WordPress MU Experiment Fails

I’ve decided regretfully that WordPress MU is not suitable for our application. It apparently does what it is designed for well. Unfortunately what it does is not what I want done.

WPMU is a wrapper around WordPress that allows a single WP installation to support ridiculous numbers of blogs in a single DNS tree. That is Fredsblog.example.com and Gailsblog.example.com and on and on. What I want is a cms to help me run mackhillfarm.com and textualforests.com and therichards.org and several others. The WPMU FAQ and puffery implies that this is easy. It is not.

There are howtos and even a plugin. The plugin randomly drops ‘.’s when creating read-only strings. The howtos list every setting the writer had to change. (95% of the time by editing the database in phpMyAdmin or the like.) Of course my setup always needed something else as well. And the WPMU dev team, despite being the source of the puffery, is snooty rather than helpful.

I’ve googled around, and all of the CMS suitable for sites with a few thousand hits a day are in roughly equivalent states. eg Drupal seems to have the multi-site thing working, but its’ blog capabilities are not quite mediocre, and the dev team is planning to get around to upgrading them first thing in 2012.

So I’ll be going back to installing WordPress once per site. Boring, but safe.

7 thoughts on “WordPress MU Experiment Fails”

  1. I have no idea what you said, but since your here I assume it means your back up and running. In that case Welcome Back.

  2. Hi Frank, I’m always collecting ideas on how to make a better, more intuitive CMS, that doesn’t make assumptions about what your site is supposed to be (e.g. blog, forum, etc.) I’d be interested to know what your “feature list” would be, and also any server/hosting restrictions (can you run your own daemons, etc.)

    Reed, a random reader

  3. Reed,

    The server is under my desk, so I can do anything I can figure out how to do.

    The big think I want from a CMS is the ability to support multiple sites with one installation. Upgrading 6 copies of WordPress is not my idea of a fun evening. That means real sites too…example1.com example2.com example3.org, not dev staging and production.

    I don’t need a lot of workflow. This site with a coming soon shopping cart is as big as I’m likely to need. Also, content just accumulates: there’s rarely reason to pull anything back.

    WP is a little weak on page handling, which isn’t surprising since it’s an afterthought. It’s far better than the nothing we used before.

    I’m not sure you can or make an all round perfect CMS. The page handlers are lame on both blogs and forums, WP and Movable Type have lame page handling and no forums, and all the forums that don’t suck are forums only. (And the best aren’t actually better than many a high school kids’ BBS in 1988. It’s that stateless thing versus a stateful login.)

    Photo galleries are another specialty product, although just giving Flickr $25/year is working great for us.

  4. Yeah, I’ve found that anything that’s easy to use like WordPress is just a big PHP hack, and everything else like a real CMS just requires too much setup and configuration and has a big learning curve that isn’t worth the time. I wish there was something in between.

  5. I fear it’s worse than that. I’ve only worked with one of the high end jobbers. However this one not only had the high license fees, and the steep learning curve, it also required twice the work to load an article that the free ones do.

    Add to this that Java still requires internationalization strings made into u432u453u433 (which is three random cyrillic letters) LAMP just doesn’t look that bad.


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