Whether you merely dabble in web design or you’re a committed pro, it’s likely you’ve at least heard of multisite. And because of that, you’ve likely come across at least a couple of WordPress multisite examples that use this framework to build robust site communities. But still, unless you’re super “into” web dev, your familiarity might be on the outskirts of this subject.
That’s why we thought it would be beneficial to put together a collection of some of the best WordPress multisite examples that are currently live on the web. This way, you can get familiar really quick with what multisite is, how it works, and what purpose it serves within the web development community and beyond.
Before we get to the collection, however, let’s first get a few basics out of the way.
What is Multisite?
WordPress Multisite is a feature that debuted in WordPress 3.0. It was introduced in 2010 and replaced WordPress MU, a feature that allowed individuals to set up large networks of blogs. Multisite offers this feature but also offers a lot more, such as the ability to host different sites on a single WordPress installation to make a seamless user experience for site visitors. An example would be a site that has an online shop on its site, but its shop isn’t necessarily a main part of its site. It’s just one part of it. The site would have its main website and a second ecommerce website built with WordPress, and multisite would allow the user to navigate from the site to the shop without actually having to leave the main website.
If you want to know more about WordPress multisites, check out Kevin Muldoon’s posts on how to create a multisite installation and which plugins multisite users should check out.
Common Uses for Multisite Installations
Here are a few examples of how multisite installations can be used:
WordPress multisite has been a breakthrough for blogs with large communities and universities. With multisite, these entities can act as network hubs and invite users of their communities to create their own blogs on their platforms. This feature has been used by universities all around the world by allowing teachers to create blogs and portfolios students can contribute to.
Outside of universities, this type of multisite might be used by niche markets whose communities all share common interests, such as photography sites, bridal networks, and tech news agencies.
Corporate Sites/Multiple Domains
Businesses and corporations tend to need bigger and more complicated websites, which means building different websites for the different properties that make up their companies. With multisites and domain mapping, these companies are able to house these different properties under one roof, creating seamless user experiences for visitors who come to their sites.
Corporations build different properties of their companies on different websites, as mentioned in the previous section. Some companies, however, may want to prevent the general public from accessing these different properties while still keeping them under the same virtual roof. This feature of WordPress multisites gives schools and companies the ability to run internal sites for networking purposes.
WordPress Multisite Examples That Inspire
And now, without further delay, here’s a collection of sites that use multisite very effectively.
Automattic has been running a multisite platform since it started in 2005, hosting thousands and thousands of sites and blogs under one roof, even giving these sites a WordPress.com domain. Automattic released the new WordPress.com in November, and the release came with many changes, one of them being the addition of multisite support within the user’s individual admin panel. On the Calypso–the codename for the release–introduction page, the team states it wanted to “build a single place to manage all of your WordPress and Jetpack-enabled sites, so you can focus on content – not administration.”
The change gives you a main admin panel where you can view stats and make basic changes to specific sites or view stats for all of your sites on a single page. You can even create new blog posts and pages from this main admin panel without needing to enter the individual admin panel for each site.
Edublogs is a blogging service by Incsub, the same folks who run WPMU DEV, and uses WordPress to offer multisite services to schools and universities all around the world. Teachers can use the basic version of Edublogs to host their own blogs and add students as contributors. Edublogs CampusPress, however, is what makes this service so popular.
With CampusPress, universities can create hundreds of blogs, and university networks, such as state universities, can create thousands of blogs, one for every student and staff member. Every blog is hosted by Edublogs, and the service has hosted over 3.3 million blogs since 2005.
3. BBC America
BBC America is a cable and satellite channel that airs some of the most popular shows in television. Its website is running a WordPress multisite install, and every one of its shows has its own website. Each mini site uses a child theme, all of which are powered by a single, main framework.
