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To Separate or Not to Separate...That is the Question?

I currently have what I believe is a mistake in my site architecture. I initially built my two lines of business into the same site. Engineering/Design work and Equipment Liquidation. Learning the hard way I realize I need dedicated domains. I plan to use the same look and feel for both but have 2 separate domains/subdomains.

The question is should I install a separate instance of WP for each or simply build it in the same structure with a different landing page and limited navigation between each. Obviously the latter is easier initially but I am concerned this would cause further difficulty later.

Anyone have experience with this sort of situation? The theme I am using will support this but I am not convinced it is a good plan. Feel free to look at the site http://realitycramp.com, just be gentle in terms of criticism as it is a work in progress.

Amazed at the quality of contribution on this site.

MM/RC

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@MikeSchinkel - Great edit. –  RealityCramp Sep 2 '10 at 2:40
    
Thanks for appreciating it. Most people ask with their own questions in mind (which I completely understand( but I try to edit so that the question will appear applicable to others who have the same issue, especially if they might be googling and otherwise not find it. –  MikeSchinkel Sep 2 '10 at 2:45
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Some time ago, I started a site that served as my professional portfolio. It was running on WordPress, so when I decided to add a blog it was really easy to just flip a switch and start writing. As time went on, though, I realized that the blog and the portfolio served totally different purposes - and I wanted to add a third feature for creative writing (not related to my portfolio or my professional/business blog in any way).

Originally, my portfolio was on my domain and I added a second WordPress installation on a subdomain. This worked, but it was a pain to manage. I had two copies of every plug-in, two copies of WordPress, and two copies of my theme. Whenever an upgrade came out, I had to do everything twice.

When I added my third site (on a second subdomain), this added a third set of steps. It wasn't a scalable solution at all. And this is the same scenario I see you in today.

There are three ways you can move forward:

Separate WordPress installations

This is quick, easy, and pretty much foolproof. But I guarantee you'll run into effort and scalability issues in the future.

WP-Hive

My solution was to install a plug-in on top of WordPress (pre-3.0) that allowed me to host multiple sites off the same installation. It worked well - I created 3 separate domains and pointed them all at the same folder on my server. WordPress handles the database and all the routing. Now I have one installation, one set of plug-ins to update, and one central group of themes to work with.

WordPress MultiSite

With 3.0 came the ability to host multiple sites on multiple domains from a single instance of WordPress. I highly recommend anyone with a multiple-site infrastructure to migrate to this solution. It's easier to maintain than either of the solutions presented above and makes your system scalable (whether you think you'll grow now is immaterial ... but if you do the work now and grow later, you'll be thanking your younger, wiser self).

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@EAMann -- +1 –  MikeSchinkel Sep 2 '10 at 2:00
    
As I said in the initial post...The quality here is amazing. –  RealityCramp Sep 2 '10 at 2:43
    
Went with option 3 and installed multisite this morning. Took about ten minutes and all is well. Thanks for the great suggestion! –  RealityCramp Sep 2 '10 at 14:59
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