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Multi-Site manager plugin to Domain mapping plugin switch (62 posts)

  1. cafespain
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Hi, I've previously been using the Multi-Site manager plugin to add new site domains for various bits and pieces.

    I was wondering if anyone has switched to the Domain mapping plugin and whether they noticed any problems with the switch.

    Is there any benefit for me switching? Or reasons not too?

    Thanks all

  2. VentureMaker
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I second this question :)
    Would be willing to know the most comfortable domain mapping solution.

  3. lunabyte
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Really depends on specifically what you would like to accomplish.

    Multi-site, is exactly that. It makes another site (on a different domain) within your MU scope, with it's own site settings as well.

    Donncha's plugin allows a blog to remain as part of the original site, and is mapped in domain only.

  4. kschmidgall
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I have a WPMU-driven site with 5 blogs. All five URL's start with the same IP. I now need to change that IP to a new domain name.

    For a standard WP blog, I have previously followed this guide (which was perfect!):

    I was intrigued by Cafespain's mention of the domain mapping plugin and was wondering if that would essentially do what I need it to (redirect (map?) all instances of '' on all five blogs to '').

    Thanks in advance for your time and effort in helping me!

  5. cafespain
    Posted 14 years ago #

    At the moment I've used the multi-site plugin to get wpmu running with various main domains, which is fine as I want them to be distinct sites (e.g.,,, etc..), capable of having their own sub-domains.

    Now, if I understand correctly, the domain mapping plugin will allow me to have the sub-domains of a "main domain", e.g. also have their own domain, e.g. "". But will this work with existing "Multi-site" created domains? or is it better for me to switch everything across to the domain mapping plugin? I don't really need the separate admin settings for each "site/main domain" which lunabyte mentions.

    Sorry if I'm confusing the issue, I haven't had much coffee today.

  6. lunabyte
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Honestly, I haven't personally tried them together. However, edging out onto the limb carefully, I don't see a reason why both couldn't work together, allowing for sub.maindomain1.tld to become my-blog.tld, or sub.maindomain2.tld to become my-site.tld.

    Each mapped site should retain their site_id characteristics, etc.


    I would think that a clean start would be better, so that you don't end up with a snowball type effect. If it were me, I'd say get the IP's converted to a domain (or subdomain, depending on your setup) and then work with mapping those to top level domains.

  7. kschmidgall
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Thanks Lunabyte! How would you go about 'getting the IP's converted'?

    To be clear: Currently the five blogs are just subdirectories of the main blog (ie,, etc)...which is how I'd like to keep, not sure I understand why/if I'd need to 'map them to top level domains'...

    I'm sorry if I'm being's just a product of my being confused. :)

  8. lunabyte
    Posted 14 years ago #

    You can go 1 of three routes, since you only have a couple of blogs to worry about.

    a) Use PhpMyAdmin, or similar GUI based app, and browse through your db tables. Replacing the IP with a domain. For example, replacing with domain.tld (note, no www, or anything else).

    b) You can do a dump of your database, then open it in a text editor, and do a search/replace. Then, copy the current db to a new db, drop the tables from the current db, and import your modified dump file.

    c) A mixture of both a and b. You make a dump file of your db, then open it in a text editor. Do a search for the IP address, note what table it's in, then modify it in PhpMyAdmin (or similar GUI, or even command line MySQL if you prefer).

    Option c being the "safest" of the two, if you're not super comfy with SQL.

  9. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I have, this weekend actually. And on a LOT of blogs, like around a hundred.

    There's only two reasons to use the MultiSite plugin over the Domain mapping plugin. one, you want multiple Sites (the ability to have sub-blogs off each domain) or two - you're in a subfolder install and need individual domains (domain mapping plugin doesn't work in a subfolder install)

    Mostly what you need to do is some fancy SQL.
    Change all the site_id's to 1
    Add the domain records to the domain mapping table.

    I'm just going from foggy memory here, so I may have missed a step.

  10. kschmidgall
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Thanks so much Lunabyte! I will take your advice, go with 'c' and let you know how I get on (tomorrow). :)

    Really appreciate your help!

  11. cafespain
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I'm going to play with this at the weekend, and will report (or sob) back :)

  12. kschmidgall
    Posted 14 years ago #


    Lunabyte, thanks for your help and time! As you suggested, I went through the database and changed all instances of the IP to the new domain and it worked like a charm!

