WordPress multisite – oh no, I’ve done it again

World Wide Web

I can’t help but get my geek on when I hit a problem. Last week I discovered that I need a separate theme licence for each of my subdomains. I checked this when I bought the licence, but it seems that between us the marketplace and I dropped the ball.

The solution – it seems – was to change my WordPress.org installation to a multisite. I read around and delayed action for a few days.

On the plus side using a multisite would have a few benefits:

  1. The aforementioned licence situation, which applies to a number of licences
  2. When creating a new site I can clone an existing site and replace the contents. No more sitting with two instances of WordPress side by side looking for the right settings to make them the same
  3. Plugins and themes are managed centrally. Now I only have to log in once to manage all my updates
  4. This isn’t one I imagine needing – I can create a new subdomain and give it to someone else to manage. A bit like giving them a WordPress.com site. I can control the theme and plugins, but they get to manage the content.

While understanding the benefits helped me make my decision to change, I was a bit scared by the process. As with all things WordPress there is plenty of help on offer. I found I could either follow the scary looking WordPress Codex instructions or the prettier guides written by any number of WordPress practitioners. As the pretty instructions all mentioned stuff I didn’t understand, I went with WordPress Codex and they stood me in good stead.

That’s not to say I haven’t had a couple of learning points. When I made the change my site went down:

  • As I investigated it, I came across the idea of a wildcard subdomain. I am pretty certain I don’t need one and my hosts set one up anyway.
  • It turns out that I had to set up an A record (and CNAME record as I don’t use www). As I type I am waiting for the changes to propagate.

If you think a multisite might be for you, I still recommend the WordPress Codex instructions but suggest you speak with your host to make sure you have the correct DNS records.

Other WordPress posts (updated, so ignore the dates in the permalinks):

1. WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

2. WordPress customising

3. The Dashboard (wp-admin) and alternative interface

4. A case study



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