Whew! It was a hard nut to crack, but here it is: The first public beta of Hackadelic Multiblog Kit, or VMBKit vor short. With this plugin, and the great Virtual Multiblog system for WordPress, you can create blog farms1 with ease.
The Supported Usage Pattern
The plugin supports a single, but common usage pattern:
- Like WPMU, a single database contains all blogs. Only one database login.
- Unlike WPMU, you have full control over the database table prefix (and full responsibility).
- Unlike WPMU, you can use it with any domain or subdomain, and you can decide on per blog basis. (Note however tthat the public beta version does not support subdirectories, but future versions will.)
- Like WPMU, the different blogs are, technically speaking, fully independant. A new blog starts at “zero state” (fresh install), and must be configured from scratch.
- As a consequence of the previous point, there is no “master blog”, or “master user” (unlike WPMU). Every blog starts with a “root admin” of own. There is no “single sign-on”.2
Converting WordPress Into A Multiblog Platform
Step 0: Install WP the usual way. This yields your first blog.
Step 1: Download the Virtual Multiblog archive, upload it to your server, and unpack it into you wp-content directory. This should yield the directory wp-content/multiblog. You won’t notice any difference, as this step does not activate VMB yet.
Step 2: Activate VMB. You can do this either manually, or by using the VMBKit plugin. Basically, the plugin performs the same steps that you would do manually, it just performs them automatically. The manual steps are described in the VMB documentation3. With VMBKit, you’ll find the Tool menu ‘Multiblog Kit’ in the dashboard – it opens a VMBKit admin page. On that page, you will (hopefully) find a box that states something like “Virtual Multiblog seems to be present, but it is not active”, and a button that says “Activate Virtual Multiblog Now”. Below the button, there is a check box that must be checked in order to perform persistence operations. Otherwise, a “dry run” will be performed, where you’ll see what would have been written in what files, without really writing them.
Step 3: Check your blog. If everything went OK, you should notice no visible difference on your site – with two exceptions:
- Near the top of your dashboard side bar, right below the entry “Dashboard”, there should be a new entry “Multiblog”. This is a purely diagnostic page, and has no practical use for most users.
- When you visit the VMBKit admin page again, you’ll notice that it has changed. It now contains two blocks: One for the creation of new blogs, and one for the deactivation of VMB. (In case you want to get rid of VMB, you must deactivate it first.)
Step 4: Create your second blog. (You should have a new domain / subdomain already, that points to you WP installation directory – exactly the same like your first blog.) Enter you domain or subdomain, adjust the table prefix to your liking (it should not collide with an existing table prefix), and hit “Create New Blog Now”. You’ll see the operations that would be performed. Hit the browser back button, tick the check box below the button, and hit the button again. Then hit the “Continue” button, and you shall be taken to the installation of your new blog.
Of course, VMB allows many more work flows of when configuring it manually. However, I’ve found the one I implemented to be the most common for small-to-medium blog farms (i.e.: personal or small business). And: The software is still in an early age. I’m sure it will evolve based on your feedback. So go ahead, try the plugin, and tell me your opinion.
- Blog Farms = Several blogs powered by the same WordPress code base. [↩]
- Later version may include facilities to clone tables/entries from one blog to another. [↩]
- you can find it under wp-config/multiblog/multiblog-readme.html [↩]