    For future readers of this thread, I followed these instructions to a T and they worked perfectly.

    *Note that for WPMU you need to do all the steps for all the blogs you want to change the domain for (in my case, 5).

    You also will need to change entries in the 'wp-usermeta' and 'wp-blogs' tables, which isn't explicitly mentioned in the codex instructions...

    Anyway, thanks everyone for reading and helping!!

  13. jacco
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I am still very confused to understand the difference between "WordPress MU Domain Mapping" and "MU Multi-Site" plugins. Looks like the discussion is side tracked or I got lost completely....

    Any kind heart who knows the difference can you please give some examples to illustrate?

    Say I have WPMU installed on; established the second blog at Now how do I map to the second blog?

    How do I create email accounts for Do I ever need to do the mapping on cpanel? Or one of those plugins will take care of that?

  14. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    In the briefest sense, they do the exact same thing.


    The Domain Mapping plugin by Donncha is better.

  15. realsol
    Posted 14 years ago #

    OK. I have to jump in here. Maybe you can correct my mistakes.

    I also had started a thread about the same thing. I was moving to another host and thought that would be the perfect time to start up domain mapping rather than site manager. I have a main site, which really isn't anything but the main domain that is being hosted. I am hosting 2 of my own business, a personal site, 4 personal sites for my kids and friends, and one for my oldest son, who needed

    I was a little nervous, because domain mapping is in early development and Donncha mention's something on his site about 'remote login' being a problem, but I never understood what that meant.

    I decided to leave my businesses alone, and leave them on 'sites'. I also setup my older son as a site because he wanted subs. I then setup my personal site as a 'site', but stuck everyone else as a blog under my personal site and used domain mapping for those. Thus, making my personal site really a true WordPress MU model.

    Everything was fine, but then strange things started happening. I would be cruise to sites just browsing the web, see thing I would want to change for their sites, and go into the admin area. I would then start getting messages saying I didn't have permission while in the admin area. This was strange since I was the site admin and very confusing. Was it the remote thing biting me?

    I finally figured out that I needed to go back to the main 'site', my personal site, and go to Site Admin > Blogs > Backend and then I could do anything. But if I forgot this, I would sometimes start getting the errors.

    The other sites, my kids really don't do much, so everything else seemed fine. But when my middle son decided to start working on his site, he also started getting errors that he couldn't do things even though he was the blog admin.

    So I finally moved him back to a site from a blog (which was not a joy to do but I would be happy to start another blog on how to do this without editing any of the databases). He now can do what he wants.

    My oldest son wants subs so he can start hosting his friends domains using domain manager, but I am now worried he is going to run into the same problems that I did.

    So, what are the 'real' limitations of a mapped domain? I wish I could tell you. What I do know is if it is a 'site', I have never had these problems. Or, this is weird, if it is a mapped domain blog, but there is a site created with the same domain name with no blogs of its own, that seems to work flawlessly.

    I just wish I could grasp the whole thing prior to one of my kids, and now my mom, wanting to get active again while their sites are mapped blogs.

    Please, if Donncha is watching, could you please explain the difference, and why I had permission problems, and what the heck remote login is?


  16. mrarrow
    Posted 14 years ago #

    As someone who has always happily used the Multisite Manager plugin, no one has yet given me a proper answer as to why this plug in is so bad. I just don't get it - it works and it does the job - fact! I've now got 12 sites with sub domains off each one, and it just simply works.

    From what I understand, with the Domain Mapping Plugin, whilst you can have multiple top level sites, you can only have sub domains off the first top level site (not off each one, which is how I've got it).

    But if this is all you want then go for it. I know I wouldn't switch (due to multiple site sub domains) and would be wary about doing such a migration in any case - especially when everything is working fine as it is!

  17. realsol
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Thanks for replying mrarrow.

    I really like the idea of domain mapping with sub domains are not required for that domain. For me, it is easier to maintain than a site. Setting up a site, with allowed permissions and plugins can be a time consuming process.

    Blogs on the other hand are, too me anyhow, a lot easier to setup and maintain, and have default values set from the get go.

    I just really need to understand the difference when it comes to user permissions, from a blog vs. a blog in its own site.

    If someone could explain why I was having a problem with logins (see above 'long' description), please let me know.

