WordPress Multisite

As you would have guessed this is a WordPress blog.  Actually, I’ll let you into a little secret, there are three blogs hosted on the same WordPress install.  You see I like having a segmented life and while you are here for my computing journey, you might not be so interested if it was jumbled up with other ‘noise’.
So when I was looking at how to host three blogs on one hosted web account it was an easy decision.  I am sure there are other options but the one that kept being mentioned as ‘the best’ or ‘most flexible’ was WordPress.  It was also around this time that I realised I would need three of these WordPress blogs/sites.  Did that mean I needed three installs of the core software?  How do I connect you with the right site?  A few google searches and I had my answer – WordOress MU (well not quite, that is the old name for the feature now known as WordPress Multisite, or WordPress Network).
WordPress have an excellent instructions on what to do and, to be honest, the WordOress software pretty much takes you through the steps as soon as you choose to enable a ‘network setup’.
There were a few ‘gotchas’ that I encountered:
1/  I installed WordPress as a plain install.  As soon as this was installed the blog was available for viewing.  I realised that this would be an issue as I created the three networked blogs and was setting them up.  WordPress populates each new site with a default post, comment and page.  For a while I needed to have a means to hide them from the world in some way.  To do this I found a ‘Maintenance Mode’ plugin which I installed and enabled on this default blog.  I’ll talk about this plugin in a later posting.
2/  There were references to the HTACCESS file and changes that needed to be made to that.  As I understand it this file allows control of what can be accessed by web requests via the web server.  In the case of a WordPress network installation the web server needs to know that any subdomain reference should go to Wordpress and it will sort out which site to present to the user.  Note that I used the recommended subdomain install ‘e.g. computing.lighthousenz.com’ rather than trying to use subdirectories.  This does mean that if I actually want to have a subdomain that goes to a non WordPress site I may need to change the HTACCESS file.  I did find a couple of places that talked about how the HTACCESS file needs to be customised for each install, however I just cut and pasted the one supplied by WordPress and all was fine.  I’m guessing if you have a non-standard or existing web setup things might be different.
3/  Finally – I found a great video on Youtube that goes through the steps required to setup a WordPress network (thanks guys).  That gave me the confidence to go ahead.  However a few of the commenters for that video had the same problem I did.  They had set up the site in WordPress, created the subdomain (in cpanel, usually) but then got “site not found”.  The missing step for me was to add the subdomain to my DNS records.  The small step made all the difference and the site was accessible within a short time.
So, there you have it.  Multiple blogs or WordPress sites can be yours in a short time.  Follow the instructions of WordPress and that video and my tips above and all will be fine.  Fingers crossed.

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