Getting Started with WordPress MU (Multisite)

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Back in 2010, WordPress introduced a new multi-site feature titled WordPress Multisite (colloquially known as WordPress MU) as an addition to the latest version available at that time, WordPress 3.0. The new function came about with a merger of the older WordPress Multiuser feature as well as the standard version of WordPress itself. Since then, the multi-site feature has expanded as bloggers, business’s big and small and well known domains have set out to maximize their creative control as well as the exposure of their content.

What Is WordPress Multisite?

In short, WordPress Multisite allows you to share multiple web pages, networks and blogs while operating under a single WordPress installation. This means that a host of differing content can be easily managed by a single network admin (In this case, you!). It also means that you won’t have to constantly create a new WordPress page every time you need to set up a new website or blog. At the heart of the issue is the amount of control and detailing you want over individual websites and pages that you own. Not every page will have or need the same themes, plugins, permissions and content.

Several popular examples of the multi-site include BBC America, Reuters Blogs and even WordPress itself all use the WordPress MU platform.

Benefits of Using WordPress MU

Familiarity of Standard WordPress: Part of what makes WordPress MU so accessible is that anyone who has managed or set up the standard WordPress installation will be able to set up and install the multi-site with relative ease. Because it shares nearly the same code, files and folder structures as the standard version, installation of WordPress MU is fairly straightforward and familiar to most users already operating WordPress.

Share Plugins Across All Sites: If you have a specific plugin that you want to have on all your content sites, you can easily set up any plugin of your choice to be implemented in either a few select pages of your multi-site, or all of them. As the network administrator you have the power to specify where you want your plugins to go and to what sites they should be on.

Share Themes Across All Sites: Just like your plugins, you can also have a specific theme shared jointly across all your web content. You can also set each theme by a per sight basis.

Increase Your Potential Revenue with AdSense: So you have fresh and consistent content spread throughout many web pages and you think you can make some bank off the multi-site. You’re not in the wrong! Setting up and creating many websites and sub-pages (In this case, let’s say close to 100), each with appropriate traffic and ad revenue, you could make enough money to pay for the amount of hosting itself while still having plenty extra income for yourself.

Administration: Ultimately, one of the most rewarding features of the multi-site is your administrative ability to deal with all of your collected content. Because they are all together and under your control, you won’t have to hassle and worry yourself over a myriad of complications when everything is said and done!

Other Things to Consider

While WordPress MU is decently easy to set up, there are a few considerations to make before deciding that it’s time to give it a try. Below are a few examples:

  • Not all web hosts may provide WordPress MU support. Always check to see if a web host is capable of storing your online content.
  • Because you will be hosting far more content than a single WordPress site, you will need to make sure that you or your web host will have enough server space to host all of your WordPress MU content. Shared-web hosting services should also be avoided when using the multi-site. As great as their economic incentives go, there’s a large amount of space you will need that may or may not be guaranteed or available with a server that must also host a wide range of other content. On top of that, if your website or blog really hits it off and starts bringing in heavier than expected traffic, your web host may have trouble operating it if you haven’t already opted for premium services.
  • Make sure that you really require the moving of your content from WordPress standard to WordPress MU. Having a personal blog with a few self-contained pages and links, or a small business website can still be easily managed using the regular WordPress platform. If you can manage all of your content comfortably by yourself with little hardship or headache, then there’s no need to complicate your current setup.

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