panel, only one DB dump is easier to export and import unless you are talking about huge dumps (GBs or more) which in that case you could raise the memory for phpmyadmin in PHP or simply use ssh,

    if you are using a single wordpress installation for each site, its easy to move around the sites to new hosts or locations, however its more work to manage them.

    Just as easy with a multisite, I've never had any issues, nor have my clients who run their own mu installs.

    WP MU takes a bit more setting up, and as mentioned above it would be difficult to split the sites in the future should you ever need to do so.

    You can export and import the data through the WordPress importer plugin. The only extra change for WP is to change the .htaccess and the WP admin tells you what to enter. If your using sub domains you can use cnames or wildcards which the host would set up usually. And if you want them all having their own domain you use the domain mapping plugin. Not that complex really.

    drconsults, Ultimately the choice is yours really and all I can say is make the install, have a play, see what you find easiest. And most importantly have fun in doing so! :slight_smile:

  • DavidM

    I tend to go with Multisite as well myself. One sub-point to add under Tim's point number 5 is that plugins are very easily updated on a multisite, being that you only need to update once for all sites to receive the update.

    It's one of the biggest reasons I usually rely on Multisite personally.

    And as Tim mentioned, the import/export tool in WordPress is simply incredible and makes moving sites into and out of Multisite networks much easier.

  • coxis

    My 2cents on this.

    I think I have decided to go for managewp. A lot of my clients will require a custom website and therefore updating plugins network wide may cause some serious problems.

    My other problem is managing and setting up client email addresses, if a client needs an email address setting up then I would be unable to do so unless they have transferred the domain to my host.

    Unless there is something I am missing on this guys? I am trying to use multisite but really concerned that the amount of customization my clients would need (ie - its not just setting up a new blog) (its a fully functioning website with a community and members) - do you think I am better going with a single install per site?

  • Timothy Bowers

    I think I have decided to go for managewp. A lot of my clients will require a custom website and therefore updating plugins network wide may cause some serious problems.

    If changes are tested in a sandbox environment first then you can iron out issues before they go live.

    The more themes and plugins you provide the hard that will be.

    The more single sites you have, the longer it will take to update each plugin and theme, then test them independently to ensure they work.

    My other problem is managing and setting up client email addresses, if a client needs an email address setting up then I would be unable to do so unless they have transferred the domain to my host.

    That will always be the case unless they give you specific access to the remote service they use.

    Nothin much you can do there unless you control all their DNS (MX Records).

    Unless there is something I am missing on this guys? I am trying to use multisite but really concerned that the amount of customization my clients would need (ie - its not just setting up a new blog) (its a fully functioning website with a community and members) - do you think I am better going with a single install per site?

    I know you want a definitive answer on this but there isn't one. Its a decision you must make based on yours and your clients requirements.

    If it were me and the job was a total custom job then I'd install their site as a single site. Custom plugins, custom code, custom themes makes sense to be on their own.

    Sorry for the delayed response on this one, to ensure you get a speedier response next time you would be better posting a new thread to ensure it does not get missed.

    Take care.

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