Setting up Multisite WordPress with GoDaddy Hosting and URL Forwarding

Setting up Multisite WordPress with GoDaddy Hosting and URL Forwarding

Intro

My journey into WordPress started, over 6 years ago. I first set up a wordpress.org site.  Then, about 20 months ago, when Amazon Web Services started offering a try it Free for one year, I decided I could kill two birds with one stone. I could host my own wordpress site and learn about cloud technologies at the same time. I set up BizKnowlogy.com, the hard way installing WordPress from scratch, but then discovered BitNami – a mega repository of preconfigured Amazon Machine Images for instantly deploying cloud services.

I was able to simple set up my Amazon EC2 (elastic computer cloud) with WordPress 3.x in 20 minutes – probably less if had know what I was doing. But as the year ended, I found the cost to host more than what GoDaddy and other web hosting companies charged. There were some tradeoffs. But that story is for another blog entry.

As I began running my own WordPress site, I stumbled across a GoDaddy FAQ that said you could run multiple sites on a single server (provided the sites were low usage sites.)  And thus began my journey to set up a Multisite WordPress.

What is Multisite WordPress? 

In simple terms, its the ability to run multiple WordPress sites from one single installation.  For example mysite.com and myothersite.com can both reside on the same physical server, using the same base WordPress php code and a single MySQL database.

Multisite should not to be confused with multiple WordPress sites installed separately (into their own directories) on the same server; each using its own MySQL database.

Visit the WordPress Multisite support forum if you need additional help; I posted a couple of questions when I got stuck and had them answered promptly (within a day.)

Why did I choose Multisite?

In my case, I am the primary administrator for several sites, without the need to overly worry about failure compartmentalization. In other words, the benefits of logging into one location to manage all the sites outweighed the potential costs if I experienced a problem when I upgraded WordPress (or plugins etc…)

How did I install Multisite?

The rest of this blog assumes you

  • have an existing WordPress site hosted by GoDaddy
  • are the administrator of the GoDaddy hosted server and WordPress site.
  1. Backup you WordPress
    1.  Start by ensuring you have a backup of your entire WordPress. If you don’t know how, research a method, select a backup method, then backup, the restore and, most importantly – prove to yourself you can rebuild your WordPress from your backup!
    2. I used the  GoDaddy backup approach; by logging into GoDaddy’s cPanel for my server; then selecting Backup Wizard to save my “Home Directory” and “MySQL” database. This approach saves ZIPPED files that through the same GoDaddy menu can be used to restore the entire WordPress public_html directory and the MySQL database.
      GodaddyBackup
  2. Upgrade Wordpres
    1. Upgrade to latest WordPress; In my case I happened to time it when WordPress 4.0 (yes a scary Dot Oh release) was released.
    2. From the plugins, I simply selected upgraded my WordPress 3.9x to 4.0; I was fortunate and everything worked fine.
  3. Enable Multisite
    1. I started by following GoDaddy’s FAQ – The are basically worthless and provide such sketchy detail, as to be indecipherable. Once you have actually finished installing Multisite you should be able to review the FAQ and figure out what the bleep they were trying to say in the first place.
    2. Follow the excellent Youtube by WPKB.com instructions (Note make sure you check to see if there is a newer video; At first I found and older video that lead me astray and wasn’t as clear)  WPKB also has a document version (but again the Youtube is better)
    3. Just follow the Youtube it works.
    4. On selecting which multisite approach to use (using Subdomains or  Subdirectories), I chose to use subdomains.  I choose this approach because I had a better sense on how to redirect URL requests. Mainly  I knew how to make sure if someone typed into the web browser  “MySecondSite.Com” or “MyMainSite.Com” they would end up in the right place.
  4.   Add your second site
    1. At this point you can easily add a second WordPress site by logging into the WordPress as the master site administer and selecting “My Sites” and “Creating a New Site” then filling in the form.
      AddSiteToMultiSite
  5. Buy your second site Domain name and add it to your WordPress server
    1. For me I simply purchased “philiptopham.com” through GoDaddy.
    2. From the cPanel park your Domain name
      ParkedDomain
    3. Make sure to point the domain to the main WordPress install directory. GoDaddy automatically creates a domain root in a subdirectory!! CHANGE THIS – For example – in my case – it needs to say “/public_html” NOT “/public_html/philiptopham
      ParkedDomain2
  6. Mapping a different Domain name to the SubDomain
    1. At this point if you In my case I wanted people to type “philiptopham.com” I didn’t want people to type “philiptopham.MyMainsite.com” into the browser. So I needed to install a URL Domain Mapping tool.
    2. Install the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin; the plugin’s installation instructions worked well. At the time of this writing the plugin is listed as compatible with WordPress 3.9.2 but I installed on WordPress 4.0 with no issues (thus far)
    3. The configuration instructions were also straight forward.
      1. In my case the I chose to CREATE a CNAME record.
      2. I logged in to my Godaddy account.
      3. Selected “MyMainSite.Com”  –> Then edit DNS Zone File
      4. Add CNAME “philiptopham” pointing to “@”; waited about 10 minutes and was able to login.
      5. Test by going to WordPress main account then “visiting” each site and verifying the URL resolves correctly.

 

 

 

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