Clients and their requests make this job a challenge every day! A few months ago I was approached by a (potential) client to create 3 websites, related but distinct, each with its own URL. The client also wanted ONE log in to manage all three sites. Thus began my adventure with WP Multi-site. I googled and read much, struggled much, and in the end it is all working, though not without some missteps along the way.
I began by setting up a domain as a testing ground for experimenting with multi-site. I installed WordPress in the root (prior to this, I had set up subfolders for each test site, and installed a separate instance of WP in each subfolder). I followed the codex instructions for setting it up as a “network” install. I chose to use sub-domains for the multiple sites, and proceeded to set up my 3 test websites. It all seemed to work pretty well, and may be the way I develop additional client test sites, since it only requires ONE WordPress install, and individual subsites are easily migrated to standalone sites, but I digress….
So, at this point I had three sites, three distinct URLs, with one (super) administrative log in, and I could edit each site individually from that same log in. All 3 sites shared a common theme and plug-ins, making updates simpler. And I could create admin and editor log-ins with access to only one site or to all sites. Once all the test sites were done to the client’s satisfaction, the REAL fun began – migrating (cloning, moving, whatever you want to term it) the whole setup to the client’s hosting, which happens to be GoDaddy. Not the ideal host for this type of setup, but now that I have it working properly on GoDaddy, I think I can get it set up anywhere!
The key to making the move (IMHO) is a plug-in from iThemes called BackUpBuddy. It’s not free, but worth every penny for the ease and simplicity of backing up and moving entire sites. There are deals on BackUpBuddy and other Developer tools throughout December. The multi-site version of BUB is in beta, and still has glitches, so I did not attempt to backup and migrate the entire network at once – I did it piece by piece. My next post will detail that process!