In the beginning, we set up a WordPress website to act as our public-facing site for Ten-321 Enterprises. As somewhat of an experiment, we set it up as a multisite installation, even though the main Ten-321 website was initially the only site in the network.
As WordPress projects came along, though, we would add a new site to the network and do all of our development (plugins, custom themes, etc.) in that new site on the Ten-321 network. At first, this was no big issue. However, over time, we’ve been slowly adding and adding to our main network; and it started to become a bit unwieldy after a while.
In addition to the fact that we now had somewhere between 25 and 50 separate sites set up within the Ten-321 WordPress network, we also had all of the plugins and themes that went along with those various sites. Even though the main Ten-321 Enterprises site only uses about 10 plugins and one theme, we had around 150 plugins installed and approximately 30 different themes.
In addition, with the current setup, any testing we ever did could really only be tested in a multisite environment.
This weekend, we began a spring cleaning process (in the fall), and started to reorganize the entire system we use for client development and testing.
To start, we purchased a new domain name. We then set up a new WordPress Multisite installation on that new domain and created a new site within that network. On that first site, we removed all posts, pages, media, links, etc. so that it’s a completely empty site. Then, we installed Ron & Andrea Rennick’s “WP Replicator” and set things up so that that empty site is used as the template for any new site created within the network. On this network/domain, wildcard subdomains are enabled, so that we can quickly roll out new test sites without waiting for things to propagate.
Then, we offloaded around 15 sites from the main Ten-321 network onto the new network; and deleted a handful of other sites from the main Ten-321 network. At the moment, we are down to a svelte seven sites on the main network, with four more of those in the process of being removed from the main network (two of them are extraneous sites that we don’t currently know what to do with; and two of them are copies of sites that we offloaded, but there were some minor issues with the data that was transferred). We also were able to remove about 75 plugins from the main network (we used the Multisite Plugin Stats plugin to determine which plugins are still being used, so we could remove all of the others), and will eventually get down to a total of 3 themes installed and active.
When all is said and done, the main network will consist of the main Ten-321 Enterprises website, the Ten-321 Plugins website and the Ten-321 Framework website.
Then, within the ten-321.com domain name, we also have a few subdomains configured for our SVN repositories (which are not managed through WordPress), a subdomain set up for a single WordPress installation (so we can test plugins on single WP setups, rather than assuming that anything working on multisite will also work on standard installs) and a temporary subdomain configured for a new project we are investigating.
All client work will be offloaded to the new domain, leaving a much cleaner, more manageable network for us to use for our public-facing websites.