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Multiple Budypress Networks, one install

  • Andrea Rennick


    As discussed in past thread, multiple instances of different BP in one install is currently not possible. If you have BP on your network (the new 3.0 term for what was mu) then your global users are also global in BuddyPress.

    We touched on this in the dev chat yesterday, with some either not understanding the concept or not understanding why there would be a need. (aka, rare-case usage). Yes, I can admit to some bias, as part of my day job involved dealing with a fair number of multi-networked sites and the people who want/use them. ;) These types of requests run at about 20% of everyone who asks me “Can I do this?”.

    Multiple networks in 3.0 is what multi-site was in mu: basically, you have blogs that can have child blogs. Whether they are on different domains or not is not part of the issue. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t.

    I managed, with the help of a client, to come up with a reasonable, legit and extremely valid use-case in the real world, because this is something they also want to be able to do. And they are not the only ones. Okay, enough setup here goes (numbers fudged intentionally):

    Educational Institution has one major WPMU install for their entire system. This covers a broad range in their educational umbrella, it is not just one school, it is multiple schools, with overarching departments. There are actually quite a fair number of schools and universities using WPMU in this manner. The use the blogs / sites for all kinds of purposes, internal blog, CMS management, classroom applications, student reflective works.. the list goes on.

    Now add BuddyPress.

    If you’re one university, great. Everyone listed goes to the same uni right? Awesome, this is where BuddyPress started. But like my example above, in some cases you have one install for multiple schools. Let’s say this is for a K-12 district. All schools are there, let’s say there’s 100. Elementary all through highschool, right across the very large district.

    Now you want to add BuddyPress for just the 20 highschools.

    Currently this is not possible on the BuddyPress side. We can group the blog for just the high schools, and on an individual level too. Add buddypress and you’ve kindergarteners mixing in with seniors & teachers. Not gonna work. The only way that is possible right now is separate installs. Which, if you’re already up and running is … painful. Or a scrapped idea.

    Even on a higher level there are university groups using WPMU to run everything, and you may go to one of their colleges and have no interest in the others (CUNY is a good example here).

    I realize this is more Enterprisey and less community-on-a-shoestring, but I wanted to put this out there as part of the discussion, on order to help people better understand the usage in other areas.

Viewing 18 replies - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)

  • luccame


    This is almost my own case. Thank you for bringing up this important matter, I agree with your considerations.

    David Bisset


    I think this is an excellent situation we should try to find some sort of solution for. Beginning to hear requests like this myself.

    I’m calling this “Master Groups” – basically grouping together users that don’t really interact or even see people in other groups. Very similar to multiple installs of BP on separate WPMU networks except obviously there is no separate install and everything is under one roof.



    The entire reason I went to wpmu in the first place is that I was getting tired of having to do a fresh install of wp for each new client I get. It made it much easier to just have one install, and give each client their own sub-domain blog using domain mapping to make them appear independent.

    Then buddypress came out and I started to receive a large amount of requests for it. Obviously I did not have the ability to do this as they would all be able to see any group/forum created by other sites on the wpmu network.

    In the end, now I have to create brand new wpmu sites for each client, and maintain them separately. That is really a huge pain, and takes so much of my time having to update each site one at a time.

    anyhow, having the ability to do this with bp would be a huge timesaver for me. I understand what it is going to take to accomplish, and realize there would be backwards compatibility issues, but truly hope it makes it into the core someday. For now, I just really try to discourage my clients from using buddypress, as I don’t want to manage 100+ separate wpmu installs just so they can all have bp.

    Boone Gorges


    @andrea_r Your use case is a pretty sensible one. Can’t believe you’d suggest that one CUNY school has no interest in the others, though ;)



    I just replied to a topic about Virtual Multiblog. It treats each WP blog separately – including userbase, themes, plugins, login. So you could potentially have multiple, separate BP installs running on one set of WordPress files.

