From the WordPress Codex:
A multisite network is a collection of sites that all share the same WordPress installation. They can also share plugins and themes. The individual sites in the network are virtual sites in the sense that they do not have their own directories on your server, although they do have separate directories for media uploads within the shared installation, and they do have separate tables in the database.
About a year ago, I was approached by a client who owns three restaurant franchises in three different cities. The parent company has a website, and the franchisees are allowed and encouraged to create their own identity with their own website for their store or stores. The client purchased three domain names, one for each of the three restaurants. However, the client wanted one login to manage all three “sites.”
WordPress Multisite was suggested to me as a possible solution, and I proceeded to develop it as a multisite project. I set up one hosting account, with restaurant1.com as the network administrator login. I used subdomains for the other two sites. Domain mapping allows the use of the restaurant2.com and restaurant3.com URLs, yet the client has access to all three sites for editing as a SUPER ADMIN login via restaurant1.com/wp-admin dashboard.
Each restaurant was also set up with user logins to each site with Editor only privileges, so users at each store could log into just that store to make any needed changes, without affecting the other sites. The client can log in to each site separately, as an Editor, and make changes. They can also log in as a SUPER ADMIN and work on all three sites from the Network Dashboard.
The sites are not complicated; most of the content is static, with a Twitter widget displaying recent tweets from the corresponding restaurant. Daily specials vary from site to site, as do special events catered, sponsored, or hosted by each of the three restaurants. The sites share a common theme, a catering request form, and an accordion display of the various menu items.
My biggest hurdle in getting this all to work was mapping each restaurant domain to the proper subsite. As it turns out, it was my impatience with allowing the domain names to resolve properly. I *thought* certain configuration settings were not working, so I tried something different, until I had so many pending changes at the server that it locked up. Calling the hosting company (after 2 days of frustration) and waiting for the changes to propagate solved the issue.
This has been working for the client for nearly a year. We have successfully made the upgrade to 3.6.1, and I think Multisite was—and is—the right choice for this client and situation.Resources:
• WordPress Codex – Create a Network
• Although over a year old, there’s useful information in this article at Mashable
How are YOU using WordPress Multisite? And how is it working for you?
Sue Laren is a freelance website designer/developer living in the SF Bay Area (North Bay), married 33 years, with four grown children and two grandchildren. She taught computer lab (basic computer skills) at a local elementary school for many years, and in 2007 started her own web design business, Laren Net Works. Follow her on Twitter at @LarenNetWorks.
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