WordPress Multisite is a feature of WordPress that allows you to create and manage multiple websites from a single WordPress installation. It can be a powerful and convenient solution for website owners who want to expand their online presence and reach more customers.
But how does WordPress Multisite compare to setting up separate WordPress sites for each of your domains?
Whether you’re a blogger, a small business owner, a large corporation, or a university, you might benefit from using WordPress Multisite to create and run multiple websites with ease.
In this article, we’ll explain what WordPress Multisite is and how it works. We’ll also explore the advantages and disadvantages of using it compared with using multiple WordPress sites.
We’ll help you understand the differences between the two approaches and how they affect your website performance, security, maintenance, and scalability. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to decide which option is better for your needs and goals.
What Is WordPress Multisite?
WordPress Multisite is a feature that allows you to run and manage multiple websites on a single WordPress installation. In this setup, the sites are not standalone, i.e. they are all interconnected in one way or another. This means that you can create and manage a network of websites from a single dashboard.
Usually, there is one main site, sometimes also called root site, which is managed by the network administrator. This administrator can create as many sites as needed, and grant access to other users to manage one or more of those sites. This can be configured in such a way that each site has either its own subdomain, or has its own directory.
One of the biggest advantages of using WordPress Multisite is centralized management. With this approach, you can manage all of your websites from one dashboard. This makes it easy to update plugins, themes, and core WordPress files across all of your sites simultaneously.
Additionally, you can manage user roles and permissions across your entire network, which saves considerable time and effort.
Since you’re only using one WordPress installation, a Multisite Network is cost-effective. You don’t need to purchase additional hosting for each site. This can reduce operating costs significantly, especially if you’re managing a large number of sites.
Since you are using only one server for all your sites with WordPress Multisite, it will be a lot easier to manage and update it. Instead of securing each server separately, you can focus your efforts on hardening one server and keeping it updated. Using a common server saves time and reduces the risk of conflicts that might occur when updating sites individually.
Multisite networks allow you to build consistency in your brand and design, giving it a more professional look. The ability to update plugins or themes across all websites from a single dashboard also saves a great deal of time, and ensures that your branding and design remain consistent.
However, while WordPress Multisite has many advantages, there are some potential drawbacks to consider as well. For example, some plugins may not be compatible with WordPress Multisite, and you may need to use separate plugins for certain functionality.
Additionally, if one site on your network experiences an issue, it can potentially affect all of the sites on your network.
With that being said, WordPress Multisite is ideal for institutions where each individual needs their own websites. For example, in a university, all professors can have their own website where they publish their course curriculum. Similarly, in a blog about sports, a different site can be given to different people, each with an expertise in a different sport.
If you want to learn more, read our guide on How to Install and Setup A WordPress Multisite Network.
Using Multiple Sites in WordPress
One way of creating and managing multiple websites is to use separate WordPress installations for each of them. This means that each website will have its own database, files, plugins, themes, and settings. If you prefer to have more control over each of your websites, then using multiple sites might be a better option.
The primary reason for using multiple sites is more control over each individual site. Since each has its own installation, you get more control over the site’s design, functionality, and content. This can be especially important if you have specific requirements for each of them.
Using multiple WordPress sites is a great option for businesses who want to create niche affiliate marketing websites. This way, you can have more control and flexibility over each site, and tailor it to your specific niche and audience. You can also use different themes, plugins, and settings for each site to optimize them for conversions. If you’re looking for a better way to run multiple niche affiliate marketing websites, this approach is for you.
When using multiple WordPress sites, you have the option to either host them on the same server, or on different servers. This gives you more flexibility and control over your hosting resources and performance. Since these are independent sites, each site administrator can choose any plugins or themes that they want.
When you are running sites on separate servers, you have the flexibility to scale server resources for each site depending upon its needs. This can help ensure that each site is running optimally, and doesn’t experience any performance issues.
Moreover, having sites on different servers isolates them. If one of your sites gets hacked, you might have a fighting chance to save all the other sites. You can even take extreme steps such as taking down the entire website without worrying about its impact on other sites.
