Support » Networking WordPress » Is multisite right for keeping users in a sandbox?

  • Hope this is the right place… WordPress newbie here.

    I am moving an existing web site for a school and considering WordPress. One of the capabilities we need is for non-techie teachers to be able to add content to the site by having their own classroom pages. For example, right now classroom pages aren’t hosted on our site at all; the teachers all have Google Apps accounts and use Google Sites to build a site, and we just link to it. Effective, but kinda ugly.

    I’m trying to figure out how, in WordPress, we can let teachers each publish content (have a blog if they want, create pages in a hierarchy, etc.) but keep the site theme consistent AND eliminate risk that changes made by a teacher can mess up the main site, as well as simplifying things for teachers by hiding all the main site gobbledygook.

    Multisite seems like a good way to put each classroom page in a “sandbox”, yet administer the overall “look and feel” centrally.

    Am I on the right track, or are there other ways of accomplishing this task in WordPress that I’m not aware of as a WP newbie?

    Thanks for your advice!

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    🏳️‍🌈 Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep

    Multisite would make it so you could sandbox their content, but remember Multisite is making separate sites.

    The idea is someone (them) would be the admin, who could edit their own site, change widgets, etc. Not change the theme, but customize it.

    Thanks. I realized they end up being separate sites, and in fact if a classroom “site” is customized a bit that’s fine. Most will likely not go beyond throwing up a new header image or changing some colors (and I can work with ones who know enough to do more).

    That actually raises an administration question, though. My understanding is that the Network admin can set/update the themes for the sites. But if I want to make a customization to a site (e.g. add a new post type or page template), is there any way to push that easily to all the sites? Or would I have to go to all [i]n[/i] sites (in this case, between 5 and 14) and make that customization [i]n[/i] times?

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    🏳️‍🌈 Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep

    If you edit the theme’s code, it’s automatically pushed to all sites, since they’re using the same code 🙂

    Okay, one more newbie question to make sure I understand how it all works.

    Mods to the theme’s actual code go to all sites that use that theme. But any options changed or content added–including menus, layout choices, colors selected through the theme interface–would not be propagated. Correct?

    So if I wanted all the sites to have common colors, menus etc. I’d have to hard-code them in the theme PHP and CSS files (or go to each site individually and make them match).

    Am I understanding it correctly?

    If so, is there a way (some Multisite plugin?) to keep such changes synced up easily?

    Yes, you are understanding correctly. I think you could just setup some default settings in your theme though, and then they could change them from the defaults.

    There is also this: but I’ve never used it and don’t know if it works for theme options or just plugins.

    Oh and as for the menus, we have a menu that is static between most of our sites with a few exceptions – so we made a plugin for that menu that we can throw into the widget position on sites that share the menu and can just put a regular menu widget in on the sites that need something custom.

    A menu plugin sounds like a good idea. So if you need to change the “master” menu, you just update the plugin and all the sites now have the new master menu?

    Yes, just change the plugin, test, then push the change to your live site and you’re good to go. be sure everyone knows that menu is in a plugin though or they’ll be confused when they go looking for it in the menu screen 🙂

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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