Manage many WordPress blogs with one installation


If you are anything like me you have way to many sites to run and maintain, and quite a few of them are probably running on WordPress. The last few versions of WordPress have done wonders when it comes to making it easy to update when a security updates comes out, you just click a button and the rest is taken care of. But if you have many sites and many plugins that also needs updating this can become a full time job, and a very boring full time job at that.

WordPress MU – a bit too limiting
One solution to this is to use WordPress MU which allows you to run many blogs in the same installation. The problem with WordPress MU is that it is quite a hassle to install, and it requires the kind of server access that you won’t have if you run on a standard shared hosting account. Another problem with WordPress MU is that it is usually a few versions behind the regular WordPress, so the latest and greatest (and most secure) features and plugins won’t always work. The WordPress people have stated that moving forward WordPress MU will be one of their areas of focus, so I expect that all the negative stuff I just mentioned will be gone in a year or two, but I want a solution now!

WP-Hive to the rescue
Lately I have started to use the WordPress plugin WP-Hive to solve my multimple WordPressblog problem, and so far it has worked very nicely. Install WordPress and the plugin according to the plugins documentation, it requires some copying of files but otherwise it is pretty much like the standard WordPress install. After you have one blog setup with WP-Hive you can add more blogs to the same WordPress installation, each blog with it’s own domain name and it’s own unique settings. The great thing is that all the blogs you install will share the same basic WordPress installation, the same plugins and the same themes. So you only need to update WordPress or a plugin once and it is updated for all blogs, that is a real time saver. Since WP-Hive is a WordPress plugin you can also use the latest and greatest WordPress verison and all the other plugins that you want.

At the moment I am running some Swedish wedding sites this way, for example Bröllopsinbjudningar, Bröllopsmeny and Bröllopsbukett. They all use the same plugins and the same theme, but all have different settings and different content. With some help from WP Super Cache all my blogs are running nicely from a shared hosting account. The only negative thing I have noticed is that if you have several domains starting with the same letters (“br” in my case) you need to do some manual setup in the database to get things to work.

Do you use something else than WordPress MU or WP-Hive? Tell us all about it!