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[sticky] [closed] Is MU Right For Me? (1 post)

  1. lunabyte
    Posted 17 years ago #

    I'm going to throw the newbies to MU a bone here. With the rash of topics lately, that to be honest shouldn't need be asked due to their being rather simple for someone desiring to run their own server, I'm going to help you out in your decision.

    I've taken a lot of consideration to this over the past weeks and months, and put a lot of thought into this post. It might kill someones dreams of easy, big bucks, but you'll probably thank me in the long run.

    Running MU is not "simple", and it's not intended to be a get rich quick set-up of out of the box. You need certain skills to be able to successfully run, maintain, and support an MU installation.

    Of these skills, you'll need to not necessarily be an expert, but be comfortable with them. If you are working with someone as a collaboration, then the skills should be present overall through the group to get the job done.

    You should have a good foundation with: Php; Mysql, and not just PhpMyAdmin, but command line as well; HTML; CSS; Server Administration and configuration, Note that the download page says APACHE, the ability to use tools like the error_log in Apache, other error logs (mail, etc), and be able to look up common error messages through google or use this sites search page before posting the same question that has been asked a dozen times already.

    As a note, when searching, if the post is 6 months old or more since the last reply, be aware that a fix in it may no longer apply since the code base changes very frequently.

    I should also add to that list, the ability to provide enough information about your problem so that someone can help you. If it is something that is simple, been covered a lot, or something that you should simply be able to diagnose/correct yourself, don't be surprised if your thread sits for a long time while others are answered, or you get a "search the forums" kind of response.

    As this is a volunteer driven community, "most" volunteers that hang around don't have the time (nor patience) to spoon feed new users, so that we can assist those that really need it. If you don't know how to change your theme, design your theme, or change "link colors", MU probably isn't for you.

    Also, a very solid foundation in WordPress is a must. You need to know what is a core WP function/ability/action/interface, so that you know how to not only help your users use the service, but also in reporting of actual bugs/problems to the correct TRAC location. MU has a trac, and so does WordPress. Submitting a WP issue to MU only wastes our developers time (hi D!) when he has to move it to the main WP trac and could instead be coding up some more magic for MU.

    You need to ask yourself a few simple questions, to fully decide if MU is right for you.

    Question 1:
    Are you using this just for you, to save some time updating, or maybe for you and a couple of friends? In other words, what are you planning to do with MU?

    If the answer is yes, or anything other than running a full scale blog network, MU may not be the answer.

    Instead, why not simply use WordPress, using my multiple domain hack instead. While I used an example with multiple domains, a domain is a domain. Whether it's a sub-domain or whatever.

    If even that simple modification is too "difficult to understand", run, don't walk, right over to and get a blog there.

    Question 2:
    OK, you want to run a blog network. Cool. Do you have the skills to run it successfully?

    Not meaning success as in # of users, but as in being able to provide a solid service. This means a solid operational environment, supporting users with questions, and being able to diagnose/correct/implement the things you need.

    Yes, everyone has a point in time when they need to discuss an issue. Link colors or html, or something very basic doesn't constitute a true issue. Nor does an inability to properly read and follow the directions. Yes, that's what that readme file in the main package directory is for.

    Question 3:
    Do you have the resources to support it?

    MU is not exactly the kind of software to be run through shared hosting with more than a handful of users. If you plan on having hundreds, or thousands, or more users, you're going to have to get a dedicated box, and maybe several down the road for your service to run successfully. There's a few running around here that have reached this level, and they'll tell you the same thing.

    You may find an occasional instance of MU with a couple hundred blogs running on shared hosting, but wouldn't it really, really suck to get kicked off? And they'll do it, too. And you may not be able to get a backup to move with. Oops! Lost faith from your users. Not good. Not good at all.

    Next, moving it isn't exactly a quick process, either.

    Also, if MU is designed to be run from the main publicly available directory. AKA your root directory, public html, htdocs directory, etc. If you have a website there, you CAN integrate that to run as your main site in MU. You need to get a little creative with templates, but that shouldn't be a big deal.

    If you want to use subdomains, it especially need to be in the root. Installing it in a subdirectory, and expecting it to be in the root by the looks of the url isn't feasible. Also, your links will look like either "username.domain.tld/subdir/", or "domain.tld/subdir/username/" as a base. If you use a subdomain as the install point of MU, it would look like "username.sub.domain.tld" or "sub.domain.tld/username/", and even worse with "username.sub.domain.tld/subdir/" or "sub.domain.tld/subdir/username/" if you installed it in a subdirectory as well.

    To put it short, domains are cheap. Get another domain if you have to, and make sure you don't add that domain as an "add-on" domain. It needs to have it's own virtual host in apache. Then again, if you've come this far add-on domains shouldn't be an option since you most likely won't be on shared hosting, right?

    Question 4:
    Do you have the time to invest in running such a site?

    Yes, it takes time. A lot of time to do properly. The bigger it gets, the more time it consumes. And you can't just "quit" either. People are going to be depending on you as a service provider to always be there. If you have to shut down, find another compatible MU service to refer them to, and help them make the move themselves with the export and import features. If need be, send them to Although I'm sure there are some more stable MU hosts here that would be happy to take a few users off your hands. Just be sure to ask us first.

    If you're still reading, and not scared to death, good luck on running MU. There will be someone around somewhere to help you out when you get stuck, and happy to help as well. If you ask something very elementary, don't be surprised if we "pick" on you though. But hey, it's all in fun. ;)

About this Topic

  • Started 17 years ago by lunabyte