I was recently working on a client project where I was faced with the question: should we have one WordPress multisite installation, or many “stand alone” WordPress sites? I gave the correct and scapegoat-y answer: “It depends.” And I was right, but if (like me) you weren’t really aware of the intricacies of that trade-off, I recommend reading this little article from Andy over at Beaver Builder.
In short, a lot of people fear WordPress multisite, and with reason. It’s a different way of using WordPress. But it’s a good one for specific scenarios. For example, Multisite is great if you don’t want to update plugins across dozens of sites. But, you also make it much harder for one site owner to choose to use a different plugin for some common functionality.
Anyway, enough of my yammering. Read more from this article. Here’s my favorite bit, on making the choice:
A WordPress Multisite network is a great solution for managing closely-related sites. But let’s be honest – very few of your projects are going to meet that criteria.
You’re probably dealing with multiple WordPress installations spread across at least a handful of different hosting providers. These sites might be running similar themes and plugins, but aside from that, they’re distinct – owned and operated by clients who aren’t associated with each other.
The upside to keeping these sites separated is that it lowers your risk as a site developer and administrator. You can tailor the setup of each site to suit the needs of the client and the needs of whatever hosting provider they’re using. If something goes wrong on one site, it won’t affect the performance of another site.
The downside is that this adds more overhead to your routines. Software updates, troubleshooting, user management, client reporting – these are all administrative duties that take time away from you working on bigger, more valuable tasks.