  18. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    "I just don't get it - it works and it does the job - fact! I've now got 12 sites with sub domains off each one, and it just simply works."

    If it works fine for you and your setup - great! :) No, really, I mean it.

    But if someone asks my advice, then I'm going to give an honest answer. I've had experience with the MSM in at least two different commercial applications. In one, it was flat out one issue after another and was just too unpredictable after setting up 20+ sites, and in the second - well, on your 12 sites that might be fine, but on 100+ blogs there were issues. Also, on the second, it wasn't installed correctly (not be me) and that led to more issues.

    Do note as well, that the blog ID given to a Site in the backend menu will eventually not line up with the actual blog ID saved in the database tables.

    "I would be cruise to sites just browsing the web, see thing I would want to change for their sites, and go into the admin area. I would then start getting messages saying I didn't have permission while in the admin area. This was strange since I was the site admin and very confusing."

    This is exactly the problem I was also having with the MSM plugin. Sometimes I could access the site admin menu, but after setting up more blogs the exact same way - no site admin access.

    The remote login issues Donncha was talking about refers to his plugin only, and I *think* only if you just do the mapping and not the part I suggest about editing the blog fields. It may be in "early" development, but since he's the main and only developer of WPMU, I think he know what he's doing, and he has said it has the parts from the method that he was allowed to share. Early dev in his case just means his first run at it.

    I'm not tossing these opinions lightly. I've run both through some heavy use, on different domains, on different servers, for different clients.

  19. realsol
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Andrea_r. Thanks for the reply.

    I actually want domain mapping to work for me as I only have a few sites that need sub.blogs under them.

    When I as having an issue with the permission problems, it was a mapped domain, it was not a site. But... I failed to mention, the mapped domain was off of my personal blog, which was a 'site' managed by site manager. Maybe that is my problem.

    What I should do, from the sound of it, is if I am going to use Domain Manager, make sure I only use it off of my Main MU domain, not a domain that is being managed by Site Manager. Sound right? Maybe my problem wasn't domain mapping, but the fact it was a a mapped domain off of a site managed by site manager. whew.

  20. gio50000
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I'm currently hosting my WP MU site with Media Temple's Grid Service hosting option. My goal is to host multiple websites with unique domain names. I will pay someone to assist me with configuring the Domain Mapping plugin ( with Media Temple.

    Contact me via email at info at


  21. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    "Maybe my problem wasn't domain mapping, but the fact it was a a mapped domain off of a site managed by site manager. "

    That'd be my guess.

    "I will pay someone to assist me with configuring the Domain Mapping plugin "

    Hey venturemaker, get this one? :D

  22. realsol
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Well, I went ahead and mapped the domain off of the main MU site now. I will let you know how it goes. I am not even going to tell my son. Let just see if he runs into problems with permissions.

    If I just understood what Donncha means about the remote stuff. Does anyone know?

  23. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I think he meant the XML-RPC stuff, for remote posting (as in, you type up an email on your cell phone and get it to post to your blog).

    Which, actually does work if you edit the fields in the Blog -> Edit area like I've suggested, and that are not in the original instructions. :)

  24. realsol
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Ah, thanks Andrea.

    I am hoping that you can answer my next question.

    I want to make my main blog handle all of my sub domain blogs for hosting. But I originally setup my main blog as one of my business's and I don't want to use its domain as the main domain. I want to purchase another domain and make it the main one.

    Here are the steps I was planning on doing:

    1. Register and point it to my WordPress MU installation.
    2. Backup my main domain (, so I can later create a new blog for it.
    3. Go to Site > admin > > edit and change all urls to point to the
    3. Create a new blog called and upload my old database to it.
    4. Use domain mapping on the to map it to my

    Thus, still keeping my main blog #1 primary. I figure, unless WordPress MU doesn't it automatically, I will have to go to each individual blog > edit and change their urls to use

    Does this sound like it will fly?

  25. ddean
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I am the author of the Multi-Site Manager plugin. As much as I hate to go OT on this thread, I have to say that I just don't get the hatred that andrea_r has for this plugin, which is essentially UI for a built-in function of WPMU.

    I wrote this over two years ago and released it so others could use what was an often requested feature. It works perfectly well for my organization and many others. While I don't have the time to constantly update it or to go around forums defending it, I am happy to fix any reported issues.

