There’s always lots of discussion on the WPMU DEV forums about the best plugins to use for WordPress Multisite. As the place to go for WordPress Multisite, I thought I’d check out what our support pros recommend that people install on their Multisite network. Here’s what they had to say:
Install W3 Total Cache and all of your caching will be taken care of across your network. Caching is the best way to improve your user experience without having to making any changes to your website’s content. By serving up cached versions of your website to visitors, caching significantly speeds up your website. Install W3 Total Cache and activate it on a blog by blog basis across your network. If you want a caching plugin that automatically works globally you could try out WP Super Cache.
Roles and Capabilities
On a Multisite network people management is one of the keys to success. When you are running a network you know that you are going to have to deal with many more people than you normally would on a single-site installation. The User Role Editor plugin lets you fine tune any standard user roles. This gives you much greater control over who can do what on your site.
Whereas the User Role Editor plugin gives you greater control over what a user can do, this plugin gives you greater control over how they are created. You can change the default user role not just for your global network but for specific sites on the network. If you want a blog with lots of user contributions you can choose one setting, but another might be restricted to one person.
It’s important to keep the security on your network tight to protect your users and your network. Login Lockdown lets you limit the number of attempts that a person can have to login. If there are more than a certain number of attempts thden the IP address is blocked. This will help to prevent brute force password discovery. You can limit the amount of time someone is locked out for in the options.
It’s important to know how much memory you have and how much memory you are using. This little plugin from Alex Rabe lets you quickly see your PHP version, memory limit, and your current memory usage right in your dashboard. Essential for administrating your network.
Backup should be an essential part of yourWordPress Multisite Administration. This plugin automatically backs up your database. Should you have any problems you can restore your database via phpMyAdmin.
Backing up your WordPress Multisite is just as important as backing up the database. This plugin comes recommended straight from our forums. It backups all your regular WordPress stuff as well as every table of your database for every plugin and theme.
Do the default WordPress settings not quite work for you? Do you want to be able to customize the defaults on the blogs on your network without having to do it for each and every blog? This plugin lets you tweak the defaults for every blog that is created. This includes everything from reading and writing settings, to permalinks and default theme.
Domain Mapping is the process in which your map a domain onto a sub-domain or sub-directory on your network. So, for example, you can map www.yourdomain.com onto blog.yournetwork.com. This is a great feature to offer to users as they can be members of your network while having their own individual domain name.
If you have a large network with lots of members you might want to keep track of which of your themes are being used. The WPMU Theme Info plugin will give you stats on all of your themes. Got one that no one is using? You can just go ahead and ditch it.
This plugin does pretty much what the WPMU Theme Info plugin does but gives you information about plugins. Again, this helps you to see what’s being used and what isn’t. If you’ve got a lot of plugins you may want to use it to help you to trim down your plugin numbers
Get more control over your Multisite plugins with the Multisite Plugin Manager Plugin. You can easily decide what plugins different sites have access to, choose which plugins to auto-activate on new plugins, and mass activate/deactivate plugins across your network.
Make it easy for your network users to add video from YouTube and Vimeo. Rather than having to copy and paste the embed code, you can just use a shortcode like so: .
WPMU Dev’s multisite GA solution adds the necessary javacript to enable Google Analytics logging on any blog. Unlike some other Google Analytics plugins, this one works great with Multisite and you can add an analytics ID for each blog with ease. Just enter your “UA” code into the Site Admin and get all the stats you were missing!
Sometimes you want to be able to push a post or page out across your network. With the ThreeWP Broadcast plugin you can broadcast a post or page to all of your blogs. There are a number of settings that let you fine tune your broadcast but it remains easy to use.
This plugin creates a new blog on your network which displays sitewide tags from all of your blogs, much like on WordPress.com. There are settings that let you limit the number of posts that are displayed to prevent any issues with performance.
If you’re serious about forms the Gravity Forms is the plugin for you. Of course, there are lots of free forms but Gravity Forms is insanely good. It works well with WordPress Multisite. You can even add a line of code to your wp-config.php file to automate the creation of forms for every blog that is created.
What makes the Ultimate Facebook plugin so useful for Multisite? Apart from all of the other awesome things it does, new users can click a “Login with Facebook” button, registering them for your network directly from their Facebook account. This type of registration is becoming more common across the net, with users become accustomed to using Facebook to log in for anything they like – and you can offer them that choice on your network.
If you have a Multisite network then you have to deal with splogs. A splog is a spam blog and keeping them away is quite a job. It’s like weeding your garden – never, ever ending job – bah! The Anti-splog plugin uses the WPMU DEV API to block sploggers from registering on your network. If the splog doesn’t register a high enough score it is placed in a moderation queue for you to mark as a splog or not, and feed the information back into the API.
The Supporter plugin is a great way to monetize your network. You can use it to offer additional premium features to your network users – premium themes, domain mapping, ad-free blogs, and remote publishing are just a few of the things you can restrict or offer access to with the supporter plugin. It’s what’s helped us to make such a success of the Freemium model over at Edublogs.
Have I left anything out? Let us know in the comments!
(header image cc license Toby Maloy)