Where I’ve Been, Part 1: WordPress Multisite

I realize I posted once and then let things languish for months. That’s what managing 6 brands will do to you, not to mention 3 personal brands and another two dozen client brands on the side! It’s tedious work setting up a website/blog and then half-dozen social accounts thirty times – I haven’t actually even started content marketing on any of them, and here’s why:

WordPress Multisite

My social media marketing, content marketing and inbound marketing efforts were cut short a few weeks after I wrote the last blog post, as my manager decided that half our brands needed complete website redesigns. This meant that two websites needed a new WordPress theme (and lots of content work) and two others needed to be moved over onto WordPress from straight HTML pages. During the last months of 2012 I created a WordPress multisite installation for the company (my second) on a VPS and migrated all but one of our sites onto it. In case you’re wondering, those sites are:  My VPS (through VPSLatch) had run sluggishly for the two years that I’d been using my personal, low-traffic multisite WordPress installation (where this blog resides). Adding a second multisite installation didn’t improve it, but didn’t have a notable impact on it either. I know that poor site speeds result in lower search engine rankings, so improving that speed has been on my mind (and my boss’ mind) for months. Fast forward to this last week when, in final desperation, I installed W3 Total Cache, which had burned me on a shared host before. In similar fashion, this plugin botched up my personal/client multisite install so badly that it was unusable. It threw some errors when I installed it, and I had the techs switch my PHP Handler from SuPHP to Fast PHP. The errors continued, and so I uninstalled the plugin. This brought the installation to its knees with all kinds of seemingly random fatal server errors. I uninstalled, I reinstalled, I manually deleted files via FTP, I restarted the server a dozen times; I tried everything a novice Linux server administrator could think of. After a week of sleepless nights and VPSLatch tech support causing me to pull out hair I can’t afford to lose, I completely nuked the VPS, reinstalled the VPS with the latest CentOS and WHM, and restored the two cPanel accounts for the two multisite installations. I’m not sure what I did right, but the VPS is running faster than it ever had before, even from day one! Two notes: backing up and restoring entire cPanel accounts through WHM is totally easy and awesome, and VPSLatch tech support is typically REALLY responsive, although I’m not sure why they weren’t able to suggest reinstalling my VPS after two years of bugging them about poor performance. All that said, I had installed the W3TC plugin on both installations. Only the one with my personal sites and 20+ client sites gave me trouble. Now that I’ve reformatted the server, my personal multisite install is humming along faster than ever. The VPE Global multisite install still has W3TC installed, and seems just as slow as before. I’m afraid to touch W3TC, though, after last week.


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