WP for Blog Networks

Comparing WordPress and Typepad for use in a blog network. I’ve noticed this is generational, the much older networks use MT, but all of the new ones I’ve seen are on WordPress or something home-grown.

11 thoughts on “WP for Blog Networks

  1. Matt – thanks for the link. Just out of interest, what’s the story with WordPress MU? Will there be a stable release anytime soon? Or, will there be a future release of WP that allows multiple blogs?



  2. Perhaps I’m just a purist, but I’d really like to see the “page” functionality implemented closer to how Textpattern does it, with the notion of sections. Then there’s no pages at all, only sections and templates. Within templates, you’d need a flag for either the Index case or the Show case (ala Rails). Under this approach, “http://example.com/about/” can be either a page on the root section, or else the “Index” display case in the “about” section. For the purposes of a blog network, each user could be given complete administrative control… over everything within their prescribed “section”.

    Maybe that’s just not the right way to go for a dedicated blog package like WordPress. But it opens up a lot of possibilities for more interesting sorts of stuff; things like Bowman’s gallery or Hicks’ portfolio. Anything that can be done to promote non-sameness in blogs is a plus in my book.

    At any rate, using the post_status field to flag pages seems like rather a crude hack.

  3. One other thing I should mention that’s pretty cool is the notion of setting up multiple instances of software like this just using symlinks on the server.

    I haven’t tried it with WordPress, but it was fairly straightforward with both Textpattern and Mediawiki. You simply place all the files in a single location, and then in each domain folder, create a symlink pointing to there. The key is to have a custom database and uploadable content directory per-site, but that’s pretty easy: You create a special “wp-config.php” that contains something like this:

    include($_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT'] . '/config.php');

    You see? It sucks the “real” config out of the actual directory of the site, while all the WP code is secretly elsewhere. Then within the WP configuration, you need to tell it where things are:

    WordPress Address: http://example.com/wp/ (the symlink)
    Blog Address: http://example.com (where all the htaccess stuff will be relative to)

    And then under the miscellaneous tab, tell it where the actual upload directory is.

    Hope that’s clear. I host five wikis, and it’s super-duper for keeping on top of updates and patches. (not to mention saving disk-space!)

  4. What I really want to see is a snippet of code that will allow me to create a blogroll on every installed theme that includes every single member blog. THat woduld go alot to establishing a true community blog system.

  5. Just as a point, you say that the much older networks use MT but the newer ones use WordPress but link to an article comparing Typepad to WordPress. I read that article and thought, he needs blogging software on his own server not someone else’s. What would his experience have been like had he been using WordPress.com?

  6. I run my own mini blog network at the moment and I could really do with something that made it easier to share the majority of the WordPress code and even themes to a large extent. At the moment I’m running all the sites off their own separate copies of the latest stable WP release, but I foresee a lot of pain when the next release comes out and I have to upgrade each one individually and I haven’t even made any modifications to anything other than the templates.

  7. WordPress (imho) blows MT out of the water when it comes to creating a weblog network. For one thing…. the price?!?!

    We’re using WordPress on all our blogs over on the Niner Niner Weblog Network.

    It can be tricky to manage multiple installs of WP if you don’t use symlinking or Subversion, in our case. We definitely want to look into WPMU going forward. Though, from what I understand… it’s great for like subdomain blogs *.whatever.com, but probably not so much for a network of blogs, each with their own domain. I have no idea though, really =)

    FYI – If anyone is interested in using the software (or something like it) that we use over on Niner Niner, please drop me a line.

    We’ve considered rolling up the software either for download or as a hosted-type service … it would basically allow you to run a WordPress-powered weblog network, paying writers via $x per post, % bonuses, etc, etc.


    shantibraford @ gmail

    Blog: sablog.com

  8. Matt: There isn’t even any documentation for WordPress MU yet. If it goes stable any time soon and actually does what it says then I’d be happy to use it. I’ve also only really seen it used on subdomain blogs (as Shanti mentioned) so I don’t know how well, if at all, it would work for blogs on different domains – which is the setup I have.

    As for symlinking, that usually creates a horrible mess in my experience. It might work for templates, but I’m not so sure about the blog code itself.

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