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My company a large number of small Wordpress sites. Currently we have about 10, but that number will eventually grow into the range of 50-70. We currently have a Linode for all of our sites, but it is starting to get unwieldy installing Wordpress and configuring it for every new site.

Anyone have any recommendations for hosting lots and lots of Wordpress sites in as simple a way as possible? Preferably we'd like the performance of a Linode with the ease of a shared host with a one-click install.

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4 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Assuming that all of your WordPress sites are running under a single Linode VPS (it would definitely not make sense to put each site on its own VPS if you are concerned with ease of maintenance and performance) here are a handful of recommendations:

  1. Install and configure Alternative PHP Cache (conveniently available with aptitude or yum)

  2. Activate WordPress Multisite instead of creating separate WordPress installations

  3. Install and configure W3 Total Cache for all installations

  4. Refer to the Apache Performance Tuning document as a basis for tuning your VPS (MySQL tuning is useful but less important if you are using W3 Total Cache)

There are additional operating system-level optimizations which you may want to examine (particularly noatime to reduce disk I/O for files in your web root - disk I/O is a very common VPS bottleneck after CPU time) but it will ultimately probably be cheaper to switch to a dedicated hosting environment rather than try to squeeze additional performance out of a VPS once you get to the point at which additional optimizations would make a big difference - the fact that you are sharing resources with your VPS neighbors is likely to have a greater impact on performance.

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danlefree offered some excellent options. What's particularly nice about WP Multisite is that it's designed for exactly the situation you pose: Multiple WordPress sites that need to have some consistency (because they have the same/similar origins), but can offer users some individuality too, if that's the admin's preference.

Before being integrated into WordPress Core, Multisite (then called WordPress Multi-User) was developed as a set of plugins that formed the basis of WordPress.com.

Admins can choose what features are uniform across the site network, and what users can fiddle with. The Network Admin dashboard looks very similar to the standard WP dashboard, and has many of the same controls.

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If the Linode VPS, which is just a normal linux server, requires too much maintenence then you'll likely have that same problem as well with any dedicated physical servers or VPS that you set up. I'd recommend you look in to a managed hosting service. The hosting company would take care of all of the system maintenance. There's usually a trade-off, though, in terms of higher prices and restrictions to how much you can modify the server (you may not, for example, be able to install your preferred web server).

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You should find a hosting where you can create an image of a clean installed machine (/ VPS) if Linode doesn't support it.

And just use that image for every new install.

You cannot get it any easier IMHO. :)

Update

I think Linode does support it and it is called cloning.

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