I have to create a simple network of websites (different sub-domains) using WordPress. There are just going to be 3 or 4 such websites.

I know that WordPress MU was integrated directly within WordPress 3.0 and I can create a Network and use it.

Are there any pitfalls or disadvantages that I should be aware of if I go for this route?

Or, generally what are your thoughts on WP 3 Networks?

3 Answers 3


What you describe it pretty much exactly the use-case for WordPress Multisite (formerly WPMU.)

The downsides are of course that all sites are dependent on the same code and the same database so if you break one you break them all (though most of the tables are different for each site.)

Of course the upside is that you are using the same code and the same database, so you only have to maintain one set of code and one database!

P.S. There are also performance concerns for hosting too many sites on the same install (think WordPress.com), but we are talking hundreds or thousands of sites before you have to be concerned so for your use-case it's not an issue.

  • You said, "There are also performance concerns for hosting too many sites on the same install (think WordPress.com)..." - Do you think the blogs on the same WordPress.com infrastructure would be faster if they were hosted individually? Hasn't this changed? (it's been a long time since you wrote this answer)
    – its_me
    Jan 8, 2013 at 18:39

There are two ways to set this up, and I've used both:

  1. WordPress Multisite - you use one WordPress installation (version 3.0) to install and manage all of your sites. Admins have a single login and can monitor/update/moderate all of the sites in the network. It's fairly well-supported as the system started with WPMU, has several developers behind it, and the full weight of Automattic (the guys behind www.wordpress.com) supporting it.
  2. WP-Hive - this is a plug-in for WordPress that will allow you to point multiple domains/sub-domains at one WordPress installation. Each site will get its own set of database tables and you can have entirely different administrators/users for each site (there's no single super-user for the entire system).

WP-Hive isolates the different sites a bit more than WordPress Multisite, but both are valid ways to create a network of sites.

As far as advantages/disadvantages, there aren't that many. If you're setting up a dynamic network (i.e. users can register and create their own subdomains) you're restricted a bit by hosts (some hosts don't allow for wildcard DNS settings on domains), but otherwise just about everyone supports it.

  • 2
    Personally I would steer clear of WP-Hive. It's a non-standard extension that modifies the behavior of a large amount of a WordPress installation and with WP Multisite gaining popularity and no visible revenue stream for the WP-Hive developers I fear that it may be orphaned. Yes this is me predicting the potential that WP-Hive will be a dead-end and I could be wrong, but risk managers are always in the business of making predictions and for me on a network of sites that have significant value to the owner I would think the risk would just be too high to use WP-Hive. JMTCW. Aug 12, 2010 at 19:32
  • 1
    You raise several good points. The main benefit for me, though, has been the consistency with a WP-Hive network site and a regular WP site. From the dashboard, there are no differences between a standalone installation and a WP-Hive installation. On the other hand (for admins at least) there's a distinct learning curve for a MU (or Multisite) setup. I went with WP-Hive for my own network because the UI was identical to what I was already using.
    – EAMann
    Aug 12, 2010 at 20:01
  • Thanks for your thoughts EAMann. I was not aware of WP-Hive and it's an interesting project - which may just be orphaned because of WP3 like Mike thinks. Considering that I haven't seen any disadvantages here of using WP3 Networks, I think I will take that route on this setup. Aug 13, 2010 at 2:47

Another thing to consider is whether or not your host will let you use multisite without restriction. I don't know if there are others like this, but Dreamhost won't allow the use of WPMU/multisite without using their private server offering.

  • Is that because of the DNS settings and being able to setup multiple sub-domains or something else? Aug 13, 2010 at 2:26
  • Something else. They claim that most people using WPMU/WPMS are using it to set up spam blog networks, which unfairly consumes more resources (which I personally think is crap, but whatever).
    – Keith S.
    Aug 13, 2010 at 15:45

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