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Multisite or standard subdomains

Category: Wordpress

2014-05-02 4:10 pm EST

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I have tried finding the answer to this question all over the web...even the site. Still nothing.

I want to create a network of sites which would all have different functionality/post types and themes. I have looked into plugins for all of the different functions I want to add to my base site (which is a newspaper/trade magazine)...but it appears there are themes out there that provide more.

Car sales
Real estate sales
A product store
Multiple directories
Group deals

I wanted to find out which route makes the most sense to move forward with.

Do I:

Add subdomains to my main site and install individual wordpress installs with their own databases, new themes/post types and functionality?

Convert to multisite and use a single WP install (all on one db) with all of the different themes and functionality?

Please note I am on a VPS currently.

I am also concerned about the speed of the main site as well as the network as a whole with these two options.

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9,968 Points
2014-05-02 4:28 pm EST
Hello Richard, and thanks for the question!

Personally from a system admin mindset, since you're on a VPS I would opt for installing separate WordPress installations across all of your sites. That way if one of them needs some extra functionality that the others do not need, you aren't maintaining a very large WordPress multisite network. You also have the benefit of not having to worry about finding a compatible theme/plugin that will work on multisite, as you can just use any normal WordPress ones.

Also if any of your subsites became very large and you wanted to spin it off into its own domain name, it would be a rather painless process if it was just a single site WordPress install. It would just be a matter of changing the WordPress URL to reflect the new domain name and location of the files.

This can also help in ensuring your resource usage stays within reasonable levels on your VPS. I wrote a guide about advanced server load monitoring that covers how you can keep tabs of your VPS's load averages easily with the sar command with this one-liner:

for log in `ls -1 /var/log/sa/sa[0-9]* | sed 's#@##'`; do echo $log; sar -q -f $log | egrep -v "Average|ldavg|Linux" | awk '{if ($5>=1) print $1,$2,$5}'; echo ""; done | less

That would show all the times your VPS's load spikes over a 1.00, which you can see currently your VPS is doing several times a day. As you expect to ramp up sites and traffic on your VPS these spikes could become more frequent and lead to usage problems down the road for you.

I would also defintely make sure that you are optimizing WordPress as best you can for each site to keep them speedy and the server usage low. Having them separated out into their own installs can also help ensure that your main site isn't slowed down.

Now on the WordPress admin side of things, it might be easier to maintain all of these sites within a WordPress multisite network. So I would ultimately go with what is going to personally work best for yourself when it comes to staying on top of all these sites. If you're comfortable with simply logging into each one separately I'd say go that route, if you want a bit more convenience go the multisite route.

Please let us know if you have any further questions, and please come back and share your experience after you've got things running for awhile to let us know how it's going!

- Jacob

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Wow. Thank you Jacob.

I researched how to do both and it seems that sub-domains will be the easier route to go, so I feel I can handle keeping tabs on each of the subs daily. I have had issues trying to get multi-site operational a few times, and each time I ran into enough problems that I had to give up on the idea.

Once I create the sub-domain and database, if I run into any issues is the customer support live chat where I should proceed to?
21 Points
2014-05-02 4:38 pm EST
Hello again Richard,

No problem at all. If you run into any issues at all, feel free to come back and comment on this question, ask a new one, or hit us up in live chat. We should be able to assist you using any of those avenues for getting back in touch with us!

- Jacob
9,968 Points
2014-05-02 6:01 pm EST
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