    It does require a little knowledge of symlinks and vhosts, also not sure how things like the new multi-site functionality in WP 3.0 will work with Virtual Multiblog… but it’s an alternative!

    Andrea Rennick


    @boone In theory :P

    @r-a-y and that is the big question. Also, that doesn’t take existing mu installs into account.

    like I mentioned in chat, even if the bare minimum in core was a function to hook into so a further plugin could do the bulk of the work, that’d be awesome.

    But the brainy programmer guys have to figure that bit out. ;)

    Jeff Sayre



    Thanks for starting this thread. I know this issue will become more relevant once WP 3.0 is released and people start realizing the potential.



    @Andrea_r, I was thinking about the same thing. Perhaps a coding guru who can create a multi-site plugin for WPMU can make a multi-site plugin for BP? (hint, hint) :-)



    so are we talking about a way of having a global userbase, which is segmented across sites??

    A bit like how it works on

    Andrea Rennick


    @mercime – yeah, if only I *knew* someone… I should ask Ron… ;)

    All kidding aside, multi-site is possible in mu becasue the code is already there (see: site_id=1).

    @vee_bee yes, like that.



    @grundner mentioned the following in another thread – as things to be achieved by this – plugin/hack/mechanism
    “* Members will have to fill in their profile details for each site. I believe that’s the case… unless that can be shared, too?
    * A member’s Friends and Activity will only be logged for that sub-domain and won’t aggregate itself sitewide (good and bad)
    * Each sub-domain would have to be upgraded separately”

    If it is one install – there should be no issues with profile details across sites.
    And each sub-domain would not require upgrading.
    And cookies should also not be a concern

    So being that there is a field when adding content to the activity_meta which includes the blog number (usally 1), and there is an option in the activity table to ‘hide_sitewide’, what needs to happen to make it work across blogs.

    Andrea Rennick


    We’ve alreayd figured out how to do it, like I said above.

    ““* Members will have to fill in their profile details for each site. I believe that’s the case… unless that can be shared, too?”
    The point is to have it *not* shared.

    “* Each sub-domain would have to be upgraded separately””
    No, they will not. One install, one plugin, one upgrade.

    “So being that there is a field when adding content to the activity_meta which includes the blog number (usally 1), and there is an option in the activity table to ‘hide_sitewide’, what needs to happen to make it work across blogs.”

    No, not blog_id. the relevant portion is site_id.



    @andrea_r I’m following this thread with great interest. I’m the guy @vee_bee referred to with a similar query/setup as being discussed here.

    Brief recap from my earlier post

    You can see from the above example that most people would probably only want to see things relevant to their pet type and not be overwhelmed by all the other animal group activities.

    Glad to read that this is slowly being worked out by putting our collective heads together :)



    @andrea_r the thought just occurred to me: How would BP plugins work in this setup? I’d like to see plugins like @MrMaz‘s BP-Links keep sub-domain activity separate as well.

    blog? website? microsite? Whats the difference with WP these days?

    I’m getting confused. Are we talking about a system where …

    1, A main site ( could display news/posts from it’s child sites (
    2, Each child site would have its own exclusive BP functionality – with its own users (and the associated privelages).

    This sounds like …

    A single installation
    multi-site with full functionality
    centralised plugins and themes
    Individual sites could have permissions similar to users – master, parent, child

    WP3 & BP can’t be that far off this functionality – can it?



    Seems to me that ANY plugin, buddypress or otherwise, should have to respect the site_id designation in order to be WPMU or WP3.0 Network certified.

    I installed WPMU and buddypress after reading that buddypress was wpmu compatible. Now we find that it really isn’t.

    How far off is this capability?

    A Weathers


    @roydeanjr i feel your pain see my post with links to several other posts that are requesting this as well



    Has anyone managed to get a group per blog on a network? Some of the activity stream might not work properly, but you could theoretically use some of the other features.

Viewing 18 replies - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
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