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Networks for WordPress
Best multi-network plugin? (13 posts)

  1. merkin51
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I'm about to setup a multisite network, which will need to have sub-networks in it. There are a few plugins which seem to do this, I was hoping some people out there have had experience of them and could give some reviews / guidance on which is the best. The ones in the WP repository are:

    Networks for WordPress: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/networks-for-wordpress/
    WP Multi Network: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-multi-network/

    Another one I found is:

    Networks+ : http://wpebooks.com/networks/

    Anyone tried these? Are there any big differences I should know about?

  2. aLan "Lan" Tait
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Here is my take on the issue... I am sure there are others...

    Networks for WordPress: Honestly, I just didn't get to work. It seems to want access to some server areas that my hosting account doesn't allow.

    Networks+ : Well, if you do not mind spending 30 bucks, maybe they would hold your hand (or wave theirs!). I usually find the paid stuff no better than the free stuff. Their site says...

    Networks+ allows you to have:

    * two or more networks in one install
    * nested subdomains
    * top-level domains with their own child sites
    * share users, plugisn and themes between them all

    NOTE: We do all of that on our system FREE plus we also have child sites without top-level domains... anything at all that has a unique domain/subdomain name. ALL WITHOUT Networks+

    WP Multi Network: Before WP3.1 WP Multi Network Ver 1.1 worked great, it was lean and clean, fast and easy. After 3.1 it (ver 1.1) was broken and the author seems to be doing little about it. However, there is in the SVN a version 1.2, sadly it still has a few bad link problems. To that end there is a version 1.3 attached to a trouble ticket.

    What We Use...

    We 40+ sites across about 3 dozen domain names (the rest are subdomains). We use WP Multi Network version 1.3 that I attached to this trouble ticket...

    http://plugins.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/1356

    You can download it there at the bottom, put it in your plugins folder and it works.

    If you want to read the boring details... try looking at what was changed here...

    http://alantait.net/2011/07/27/wp-multi-network-plugin-fix-for-wordpress/

    I have absolutely no problems with this on a standard hosting plan.

    My wife is asking this simple plug-in be forked and actively maintained and developed because it works so well with no problems. It is one of that simple things that adds so much...

  3. David Dean
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    aLan Tait, I'd love to hear what "server areas" you think Networks for WordPress needs access to. This is the first time I've heard of such a thing. I'd be happy to work with you on any issues you find, but categorical statements like that aren't helpful.

    Moreover, someone who is smart enough to bring WP Multi-Network up to date should be able to tell that these plugins are practically the same code. The only difference is that I have added some UI improvements and user-driven troubleshooting steps in response to issues reported by users.

  4. Bike
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    alan, david,

    It is completely unclear who uses/writes/updates which plugin. But Would it not be better to merge your code into one working plugin that can be considered ready and supported and available through the repository?

    It is a bit crazy to have to use a download in a trac ticket as the official plugin (not even mentioning the security aspect of that).

    Cooperation seems more fruitful than competition?
    Cheers

  5. woccax
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Even though, "Networks for WordPress" if working fully well for me, I fully second the final statement, it'd be great to unify things and end up with a single mature code base that turns out being well maintained. From my POV, "Networks for WordPress" is definitely working and obviously a solid foundation. So, if there are any open issues or missing features, I'd also suggest to look into augmenting it as required.

    HTH

    - woccax

  6. coreymj78
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    It's not that a plugin is only functional, it's whether or not it is supported as well, with some kind of commitment and dedication by the developer to continue updating it to be compatible with WordPress and other widely used plugins. If not, one day it will simply break and you'll have to either switch to another plugin, or commit suicide if there is nothing else similar to it available.

    Either way, bad business. Most of the time the paid plugins are a better choice, simply based on the fact that they can offer more support and are future proof, some with guarantees even. Well worth the money in my view.

    Based on this, I went with Networks+ and have no regretted it. Very easy to setup and their support is phenomenal. Real nice folks too. :)

  7. David Dean
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    coreymj78 - I think you'll find there has been no lack of support or updates for the free plugins, although I can really only speak for Networks, because that's the one I support.

    You're surely aware that paying for a plugin doesn't ensure continued support or updates. What will you do if development stops and the plugin stops working, even with a "guarantee" in place - sue the developer?

    At least with a free and open product, development can continue no matter what. The existence of WP Multi-Network is proof of the value of this system - if I had charged for its predecessor, that plugin would not exist. And neither, I suspect, would Networks+.

    Think about what kind of community you are fostering when you question the commitment and dedication of folks who DO make their code available for review and download, but presume the good intentions of those who hide their plugins behind a paywall.

  8. aLan "Lan" Tait
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Ok, let's play nice.

    Sorry I have been away for some time do to a number of things (not the least of which was the storm that killed a couple thousand people in the Philippines, hit just a couple miles from where my daughter and my grandkids live - they are fine now).

    David, "I" in my statement does not actually mean "me", it could and often does mean my wife. She has her own server she shares with a team (5 people). They wanted to do Multi-Networking and tried your plug in. To be sure I did not personally try it.

    It went something like this... My wife sort of expects that anytime she wants she can get free computer advice from me. I think she is likely right. However, I do not always pay that close of attention to the problem.

    It likely went "I have a problems with Networks for WordPress: Honestly, I just can't get it to work. It seems to want access to some server areas that my hosting account doesn't allow."

    Rather than actually listening to what she said, I handed her a flash drive with the file I am using (and had to fix) and said, "here, try this!" She did, it worked, end of story.

    My post was in reply to the OP's question about experience. My post was about my experience and what has happen to me (what I use and what others had asked me when they had a problem with your plugin.) Nothing more.

