In recent years, the website as a service (WaaS) and WordPress-based SaaS business models have gained significant popularity. These models offer customers the convenience of having their website managed and maintained by a service provider as part of a monthly plan. However, using WordPress Multisite to implement these models can come with several limitations and frustrations.
WordPress Multisite allows website owners to manage multiple subsites from a single WordPress dashboard, making it a popular choice for creating a network of websites for corporations, schools, and universities. While it may be convenient for certain use cases, the limitations of WordPress Multisite make it challenging to use for a WaaS or WordPress-based SaaS.
This article will explore the limitations of WordPress Multisite and introduce multi-tenant WordPress as an innovative solution that solves these limitations. With multi-tenant WordPress, website creators can standardize and duplicate any WordPress website to any degree, automate the entire process from sale to launch, and eliminate all multisite frustration.
Benefits of WordPress Multisite
WordPress Multisite is a network of connected websites that enables you to manage multiple subsites from a single WordPress dashboard. This means that all websites share the same theme and plugins, making it very convenient in certain use cases.
One great use case for WordPress Multisite is if you’re building a network of websites for an international corporation, a community, or a branded platform, all with similar functionality and the same audience. This is because all sites share the same database, filesystem, and users, making it easy to manage all sites from a single dashboard.
WordPress Multisite is also used by corporations, schools, universities, news outlets, and online department stores. For example, WordPress.com is one of the largest WordPress networks on the Internet, powering millions of websites.
Some benefits of using WordPress Multisite include:
- Ease of use: managing multiple sites from a single dashboard is convenient and efficient
- Cost-effective: sharing resources among multiple sites saves money on hosting and maintenance
- Consistent branding and functionality: all sites share the same theme and plugins, ensuring a consistent look and feel across the network
- Easy maintenance: updates and changes can be made to all sites at once, saving time and effort
However, despite these benefits, there are also limitations to WordPress Multisite, which make it unsuitable for certain use cases. These limitations will be discussed in the next section.
Limitations of WordPress Multisite
While WordPress Multisite is a great tool for certain use cases, it comes with several limitations that make it frustrating and limiting when used for Website as a Service (WaaS) or WordPress-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. Here are some of the most limiting and frustrating pitfalls of WordPress Multisite:
- All websites share the same database: A potential data breach will involve all the data of all the sites. Additionally, eCommerce websites are a no-go on a multisite network as it means that a single purchase on one website immediately creates a user for all websites in the network. This is not just a major problem in terms of CRM management and general customer confusion, but also infringes on data privacy laws.
- All users who are added to your network will be users on all sites on your network: All sites share the same user profiles. You cannot create the same user two times for two different sites on the network. Also, logged-in users are logged in for all sites. This can lead to a security risk, due also to eventual leaks in plugins/themes.
- There is no way to restrict or impede updates on individual sites: If a theme or a plugin is updated, it is updated for all sites of the network that use it with immediate effect. This means that updates, new plugins, or changes to your custom theme might break websites. As there’s no versioning system or any form of DevOps for Multisite, there’s no way to find out beforehand.
- All themes are installed for the entire network. If you edit the code of one theme, you edit it for all sites using that theme: You can, however, install plugins in order to allow each site to tweak its own CSS without affecting anyone else. But as stated above, you’re basically pushing changes to your product to all subsites at once. If your network is large enough, restoring backups every time an error occurs can result in significant downtime.
- There are many plugins that aren’t WordPress Multisite compatible: Not all plugins work on multisite. Usually, most plugins are created for a single site, and this can lead to conflicts.
- Changing hosts or removing a single site from Multisite is very difficult. Moving back to the multisite is a pipe dream: If for some reason you want to change a multisite to different single sites installations: for example if one site becomes too big, or just the number of sites increases too much making the whole system slow. To switch from multisite installation back to a single site is hard to achieve. But if you do, chances are likely that this site will never return to the network. Changes will be made, resulting in breaking the uniformity of the network. You end up with different clusters of multisite and single-site networks that originate from overcrowding your initial WaaS or SaaS.
- A multisite network requires higher technical knowledge, especially in the areas of server administration and network management: If the number of sites increases, managing it within a multisite installation could be critical. The maker’s focus shifts from building the company towards managing the server stack, organising the file system, and managing the database.
- Despite being on one WordPress install, hosting costs will reflect the need to host many websites: Because it’s a single WordPress install, all sites share the same IP address and web hosting account. Also, not all hosting plans support multisite.
