We are happy to announce the beginning of what will be many WordPress Multisite (formally WPMU) services, including specialized WordPress Multisite hosting package and the beginnings of a Multsite FAQ and knowledge base.
Before we let you know more about these new services, you may be wondering a few things. Let’s first answer some of your questions.
What Is WordPress Multisite?
WordPress Multisite lets you manage multiple WordPress sites from one dashboard. Think of it as a network of websites, because that is really what it is. It used to be a separate type of self-hosted WordPress with its own installation files. Now, it’s built into regular WordPress core.
Each site in your WordPress Multisite network can have its own theme and use its own plugins. Skookum Monkey Hosting and Design uses WordPress Multisite. Each of our demos are a site within the the network. Before we switched to Multisite, we installed and managed separate WordPress installations in subfolders.
What Are the Benefits of WordPress Multisite?
The benefits to numerous, including only having to worry about updating one WordPress installation instead of having to maintain multiple websites via multiple WordPress dashboards. If we had our way, everyone would install WordPress Multisite the first time they install WordPress because it allows for future flexibility and growth.
There is also the bonus of having different users for each site, different themes and plugins, and with the right hosting environment, each site in the network having a unique domain name.
We’ve have many clients who started with only one website and then needed to expand. Sometimes, it’s been simple things like wanting to offer different sites for different locations or wanting their blog to have a different look than their business site. Sometimes, it’s more complex things like wanting a shop as a subdomain or wanting to create a network of blogs with domain mapping.
A lot of our clients never end with just one website. WordPress Multisite offers a whole lot of flexibility with very simple maintenance of WordPress core, plugins, and themes, with all sites managed from one dashboard.
What’s the Difference Between WordPress Multisite with Subfolders and WordPress Multisite with Subdomains?
The first difference is the URL. Skookum Monkey Hosting and Design uses WordPress Multisite with subfolders: ie: https://skookummonkey.com/demo11/. /demo11/ is a virtual subfolder. In the before times, we had to create a /demo11/ folder in /public_html/ and install WordPress in that folder.
When you install WordPress using Softaculous and check the box for Multsite, the default configuration is for subfolders.
Subdomains, on the other hand, have the site’s network name before the main domain URL. If we setup Skookum Monkey’s Multisite installation with subdomains, then the above URL would have been: https://demo11.skookummonkey.com. In the before times, we would have had to create a subdomain in cPanel and install WordPress in that subdomain.
Should I Choose WordPress Multisite with Subfolders or Subdomains?
We recommend subfolders for a lot of reasons. The biggest of these reasons are: Your existing SSL certificate will work for all of the sites in your WordPress network, and you don’t need to do any special DNS configurations to make it work.
Setting up WordPress Multisite with subdomains requires special DNS configuation and extra steps to get an SSL certificate. If your hosting provider doesn’t offer free SSL certificates, then you will have to pay for a Wildcard SSL certificate. Let’s Encrypt is offering Wildcard certificates beginning in January 2018, but it requires a bit of technical know-how to install.
Using a subdomain only makes sense if you want to have the illusion that the sub site is a completely different website.
However, if you are switching your existing WordPress installation over to Multisite, then you have no choice but to use subdomains. So, just install WPMU at the beginning and not have to worry about it in the future.
What Is Domain Mapping?
Simply put, domain mapping allows a site on your network to have a unique URL. There is a bunch of stuff that needs to be done to make this happen, including DNS configurations and a dedicated IP address for your WordPress Multsite installation. But, again, the benefits are being able to manage multiple unique domains/websites from one WordPress dashboard.
If you are a WordPress.com user and have paid to use a unique domain name to switch your site from mysite.wordpress.com to mysite.com, it’s thanks to domain mapping.
Do I Need a Special Hosting Package to Install WordPress Multisite?
If you don’t want the benefits of domain mapping, then your regular hosting account will do just fine.
However, if you want the benefits of domain mapping, then you will need a special hosting package. Also, securing your mapped domains with an SSL certificate will be an added expense if your hosting provider doesn’t provide autoSSL or if you lack the technical know-how of installing one of Let’s Encrypt’s UCC SSL certificates.
Skookum Monkey Hosting and Design’s Specialized WordPress Multisite Services
At Skookum Monkey Hosting and Design, we’ve been WordPress specialists from the beginning. As our client base has increased and their needs have changed as they’ve grown, we have noticed an increase need for WordPress Multisite services.
WPMUDev is a great resource for all things WordPress Mutlisite, however, we have found that either the resources are overwhelming to our clients or they simply don’t have the technical know-how to implement the benefits Multisite has to offer.
Finding a host that not only has WordPress specialists on their team but also understands the extra tools WordPress Multisite has to offer and offers dedicated IP addresses in their WPMU packages and includes the necessary SSL certificates are non-existent. WPMUDev does offer specialized hosting that offers all of the benefits of Multisite, but it comes at a huge price tag. We saw a need and decided to fill that gap.
FAQ and Knowledge Base
We are very pleased to announce that we’ve started to add some WordPress Multisite questions to our FAQ. This section will continue to build over time as more of our clients and readers ask specific questions about WPMU and make the switch.
We’ve also added our first post to the Multisite knowledge base that walks our hosting clients through how to set up WordPress Multsite with subdomains and have their SSL certificates issued.
Specialized WordPress Mutlisite Hosting for Domain Mapping with SSL
Today, we launched a new specialized hosting package for people who want to use WordPress Multsite with domain mapping and secure each site with a SAN/UCC SSL certificate. Some of the benefits of this hosting package include:
- Premium WPMU Dev Plugins – a $49.00 USD/month value;
- Dedicated IP Address – a $2.50 CAD/month value;
- Over 400 Softaculous scripts – a $4.99 CAD/month value;
- A UCC SSL/TLS Certificate – a $20.00 CAD/month value;
- 200 GB of storage;
- Unlimited bandwidth;
- And more.
We are very excited to officially offer to the public what we’ve been offering to some of our long-term clients.
We’d also like to thanks our clients who’ve made the switch to Multisite, including a client who is making use of domain mapping, for helping us work through the process and figure out the best way to approach these new services.