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How is plugin network activate different from normal activation by implementation? What is done/not done in network activation that is done/not done in activation?

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Network activation will activate a plugin for every site in a network whereas regular activation will only activate a plugin for the site you're currently on. As far as implementation goes, there is one other important difference:

If your plugin is built to do something when it's activated (via register_activation_hook()), this will fire automatically when you activate a plug-in normally, but it will not fire for a network-activated plugin until you visit the admin screen for each blog.

So if major database updates are tied in to register_activation_hook() they won't occur until you log in to the other sites.

  • The super-admin or the admin should visit the site.com/subblog/wp-admin URL for plugins' activation hooks to be executed? Or do you mean that they must go to the plugin page of the sub blog and then click on the "activate" link? – rsman Nov 17 '10 at 2:06
  • They must visit the wp-admin url for the plug-ins' activation hooks to be executed. – EAMann Nov 17 '10 at 2:09
  • @EAMann is there a programmatic way to do the same thing? I have hundreds of blogs. – Tyler Collier May 10 '15 at 5:24
  • Not easily. I'd recommend storing a version string in the DB for each site and checking to see if things are installed upon first use. – EAMann Aug 23 '15 at 13:02

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