- Issues that affect one site can (potentially) bring the entire WordPress Multisite network down: A hacker attack or just downtime on your server will affect all the sites.
- Noisy neighbor problem: if one website has a lot of traffic, it will affect the performance of all the other websites on the network. This can lead to slow loading times and other performance issues.
These limitations can be frustrating and limiting for those looking to use WordPress Multisite for WaaS or SaaS solutions. As mentioned earlier, data breaches can affect all sites, making it difficult to maintain data privacy laws. The inability to restrict or impede updates on individual sites can lead to website downtime, which can be detrimental to the customer experience. The higher technical knowledge required to manage a multisite network can also be a barrier for those looking to use WordPress Multisite for their WaaS or SaaS solution.
Overall, while WordPress Multisite can be a great tool for certain use cases. It’s important to weigh the benefits against the limitations and consider alternative solutions that may be better suited if you’re intending to build a scalable WordPress based SaaS.
Introduction to multi-tenant WordPress
Multi-tenant WordPress is a recent innovation that offers a solution to the limitations of WordPress Multisite. While Multisite offers some benefits, it also has several limitations that make it unsuitable for Website as a Service (WaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. Multi-tenant WordPress is an approach that overcomes these limitations by leveraging the dominant cloud infrastructure of SaaS.
In simple terms, multi-tenant WordPress is a way of building a SaaS Application on top of WordPress. It is a scalable architecture that allows for multiple tenants to share the same codebase, with clear separation between each tenant’s data. This approach allows for greater flexibility, faster scaling, and easier management of a large number of websites or applications.
How multi-tenant WordPress works
Multi-tenant WordPress is made possible by WPCS. WPCS is a server-less cloud solution that enables developers to create and manage scalable WordPress Applications. On WPCS, each website in the application is completely separate and independent, with its own database, users, and files.
One of the key features of multi-tenant WordPress with WPCS is the versioning system that enables safe updating of applications. This versioning system allows developers to update their application’s code, such as themes or plugins. This ensures that updates can be thoroughly tested and checked for compatibility with other products before being released application-wide, reducing the risk of breaking any WordPress installs.
Another benefit of multi-tenant WordPress with WPCS is the ability to easily provision websites automatically. With WPCS, you can easily create new websites and add them to the application using WPCS’s external API. The platform also provides a range of tools for managing sites, such as automated backups, plugin management and more, which can save time and streamline development.
Finally, multi-tenant WordPress with WPCS can help reduce hosting costs by using cloud infrastructure. With cloud hosting, each website is hosted on its own server, allowing for better scalability and performance. Additionally, WPCS includes features like automatic load balancing and failover, which can help ensure that sites remain up and running even in the event of a server failure.
Overall, multi-tenant WordPress with WPCS offers a number of benefits over traditional WordPress Multisite, including greater flexibility, easier management, and better scalability. By leveraging cloud infrastructure and advanced tools like versioning, multi-tenant WordPress can provide a powerful solution for creating and managing multiple WordPress sites.
Migrating to multi-tenant WordPress
WordPress Multisite can be a frustrating and limiting solution for businesses that need to scale their website and SaaS offerings. Fortunately, multi-tenant WordPress offers a solution that allows businesses to easily scale their offerings without the limitations of Multisite.
Migrating to multi-tenant WordPress can be a simple and straightforward process. Businesses can migrate their existing WordPress sites to the multi-tenant WordPress infrastructure with ease. We provide a simple migration process that takes care of all the technical details, so businesses can focus on growing their offerings. Learn more about Migration sites to WPCS here.
In conclusion, multi-tenant WordPress provides a solution to the limitations and frustrations of WordPress Multisite, allowing businesses to scale their WaaS and SaaS platforms with ease. The WPCS platform offers features such as versioning and secure product updates, making it a reliable and efficient choice for businesses. Migrating to multi-tenant WordPress is a straightforward process, and the full learning experience with easy-to-follow recipes ensures that businesses can make the transition smoothly.
If you’re running a WaaS or SaaS platform on WordPress Multisite and struggling with its limitations, it’s time to migrate to multi-tenant WordPress. The benefits are clear: better scalability, increased security, and a more efficient workflow. Don’t let the limitations of WordPress Multisite hold your business back. Make the switch to multi-tenant WordPress today and take your business to the next level.