WordPress Multisite Feature


WordPress 3.0 Multi Site History

August 5th, 2010 in WordPress 3.o Multi site by admin


In order to understand the WordPress Multi Site  feature, you will need to understand the history of WordPress and a previous product known as WordPress MU. The MU stands for Multi User. WordPress Multi Site is now what WordPress MU was.

Ah, but you’re thinking, “Wait… any WordPress installation can have multiple users.”  That is true. So what has made Multi User (or MU) so special? Multi User was special because each user for an MU site got his or her own “blog.” I’m calling these sub-sites. At this point, the term Multi User got very confusing. The guys at Automattic   (the company behind WordPress) wanted to find a better term for this concept of multiple blogs. The obvious name might have been “Multi Blog”…right? But no, WordPress has grown up. They now think of themselves as a CMS (don’t get me started here about the CMS question). The current incarnation of WordPress doesn’t just make blogs, it makes sites. So they took MY TERM “Multi Site.” Thanks for making my life miserable, guys. Now things are really getting confusing. So, the new term “Multi Site” which you might equate to “Multi Blog” was formally known as “Multi User.” Got it?

Now let’s take a look at what WordPress MU was and what its purpose was. The goal of WordPress MU was to create a site/service like WordPress.com In fact, WordPress.com started out as a WordPress MU installation. I would even go further to say that I think WordPress.com wouldn’t have existed without WordPress MU. It’s my guess that MU was created in order to create WordPress.com.

This became a huge headache for the development team because there were now two versions of WordPress to maintain, WordPress and WordPress MU. Every time an update was made to WordPress, the same changes had to be implemented to WordPress MU. One of the main goals of WordPress 3.0 was to eliminate WordPress MU and roll the MU functionality into WordPress itself. That was a pretty big task. It is one of the reasons it has taken this long to combine the two. Furthermore, that is why WordPress 3.0 does not seem to have many new features, despite how long it took to come out. For most users, the extra MU functionality will never be seen or used.

Author: admin

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January 18th, 2011

Thank you! I’m thinking of utilizing this feature for a problem I encountered while trying to design a new WP site with subpages…I appreciate all of your info on the topic.

[…] of shared WordPress installations meaning, you can share plugins and themes on any of your sites. History has it that the configuration setting known as WordPress Multisite was once called, WordPress […]

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