Available since WordPress version 3.0, Multisite is a continuation of WPMU or WordPress Multiuser project. It allows multiple virtual sites to share a single WordPress installation. When the multisite feature is activated, the original WordPress site can be converted to support a network of sites.
The real question is if you actually need it?
WordPress Multisite — do I really need it?
WordPress Multisite — the Pros
- Growth of the network – With WordPress Multisite it is easy to grow your network, and local admins of individual sites on your network can be given permissions to easily add new sites.
- Updates and Plugin management – For the administrator of a multisite, one update applies to all the sites. The administrator of multiple standalone sites has to update each site separately. With Multisite, the Network Administrator installs the plugins and themes that the sites can use. For standalone sites, plugins can be loaded at any time from any source by the site administrator.
- Content – Sites in a Multisite network do not share content by default, but plugins can be set up to read content from one site to another, without having the overhead of making an HTTP request to a remote site.
WordPress Multisite — the Cons
- Plugins – Individual siteadmins are not able to add plugins to their site; they must request that from the network administrator. There are plugins that do not work properly with Multisite. It is hard for networked-site users to experiment with plugins, since they have to go through the Network Administrator to have them loaded.
- Themes – Individual site admins are not able to edit the theme files available to the multisite network. They can use plugins such as the Simple Custom CSS plugin to make CSS changes to their individual sites. Changes made in a theme affect all networked sites using the theme. If a plugin is added or deleted, it will affect all sites that are using that plugin.
- Server resources – Multisite uses more memory per page. The sites in a Multisite network are all sharing one single database and that can tax system resources on high-traffic sites, affecting all sites.
When WordPress Multisite is the Right Choice
- If you or your community members need to be able to create and delete sites frequently, eg universities, real estate agencies, rock band promoters, etc.
- If you have multiple sites with similar content, but different “personalities” eg conferences, book releases, garden shows, etc.
- If you are providing branded hosting for similarly structured sites, eg professional services, real estate, art galleries, photo journalists, music teachers, etc.
- If your community is willing to accept that they will not be able to add plugins or to explore themes.
When WordPress Multisite is not the Best Option
- Do not pick Multisite just because it is easier to update. Constraints about plugins and themes create additional work for the network administrator, and can create annoying and unnecessary limitations for certain types of site owners.
- Do not pick Multisite if you have sites with significantly different needs. Since the sites will share plugins and themes, the needs of the sites should overlap in functionality. Plugins create overhead for websites so you could be adding unnecessary additional resource requirements to your sites.
An alternative to Multisite — ManageWP
ManageWP is the world’s first and finest WordPress management console, designed for WordPress users by WordPress users, giving you the full power and complete control in managing virtually any number of WordPress sites including powerful management, monitoring, backup, deployment, publishing and security tools.
You can easily connect all your websites on one single place and manage them remotely from ManageWP.
I am proud part of ManageWP team.