Using multiple WordPress sites can have some benefits, but it also comes with some challenges. You may need to spend more time and resources managing multiple installations, and may need to hire more technical staff. You may also have to buy separate licenses for some themes or plugins for each site, depending on the developer’s policy.
In contrast, with a multisite network, some plugins such as PublishPress may allow you to use a single license for the whole multisite network, while other plugins such as WPForms or The Events Calendar may require you to purchase a multisite license or a license for each site in the network. You should always check the terms and conditions of the theme or plugin before using it on multiple sites.
How to Choose Between Multisite and Multiple Sites
After considering the two approaches, it’s clear that both have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at additional factors that you should consider when deciding to host your website.
How Related Are the Sites?
A major factor to consider is how related the sites are to each other. A multisite network only makes sense if all your sites belong to an umbrella organization or follow a common objective.
For example, you might use a multisite network to create sites for different departments, locations, or products of your business. Or you might use it to create sites for different courses, faculties, or student groups at your school.
However, if you plan to host vastly different content from different sources and audiences, a multisite network is not the right choice.
For example, if you want to create sites for different clients, niches, or projects that have nothing to do with each other, a multisite network will not be beneficial. In fact, it might cause more problems than it solves. The sites will share the same database, files, plugins, and themes, which can create conflicts and potentially present security risks. The sites will also be harder to manage and maintain as the network grows.
The cost of running the sites can vary dramatically depending on your setup, such as the hosting plan, the number of sites, and the resources they consume. If you are using a cloud provider, they will charge you separately for each server, storage, network traffic, and IP address. This can add up quickly if you have many sites on different servers.
If you want to save some money, you might consider hosting all of the sites on one server and sharing the resources. You can do this by using either a multisite network or multiple sites. However, keep in mind that a multisite network can only run on one server, while multiple sites can be moved to different servers later if needed.
Another key factor to consider is how well your sites can handle traffic spikes. If you use a multisite network, you’ll have to share the same server resources for all the sites in the network.
This means that if you need to scale your server up (or down), you will affect all of the sites at once. But if you use multiple sites on different servers, you can easily scale up individual sites without impacting the performance of other sites.
How Often You Need to Create New Sites
If you will need to frequently set up more sites in the future, WordPress Multisite is the right choice for that, as it makes adding new sites easy and doesn’t require creating new WordPress installations from scratch.
If you use multiple WordPress sites, the process of managing them will become more difficult as you add more sites. You will have to log in to each site separately, update the plugins and themes, and perform backups and security checks.
Moreover, if you host your sites on different servers, you might accidentally delete a server that hosts a site that you still need.
WordPress Multisite can be easier to maintain because you can manage all of your sites from one dashboard. You can update the plugins and themes for the entire network, perform network-wide backups, and monitor the security of all your sites.
Control and Functionality
If you want to have full control over each site and customize it to your specific needs, you might prefer to use separate WordPress installations for each site. This way, you or the site administrator can make changes to the site without affecting other sites. You can choose the plugins, themes, and settings that work best for your site and its audience.
However, if you want to have a more convenient and efficient way to manage all of the sites at once, you might want to use WordPress Multisite. This feature allows you to create and run multiple sites from a single WordPress installation and dashboard. You can access all the sites from the My Sites menu and perform network-wide tasks such as updating plugins, themes, and WordPress core.
Here are some screenshots that show what a multisite dashboard looks like and how you can perform basic maintenance tasks:
This is the multisite dashboard, where you can see an overview of your network and access the network settings.
In the My Sites menu, you can see all of the sites in your network and quickly switch between them.
This is the Network Themes screen, where the admin can update and install themes for the entire network.
As you can see, WordPress offers you two options for creating multiple websites – a Multisite Network or separate installations. Each option has its pros and cons, so you need to consider your needs and goals before choosing one.
Whether you want to run a large network of sites, or just a few, WordPress has you covered.
After you have made the decision, you can continue learning – by reading our other articles on WordPress:
- How To Install WordPress With RunCloud | Step-By-Step Guide
- How to Install and Setup A WordPress Multisite Network
- Load Balancing For WordPress — What It Is & How It Works
- Install And Configure Object Cache Pro for WordPress
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Don’t miss this chance to take your WordPress management to the next level. Sign up for RunCloud today!