When I saw the release announcement on WordPress 3.0 (Thelonious), I was excited to see that is was finally integrating in the WordPressMu project allowing one installation of wordpress to handle multiple blogs. I maintain several websites and blogs in wordpress, and have struggled with the operational best practices surrounding it.
I was quite excited to see the multisite support so I decided to deploy a VM at the house to test out migration of all my sites to a single install.
First off, multisite would end my ability to allow hosting customers direct access to their databases via the phpmyadmin plugin. Since multisite uses a single database, giving access to that database to one customer means that customer has access to all the sites hosted by that installation.
The next problem is that multisite is not (yet) designed to handle multiple top-level domains. There are tables inside the database that indicate they plan to go this route, but the admin interface isn’t ready for it.
Under the SuperAdmin menu, you can edit the Domain, SiteURL and Home fields to change the URL for the site, but then you can’t actually log into the wp-admin interface for that site.
This link provides an overview of how you can do it via editing the wp_sites table, however the Admin interface isn’t exactly setup to allow you to manage the site once you move it to a different domain.
Then there is the confusion over the wp_blogs table managing sites and the wp_site table managing domains.
WordPressMu had a plugin for Domain Mapping that has been updated (but not yet released, you’ll need to download from the author’s SVN trunk) to support WordPress 3.0. I’ve had better luck following this guide and using the Domain Mapping plugin.
However, with the Domain Mapping plugin, I’ve noticed some strange behavior with using multiple domains mapped to the master. I’m gonna chalk this up to running a non-released code.
In short, Multisite is not yet ready for primetime (based on my needs). I suspect it was more designed for a site like Redstate that allows users to host their own diaries, or the AJC where different reporters have their own blogs under the ajc.com domain.
I’ve not yet played with the features of the new Twenty Ten theme, but the ability to use the WordPress interface to build out custom page menus looks to be kick ass.
Just before the 3.0 release I converted the PrimeHarbor website to a wordpress site. Since I’ve not yet cut that over to production, I think I’m going to take the time to build it out under 3.0. And since PrimeHarbor is the site hosting the other domains, it makes sense to make that my root site if and when I go to multisite.