    Because you asked, I did go back and ask my wife's team what they had a problems with. Their reply was "ServerAlias directives or Host Headers!"

    That is basically all I know about their problem with your plugin. As to your code, well gee, all I know is 5 people couldn't figure it out and they came and asked me, I gave them what I use and they had no problems.

    As to your statement that the code is similar. Well, that is likely true enough. ALL code that does the same thing would have to be similar. Meaning folks, code you pay for or code you donate for, or get free is likely similar! (I think the HTTP stack in Windows is still free code that Microsoft uses for free! - But do not quote me!) Personally, I do not pay for any code, but I do donate a lot to people who write good clean code.

    Bike at face value I would agree with you. Especially about the trac ticket. I posted it hoping to get an update from the author. Sort of as a road map to making the plugin work. I am NOT the author or the maintainer. The update never happened, so I maintain it myself for my purpose and call it the TuKod (To Code) Multi-Network (for my own use).

    On the other hand Bike, something David said gave me pause...

    "The only difference is that I have added some UI improvements and user-driven troubleshooting steps in response to issues reported by users."

    That means more code, and more code can slow things down. I have NOT looked that David's code. But I can say there may be room for a clean and fast code, that guys like me would like, as well as a "we have an easy fix for any that goes wrong." I did not look at the code David has, but for me, bigger and easier is not the same as faster in a server that is heavily loaded.

    Plugins do bog down servers and WordPress websites. Many post are dedicated to that. A plugin that works fine at 100 pages an hour may not work so well at 100 pages a second. What I use is very light on the server, and that may or may not be a factor to someone else also. Again, I am not saying anything about David's code, other than it is a magnitude larger in size, to do all the extra things.

    As for paid software, honestly I have no idea what that is like, but I suspect it is counter productive. The LAST software I actually paid for was somewhere around 35 years ago... I guess that dates me a bit. Even then I rarely paid for software! I do know people who paid for software and got very little or no support or the company / person went belly up with code that cannot be updated... My own opinion is that is against paid software. I am fully Open Source.

    coreymj78 if you've got the money and it works for you, then good on you!

    To Code or not To Code, that is the question...

    I write code almost every day. A while back I was joking with someone about a highly modified theme, I jokingly called it "To Code" He wanted me to release it. My wife heard me talking and suggested that some of my better code modifications I do share with others. Now she speaks almost as many human languages as I speak computer languages, and informed me that "To Code" or "Tokod" in the other spelling, in her native language means to build, construct or support! So, I recently added the domainTuKod.com and will be posting there the WP stuff that I am using. The TuKod Multi-Network Plugin I will put there, as well as that "To Code Theme" and a few other things I use or am working on.

    I plan to make this a public project, that other people can contribute code to, and if others like it, maybe it will end up on WP.org. Because I use these and update them myself there should be some kind of support for the foreseeable future.

    It may be possible to merge the code with David's code, don't know, but I am not willing for slowdowns in the runtime side.

    That is the beauty of open source, if you are looking for something lean and compact, Tukod Multi-Network will likely do you. If you need something with more bells and whistles and able to fix past mistakes, but perhaps at the cost of more code, David seems eager to support his Networks. And if you want to pay someone because you think that is better, well, you have that option also.

    It would be nice if everything worked!

  9. David Dean
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    So glad to hear your daughter and grandkids are OK! It's such a small world.

    Since you are working on a multi-network plugin of your own, you ought to understand that no part of it is even in play on the runtime side. Multiple networks are a built-in feature of WordPress without an interface, so the question posed at the top of this thread is, quite literally, "which interface is better?"

    So rest assured that, unless you are creating or deleting a network, you will not experience any "slowdowns" from that interface no matter which one you choose.

    You also ought to understand that, in all likelihood, the plugin you are working on IS my code. The file you linked from alantait.net, above, most certainly is. My name is right there in the header. So if you're concerned it's too bulky, or that it runs too slowly, you should probably stop now. ;) I'm both proud of how useful that code has proven to so many, and gruff in that parental way at the headaches it has caused me.

    I sincerely wish you the best of luck in working on your plugin! And if you run into any issues with it, please share them! After all - It's in everyone's best interest to have the best experience and the fewest bugs. :)

  10. coreymj78
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    @david, Dude, my intention was not to criticize or anything, and whether networks+ began as your original code or not, my only intention was to state my experience which has simply been that the plugin developers who charge something (so they can earn at least the amount of income needed to continue updates and support of their product) also usually have more freedom and time to continue development of their plugins, making them better and better. Even the plugins I use which are free, I have also taken the time to donate to the authors of those plugins for this very reason.

    No reason to get snippy. lol

  11. merkin51
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Well, I've been using Networks for WordPress for the last 4 months or so, and it's perfect... I've not had any trouble at all, and my client sub-networks are running really nice and smoothly. The plugin has some more advanced functions to it, which I find helpful.

    If the core functionality of these plugins is built on a "hidden" core functionality of WordPress, and all the plugins pretty much work the same, I guess that suggests that no matter what plugin you use, there shouldn't be any problems in the future. Unless, I guess, WordPress decide to scrap the functionality in the future?

  12. coreymj78
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Yes im going to test this but im pretty sure I can use backupbuddy to export a sub-site (from a sub-network) and then re-import that site into a newly created sub-network for the purpose of building a new client site, thus using an entire sub-network as a client site template complete with a set of commonly used plugins and features.

    Has anyone else used this process of production?

  13. eternalnow
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    How did that work for you Corey? Is it possible?

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