Wordpress Multisite as a Clients Manager

Hello!

I would like to receive your suggestions about how can I use Wordpress Multisite as a client's manager.

This is the main idea:

I would like to have all my Wordpress Clients in a Multisite Network. I will charge them for the wordpress development, and then for an "Annual Fee" to do for them all the Wordpress updates.

This is the idea:

- I create a Wordpress website and I charge them to do all the annual updates of Wordpress and my paid plugins (such us WUPM, Gravity Form, WPML.org, etc.). If the Multiste works the way I think it works, I should be able to just UPDATE all the plugins and the Wordpress version, and all my clients will have automatically everything updated, right?

Now... what happens if the next year, the client doesn't want to pay the annual fee to have all the updates? Well, I just want them to have everything working, but I don't want to do their updates, and I don't want to give them access to my paid plugins updates. Make sense? They will continue using the paid plugins, without updates.

I know I have to use PROSITE with DOMAIN MAPPING somehow, maybe MEMBERSHIP but... how can I make this happend? I have developers (they don't know about Wordpress Multisite, this is the reason I'm here) and everything, I just want to know what kind of plugins and how should I use them.

Thanks,
Francesco.

  • Sean Johnson

    Hey Francesco,

    That's a great idea for the network. Unfortunately, MultiSite won't let you be selective in which sites get the plugin updates and which do not - Since all sites share the same files (themes, plugins, and core files) and even some tables in the database, the files are not copied or duplicated per site. So, When you update a plugin or even the WP core the physical files are all updated.

    The only way I could see this happening is if you migrated the site to a more "unmanaged" multisite if they stopped paying, but this is not ideal as you really should patch and update your multisite so it doesnt get hacked or compromised.

    Hope this helps!

  • Francesco

    Hi Sean!

    Thanks a lotmfor your help.

    When I was asking about your membership, a sales guy told me that by using the Prosite (or maybe Prosite plus Membership plugin) I could create differents plans for users. What if I create a PRO plan, where users have "special plugins" (those that are going to be paid). If they stop paying... I could downgrade them to the FREE plan, and they will stop using the paid plugins. The only "problem" would be that they are not going to use anymore those plugins. Right?

    About your plan B... yes, the problem would be that I will have to update that multisite, so... that is a problem.

    It's possible by using the Duplicatoror Clone WP plugin for example (I don't know how Multiste works) to remove them from the Multiste network, and have them in a single Wordpress installation out of the hosting network? Make sense?

    Thanks!

  • PC

    - I create a Wordpress website and I charge them to do all the annual updates of Wordpress and my paid plugins (such us WUPM, Gravity Form, WPML.org, etc.). If the Multiste works the way I think it works, I should be able to just UPDATE all the plugins and the Wordpress version, and all my clients will have automatically everything updated, right?

    Yes this is right.

    Now... what happens if the next year, the client doesn't want to pay the annual fee to have all the updates? Well, I just want them to have everything working, but I don't want to do their updates, and I don't want to give them access to my paid plugins updates. Make sense? They will continue using the paid plugins, without updates.

    I know I have to use PROSITE with DOMAIN MAPPING somehow, maybe MEMBERSHIP but... how can I make this happend? I have developers (they don't know about Wordpress Multisite, this is the reason I'm here) and everything, I just want to know what kind of plugins and how should I use them.

    Now this is something which is a restriction of Multisite. Either a plugin is updated on all the subsites in a network or is not updated at all.

    So, you can use Prosites and create different levels of pro sites. Each level will have access to different plugins and the top most level will have access to everything. You can have different prices for all the levels.

    You will anyhow need to update the plugins in order to keep your network secure. So, you can charge your clients with a setup fee (Separately) and then chose your prosite plans wisely and charge them for annual maintenance. If they don't renew, they will be downgraded to a free level and lose access to the plugins/themes.