4. OpenView Venture Partners
OpenView Venture Partners is a venture capital firm that focuses on “helping technology companies turn their vision into reality.” The company technically has three sites – a corporate website, a corporate blog and a multi-author blog called Labs. Using a multisite installation, this site has been able to run all of these sites under one roof using the subdomains blog.openviewpartners.com and labs.openviewpartners.com. Each site is built with a centralized theme that works seamlessly with the multisite installation.
Courvoisier is a cognac brand found all around the world. Because it’s global, it offers various regional websites to enhance its customer service efforts. These regional websites exist under one roof but are powered by one source using a multisite install. Each regional site offers unique information and the main site features news, landing pages, and dynamic menus, all powered by WordPress.
6. The University of British Columbia Blogs
Founded in 1908, the University of British Columbia, or UBC, is British Columbia’s oldest university. It teaches over 58,000 students a year on two campuses, one in Vancouver and the other in Okanagan Valley. UBC uses WordPress multisite to give professors the ability to create course websites, build blogs that allow multiple contributors, and build portfolios for students and staff members. The WordPress multisite installation gives teachers the ability to take control of their own communities by adding students as new users and extending learning outside of the classroom.
7. The New York Times Blogs
Founded in New York City in 1851, the New York Times is one of America’s oldest newspapers. As more and more of America’s oldest media moves toward online forms of publishing, NYT has taken things one step further with the NYT Blogs. This is a network of multiple blogs that uses a WordPress multisite installation to power over 60 blogs, which cover a wide variety of topics that range from politics and the economy to culture and the arts.
8. Reuters Blogs
Reuters is a news agency founded in 1851 in the United Kingdom. Like the New York Times, this news agency has expanded online and expanded even more with its own set of blogs, aptly titled the Reuters Blogs. These blogs cover everything from tech to politics to current events and are powered by WordPress multisite.
9. Spotted by Locals
Spotted by Locals offers a collection of city guides for cities all around Europe. The site has over 40 well-developed city guides, and it uses WordPress multisite to allow users to write their own guides for the places they live and/or visit.
10. Harvard Blogs
Harvard University was founded in 1636 and remains one of the top private, ivy league schools in the United States. The Harvard Blogs is a collection of student and teacher-generated blogs that range from a variety of different topics based on the subjects Harvard instructors cover. Anyone with a harvard.edu, radcliffe.edu and hbs.edu email address can create a blog for free, and the site uses a WordPress multisite installation to power them all.
11. CUNY Academics Commons
The City University of New York powers its entire CUNY Academics Commons website with WordPress using its own Commons in a Box plugin. The CBOX plugin, as the university calls it, makes it easier for users to build communities by using BuddyPress as a framework and building off of that. CUNY uses a WordPress multisite installation along with this plugin to power its user-generated blogs, which cover everything related to university course offerings as well as current events.
12. University of Mary Washington
The University of Mary Washington uses a WordPress multisite installation to power its entire website. It uses plugins designed specifically for use with multisite installations, which allow it to create custom post types for documentation and assign different user roles for faculty and staff.
Cheapflights.com is a travel website that offers flights, hotels, and vacation packages. The site uses a WordPress multisite installation to power its Travel Tips section, which is filled with the latest travel news and tips on how to fly, the best places to travel, and more.
BostInno is a digital news agency covering current events and other topics involving the city of Boston. The site is a property of Streetwise Media, a larger digital media company. The site uses a multisite installation to power the different sub-communities that make up its site, which include Tech, Education, Lifestyle, and Partners.
15. A Way to Garden
A Way to Garden is a gardening blog by Margaret Roach, and it’s become one of the most successful gardening blogs on the web. Margaret uses a multisite WordPress installation to power the different sections you’ll find on her site, from her blog to her online shop. The whole thing was built by WebDevStudios.
As you can see, WordPress multisite brings cloud computing to a whole new level by giving schools and corporations the ability to share ideas and collaborate through blog networks and internal networks. It’s also opened the door to a whole new world of web development, and we hope this list of WordPress multisite examples has given you a few ideas on how to implement this feature in your own projects.
What are some of your favorite examples in this feature? Let us know in the comments!
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