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The Often Useful Somewhat Annoying World of WordPress Multisite

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Presentation for the Melbourne WordPress developer meetup hosted in April 2016. The presentation covered my experiences in working with WordPress multi-site installations. Pros and cons, how to approach development workflow and general tips on migrations, theme updates, back-ups and plugin usage.

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The Often Useful Somewhat Annoying World of WordPress Multisite

  1. 1. @jamesbundey THE OFTEN USEFUL SOMEWHAT ANNOYING WORLD OF WORDPRESS 
 MULTISITE WordPress Developer Meetup Melbourne - April 2016 James Bundey
  2. 2. @jamesbundey Some Background • Developing on WordPress for 6+ years • Build custom websites for clients • Manage a number of websites on an ongoing basis • Look after quite a few multisite installs
  3. 3. @jamesbundey When to use itWhy Multisite?
  4. 4. @jamesbundey The Pros • One core WordPress installation • Simplifies management because everything is controlled via one dashboard • Scalable • Sites run independently of each other
  5. 5. @jamesbundey The Cons • One core WordPress installation - multiple site = more risk • One dashboard can lead to all kinds of issues (death by plugin) • Scalability also means that it can become big…quickly • Sites are, but also aren’t really, independent of each other. How do you balance those that are extremely resource heavy.
  6. 6. @jamesbundey So, where is it a winner?
  7. 7. @jamesbundey Typical Scenarios • Large clients with numerous child companies who need individual sites. • Clients that want multiple region specific sites • Clients that want to share information across sites • Clients that like to make radical changes to their site on a regular basis
  8. 8. @jamesbundey Developing for Multisite
  9. 9. @jamesbundey Think it through • Understand how you intend to structure it • Sub-domain vs sub-folder • How are you going to theme it • Master theme with options panel vs child themes • If it’s a pre-purchased theme how much crap is it going to load • Be very selective with plugin choices - does it support multisite • Who is responsible for managing it • Can the client be trusted
  10. 10. @jamesbundey Development workflow • No different to how I would treat a single site build • Local installation set-up on vagrant • Make master install a dummy site • Update site URL when creating new sites locally • Theme managed via git repo • We use a lot of ACF to build the structure (often a Flexible build) • Try to keep it as universal as possible • Options panel built on ACF
  11. 11. @jamesbundey However… • Multisite loves to throw issues at you, especially if you need to manage and update on an ongoing basis • Migrating from local and production • Setting up a staging site isn’t always an option • Backups are a pain • Domain mapping, records alias etc, if you’re using sub domains
  12. 12. @jamesbundey Some tips
  13. 13. @jamesbundey Migrations • Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with doing it the old fashioned way • Find & replace and phpAdmin import • Small updates are completed manually • Large content changes, just create a new site • We use Migrate DB Pro if we need to sync between production and local • Will only pull and update the master install, so you need to remember to update settings for sites • Update local host file with sub-domains
  14. 14. @jamesbundey Theme updates • We set-up a second theme within the installation. • Changes are deployed to this theme using either a gulp task or Beanstalk when changes are committed to the repo • Tested on live site • Redeploy to master theme once happy
  15. 15. @jamesbundey Backups & Hosting • WordPress Backup to Dropbox plugin • A lot of premium backup tools will fail. Vaultpress is an option, but you pay per site. • Find a decent host. • Set-up your own VPS if you know what you’re doing • Premium WordPress hosting - we use Flywheel for multisite • Use a decent caching tool • WP Rocket and integrate with Cloudflare • Look into a CDN - Delicious Brains WP Offload S3 for use on AWS
  16. 16. @jamesbundey Useful Plugins
  17. 17. @jamesbundey • Sub Domain setup • WordPress MU Domain Mapping • Managing Users • Multisite User Management • Unconfirmed • Cloning Sites • Multisite Clone Duplicator
  18. 18. @jamesbundey • Content management • Multisite Post Duplicator • Great for creating news items that can automatically posted across all sites. • Network Shared Media • Security • Login Security Solution • iThemes Security Pro / WordFence
  19. 19. @jamesbundey .htaccess • Important to remember this is controlling every site. • If it get hacked it’s going to take down every site • 301’s can’t be treated as normal RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^url_address.com.au$ [nc] RewriteRule .? - [S=2] RewriteRule ^contact.aspx$ http://url_address.com.au/contact [R=301,NC,L] RewriteRule ^about-gt.aspx$ http://url_address.com.au/about-us/company-profile/ [R=301,NC,L]
  20. 20. @jamesbundey Thank You Any questions?

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