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Scaling Strategy (11 posts)

  1. markb1439
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I'm wondering if anyone is willing to provide some input and suggestions, as we're wrestling with some strategy decisions.

    We are launching a WP multisite system. There won't be any community features or other interaction among sites. Each user's sites will be individual and stand alone.

    With this in mind, we're debating three strategies:

    1) ONE GIANT MULTISITE (set up a big, scalable installation and let it grow)

    Advantages:
    - Only updating one set up plugins, themes, etc.
    - Only paying for one LiteSpeed license, etc.

    Disadvantages:
    - Complex, expensive setup (especially since it will take a while to build)
    - All eggs in one basket...if one server goes down or gets hacked, all clients are affected

    2) INDIVIDUAL SERVERS (individual servers, each hosting a set number of sites...when one server reaches the set resource level, we just add another server to the cluster).

    Advantages:
    - Not putting all eggs in one basket
    - Modular approach
    - Ability to offer clients a choice of different geographic server locations

    Disadvantages:
    - More maintenance required (although possibly offset by not having to maintain complex giant multisite)
    - Paying for more LiteSpeed licenses, etc. (however we'll use large servers to minimize this)
    - Need to update multiple servers when themes and plugins updated (not a terribly big deal)

    3) MULTIPLE SERVER CLUSTERS (a few smaller clustered multisite setups, maybe spanning 3-4 servers each)

    Advantages:
    - Maintaining fewer systems than in strategy #2 (although managing this might be more complex overall)
    - Paying for fewer LiteSpeed licenses, etc., than strategy #2

    Disadvantages:
    - Fairly complex, expensive setups
    - Still putting all eggs in a few big baskets

    Also, no matter what, it is always best to have the database(s) on a separate server, or is that only optimal after the installation reaches a certain size?

    Any feedback would be appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Mark

  2. I don't know if this will help you, but WordPress.com is running on MultiSite.

  3. markb1439
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I don't know if this will help you, but WordPress.com is running on MultiSite.

    Thank you. I thought that WP.com runs with multisite, thanks for confirming. However, we'll be different in that we don't need to create a community the way WP.com does. Each site in our system will stand alone, and there won't be aggregated content on our home page, etc.

    So that's why we're still debating...it's not as necessary for us to use one giant multisite installation, although we also see the benefits.

    Tough choice...any additional feedback would be appreciated. :-)

  4. Each site in our system will stand alone, and there won't be aggregated content on our home page, etc.

    Define stand alone?

    I was referring to WP.com as a size referential, though ;) To point out how big it could get. Also there are a lot of blogs hosted off wordpress.com that don't LOOK like they are. Like wordpress.tv, blogs for CNN, Time, etc etc. So you can easily omit the community part (extra easy, since they did it as an add-on) and go really big.

    Saying "Complex, expensive setup (especially since it will take a while to build)" with regards to WP MultiSite strikes me as a bit odd. It doesn't take any more time to build out 700 sites on MultiSite as it would on Single. Actually, probably less if you picked up a replicator plugin. It's not complex, once you've set it up once, either. That first hurdle's the high one.

  5. markb1439
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Define stand alone?

    Each user will purchase a hosting package and set up their site (kind of like regular web hosting but with the benefits of multisite...plugins, themes, etc.). Each site will be an individual site, and not linked with the rest of the network in any way.

    So, since we don't need the community part, we wonder if we need to put all the eggs in one basket...or if we should build multiple separate installations.

    Saying "Complex, expensive setup (especially since it will take a while to build)" with regards to WP MultiSite strikes me as a bit odd. It doesn't take any more time to build out 700 sites on MultiSite as it would on Single.

    We're not building all the sites. We're just providing a place for hosting clients to build their own sites. What I meant was that it might be easier to build and maintain a few separate multisite instances, as opposed to creating one giant installation and dealing with all the complexities involved with that. It's very easy to set up a single multisite installation on a single server.

    But it's much harder to set up and maintain a giant multisite install that spans multiple servers. There are multiple layers of setup and maintenance required just to make the multiple servers work together, not to mention issues of latency when there are separate database servers and data is being moved all around...not to mention reliability issues because a problem on one server can affect everything.

    That's what I was talking about in regard to complexity. Still undecided though. :-)

  6. Yeah, this is really an edge case (I could argue it both ways, I think).

    What sort of features do you want your users to have with their hosting packages?

  7. markb1439
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    What sort of features do you want your users to have with their hosting packages?

    Themes, plugins, performance (via our servers and LiteSpeed), security, etc.

  8. So, since we don't need the community part,

    Then don't add it because any of their (wp.com's) community features are not built in.

    If you;re looking to offer something comparable to wp.com VIP hosting, then go for multisite.

    If your clients expect to be able to access cpanel or something outsdie the WP backend, go for separate install.

  9. markb1439
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Hi Andrea,

    We're definitely going with multisite, as we want to offer themes, plugins and other stuff already installed and configured (especially good for novice users). These clients won't expect cPanel or anything else like that.

    So we're sold on multisite, just not sure whether to put it all in a big basket or several smaller baskets.

    One advantage of separate "baskets" would be that we can offer clients their choice of hosting locations (servers in San Jose, Chicago, New York, London, etc.).

    Mark

  10. You'll need something (another plugin) to have the stuff configured for you as multisite does not configure plugins / themes out of the box.

    If you're offering different servers in different locations, then you *have* to have multiple installs.

    Otherwise, for only one you'd be replicating the whole thing out to all servers and there's little point in offering a specific location when everything would be in all places.

  11. markb1439
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    You'll need something (another plugin) to have the stuff configured for you as multisite does not configure plugins / themes out of the box.

    Sorry, I didn't explain myself fully enough. We will configure the themes, plugins, etc., etc. It will be a carefully created environment.

    If you're offering different servers in different locations, then you *have* to have multiple installs.

    Right. If we did the "one big install" we know we'd lose this ability.

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