    When I was asking about your membership, a sales guy told me that by using the Prosite (or maybe Prosite plus Membership plugin) I could create differents plans for users. What if I create a PRO plan, where users have "special plugins" (those that are going to be paid). If they stop paying... I could downgrade them to the FREE plan, and they will stop using the paid plugins. The only "problem" would be that they are not going to use anymore those plugins. Right?

    Membership and Prosites work differently. Using Prosites you can restrict the available plugins to different levels and with membership plugin you can restrict access to the plugin menus

    About your plan B... yes, the problem would be that I will have to update that multisite, so... that is a problem.

    It's possible by using the Duplicatoror Clone WP plugin for example (I don't know how Multiste works) to remove them from the Multiste network, and have them in a single Wordpress installation out of the hosting network? Make sense?

    You can take an XML export of that site and then import it on a separate account on your Webhosting and map the domain to that. Simple. You can then delete it from the network and Job done.

    But before you go ahead with this approach, I will suggest you to test it on lab site before implementing it live.

    I hope that helps. Please feel free to ask if you have more questions on the same.

    Cheers
    PC

  • Sean Johnson

    That's great info from PC!

    Also, in general as a business practice - concerning plan B - it's not the best idea to create work for yourself when you are not going to get paid. Your basically creating a potentially very messy migration operation every time you "lose" and then potentially "win back" a client.

    So I would discourage you as a business owner, not to do it.

    As a programmer, I do a lot on WP migrations... and even though I've got it down to a science - it's always risking and mistakes happen from time to time - one mistake can costs you hours and hours in a migration - and if you don't have a backup, YIKES!

    I'd recommend promting and "adding value" to even your accounts that become "free" that they will always remain on a secure platform. No one wants to use an unsecure system, even if it's free... and while you want to motivate them to pay for the secure environment... it's just not worth the hassel of keeping an insecure environment to annoy you with problems... you will just scare your previous paying customers away to someone else... but if you keep them secure and free - you will atleast still be able to market to them.

  • Francesco

    Hi PC.... awesome answer!

    Let me ask you this:

    Now this is something which is a restriction of Multisite. Either a plugin is updated on all the subsites in a network or is not updated at all.

    So, you can use Prosites and create different levels of pro sites. Each level will have access to different plugins and the top most level will have access to everything. You can have different prices for all the levels.

    So, you are saying that with Wordpress Multisite + Prosite I will be able to create a FREE and a PRO level, which will allow me to have this:

    FREE LEVEL:
    - Free plugins

    PRO LEVEL:
    - Free Plugins + Paid Plugins

    Is this right?

    You will anyhow need to update the plugins in order to keep your network secure. So, you can charge your clients with a setup fee (Separately) and then chose your prosite plans wisely and charge them for annual maintenance. If they don't renew, they will be downgraded to a free level and lose access to the plugins/themes.

    Well, I want them to have the free plugins, but not the paid plugins.

    So... if they had paid plugins, and I downgrade them because they don't pay... they will lose the access to those plugins, right? And this is done by Prosite, right?

    Membership and Prosites work differently. Using Prosites you can restrict the available plugins to different levels and with membership plugin you can restrict access to the plugin menus

    So... I should use ONLY Prosite, right?

    You can take an XML export of that site and then import it on a separate account on your Webhosting and map the domain to that. Simple. You can then delete it from the network and Job done.

    But before you go ahead with this approach, I will suggest you to test it on lab site before implementing it live.

    That is the only way? There isn't a plugin to do that, at the Network dashboard?

    And, of course we're going to do some test first! Thanks a lot!

  • PC

    Hiya @Francesco

    So, you are saying that with Wordpress Multisite + Prosite I will be able to create a FREE and a PRO level, which will allow me to have this:

    FREE LEVEL:
    - Free plugins

    PRO LEVEL:
    - Free Plugins + Paid Plugins

    Is this right?

    Yep, that is right. In the same way you can control themes as well.

    So... I should use ONLY Prosite, right?

    To keep it simple, yes.

    That is the only way? There isn't a plugin to do that, at the Network dashboard?

    Not that I am aware of. I have always used XML exports to move sites around.

    Cheers, PC

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