Options when providing a WordPress site

We seem to be getting more and more requests for WordPress based sites. Here are the 3 basic options we can currently provide. The first is easiest for us, but less flexible for the users, to the last which gives most options to the user, but is more time,effort and resources for us.

Imagining we've had a request for a "DICE" WordPress based site:

Use our existing multisite services

2019 Not any more - users should now use central http://blogs.ed.ac.uk/ in fact we are looking at closing the existing blogs, and people should migrate to the central service.

We have two multisite WordPress services, the original eg


(RPM based) And the newer,


Which doesn't use RPMs, managed via the web/file system, makes for simpler and quicker security updates.

We can't make them appear as www.dice.org, but we can redirect requests to one of those URLs.

We have lots of these (though mostly personal) blogs.

DIY via the groups.inf.ed.ac.uk service

It is possible to run WordPress on groups.inf, but as we don't provide a general purpose MySQL service, it can be done using SQLite, but it needs a bit of help setting appropriate file permissions. End user does get more control, but it's slower than a MySQL service.


We can do virtual hosting, so it could appear as www.dice.org.

We only have a couple of these.

Single use VM running LAMP

We create a new VM running MySQL and a web server, we can install WordPress either via the same RPMs used for blog.inf, or just unpack the WordPress tarball, and then let the user manage it via the web interface (better for them, possibly less secure for us).

As well as the VM, we have to setup backups, mirrors,etc. So this is the most resource intensive, but gives the user the most flexibility.

We have about a dozen of these. Which is maybe a bit worrying, as it doesn't scale very well.

Future possibility

We provide another multisite WordPress service, but this one is hostname based. It would mean a less flexible service for the user, but would save us resources, and should be more secure. I looked at this once a year or so ago, and it didn't "just work". We should maybe look at this again.

An alternative might be a groups.inf type solution, that hosts a general purpose MySQL, and the necessary PHP, but users still do all the WordPress work themselves in some AFS group space. So it wouldn't be a true multsite WP, just rather a lot of individual WP sites. That can either be a URL like wp-groups.inf.ed.ac.uk/dice or www.dice.org.

-- NeilBrown - 13 Oct 2016

Topic revision: r2 - 11 Oct 2019 - 09:58:09 - NeilBrown
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