    It is unfortunate that WPMU DEV decided to remove comments from project pages. Until I find a suitable replacement, please email me any issues you find. My address can be found on the project's page.

  26. realsol
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I have no real problems with MSM. It has worked great for my on the 8 sites I have setup. The problem I had was when I mixed in Domain Mapping. I would start to have permission problems, both as a Site Admin and as a user.

    I don't blame this on MSM. I don't blame this on Domain Mapping. I can't speak for Andrea, but for me, I think the problem came when I mixed the two. I wish I knew.

    ddean, maybe you could answer this then. I want to setup a hosting domain off of my main MU as a site with site manager and allow from that. This site would not be the main MU site. But if a user wants to register his/her domain rather than accepting the sub.domain, I was going to use domain mapping for that blog.

    Do you know if this would work. From my experiences I have had permission problems both a site admin and user. This is why I was thinking about moving this domain to the top #1 blog of MU.

    You say it works great for you, but do you use domain mapping with it, or create individual sites each time you want to host a new top level domain?

    And Andrea, or anyone, please look at my earlier post on changing the top blog url. Thanks.

  27. kaanb
    Posted 14 years ago #


    Although this thread gives valuable information on multi site usage of WPMU, I still needed to ask and confirm the feasibility of our use case and get some suggestions for the right direction to set up our desired architecture. Since I have very little experience with WPMU, forgive me if I'm asking something already answered or just obvious in the forums.

    We are developing a Social Networking platform based on Open Social. (ie. an open social container)

    We would like to add blogging feature to our solution, and we evaluated Word Press MU as a potential solution. And with some PHP developers in our team we had a proof of concept in rendering a WPMU blog inside a gadget, so it looks promising.

    We need to install WPMU for serving multiple blogs for many sites. In our platform site/network owners can create sites in the form of sub domains such as . There will be many of those sub domains. And if site owners chose to offer blogging for their community each member of their SN site will have blog like (Kaan is a member of wpmucommunity SN).

    Each site owner should become admin of all the blogs of that sub domain. (ie. can moderate members' blogs, ban them etc.)

    Sub domains (=individual SN sites) can have different themes and plugins offered to their own members.

    WPMU should have some sort of SSO with the platform and should share the user base. That is; site owners and members will be registered to the platform and they will become users of WPMU, and once they login to the platform they also login to their blogs without signing in again.

    Is such kind of a set up feasible with WPMU? Or a plug in needed such as Multi Site or Domain mapping.

    If you can give us some thoughts/directions on how to achieve this, it would help us in our decision to go with WPMU (or at least how far we can go with it)

    Thanks and Regards,
    Kaan Bingol

  28. keithllc
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Im having a small issue when I try to download multi site manager. When I save the file it is not in a zip folder and I can only open it as a text document and the file size is only 44.6 KB. Does anyone else have this issue?

  29. thelaw
    Posted 14 years ago #

    The text document is the multisite manager file itself. It's a .php file and that's all you need, place it in your wp-content folder and you're done. It will appear in your admin menu.

    ddean - the problem I have with the Multisite plugin is that there is virtually do documentation about what everything does and how to easily implement, including troubleshooting. On your site there is only a "premium" pay option - not to begrudge you, but I'd like to see this thing work first and it has caused me a tremendous amount of grief.

    For starters, in the notes section on the downloads are in the WP download notes area, the suggestion to comment out the line below makes my WPMU install completely unusuable and I get a WPMU not installed error:

    // define('DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', 'current_site_domain' );

    Regarding donncha's domain manager, it would be a great one to use but will ONLY work on sites using subdomains, not blogs in subdirectories such as was recommended by many since ministies in subdomains may not be listed in the "content pot" of the primary domain by search engines. This is why we avoided the subdomain setup. Multisite manager has not yet been up and running for us.

  30. andrea_r
    Posted 14 years ago #

    "since minisites in subdomains may not be listed in the "content pot" of the primary domain by search engines."

    Subdomains are seen as separate sites by search engine, yes. If you have a subdirectory set of mu, then the blogs will be seen as part of the whole site.

    But then the questions begs to be asked: If you're adding separate domains to at least some of the sub-blogs, they'll be seen as separate sites anyway - because of the completely different domain.

    Google can't tell it's part of the same site then. So why use a subdirectory setup?

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About this Topic

  • Started 14 years ago by cafespain
  • Latest reply from ulhaspa