This is a call for information
The list of vendors that offer a deployment option that resembles multi-tenant for WordPress is short. And there’s no one place you can go to find out about them or the capabilities they offer.
In fact, even the term “Multi-tenant” have slightly different meanings to different folks.
And, given that the architecture tends to be used for high-end deployments, folks involved in those projects aren’t exactly carving time out of their day to talk to marketing folks or writing articles – a lot of what gets deployed ends up being proprietary.
Thus, there is a sheer dearth of multi-tenant articles that dig deep into the weeds of what’s out there.
When this article is complete we hope that it serves as a centralize repository about vendors and good multi-tenant articles. But we’re depending on our readers to help us supplement and expand on the information we’ve already curated below.
What does WordPress Multi-Tenant Even Mean?
As mentioned just a minute ago, the term “Multi-tenant” have different meanings to different folks.
For some, it means a common WP code base (including plugins and themes) with multiple sites (the tenants) running from it. And, because the themes and plugins are common to all sites, it’s really best used (and seem designed) for use in a SaaS project.
In some cases that code is containerized but still duplicated in each container. Updating tenants really means re-deploying the containers.
For others, it means that only the WP code is common while plugins & themes are different for each site tenant. In this case the deployment is for generalized WP sites instead of having a common set of functions across all sites. WordPress.com might be using a version of this architecture.
Basically, different architectures, deployment philosophies and so on mean that there is no commonality to what multi-tenant on WordPress means in the real world. Though, we do believe that in almost all definitions, each tenant ends up with either their own WordPress database or their own set of WordPress tables in a single database (using the WordPress wp-config.php table_prefix to separate the tables).
Regardless, the overall GOAL is similar for each underlying architecture – folks are hoping that multi-tennancy means easier management of hundreds or thousands of WP sites along with better performance and scalability.
Information We’re Looking To Curate
We’re looking to curate and publish information about vendors who offer any of the Multi-tenant options described above as well other similar architectures. We’d like to offer a brief description as well as an idea of costs.
Additionally we’re looking to curate a list of good multi-tenant articles that go beyond just ‘what is this?’
Below are who and what we know about so far (in many cases we know nothing – just that they’ve got something…)
Note that we’re going to add ourselves to this list at the END (not at the top as most folks who write these types of articles for their own site might do.)
We’re really interested in learning more about the landscape and will keep updating this article as more information comes in.
If you have info to contribute please drop us a note.
WildCloud (Formerly wpcs.io)
These folks have a true containerized WordPress that can be versioned and deployed to multiple customers in a consistent manner.
It’s a fully SaaSified dashboard and is worth taking a look at if you’re willing to pay someone else to handle all the infrastructure work so you can focus on just your product.
It doesn’t hurt that one of the owners happens to be a nice person as well and seems very interested in pushing multi-tenant and WordPress SaaS’s forward in the marketplace (a rising tide lifts all boats philosophy).
We’re not quite sure what this vendor is providing – there’s not much in the way of architecture or technical details on their site.
There is no documentation, getting started or faq pages – nothing. But they seem like they’re doing something real.
If you’re using this vendor we would love to learn more about them – just send us a message.
Pricing on their site seems convoluted so our cost estimate below is just that – a really wild guestimate.
This is another one where we don’t have a lot of information about what’s being offered here or how it works. We do know that it’s only offered at the upper end of their pricing levels.
It is a semi-saas in that you still control your servers (unlike wpcs.io) – but you can probably contract with them to handle the whole infrastructure end-to-end.
If you’re using Multi-tenant features at Gridpane and would like to offer some color for this list just shoot us an email.
This seems to be a containerized solution similar to wpcs.io.
It includes an integrated management dashboard similar to that offered by MANAGEWP and MAINWP.
Ironically, we did not see the term ‘multi-tenant’ mentioned anywhere on their site.
Prices seem to be composed of two components – the cost for access to the management dashboard plus a per-site charge of some kind.
This also seems like a containerized solution but costs at the higher end of the spectrum.
If you’re using or have information about these folks, we would love to learn more.
Until we started writing this article we had never heard of these folks. There is a long video on the site but we’re still not sure exactly how the whole thing works.
Suffice to say that it seems expensive despite what looks like a low initial fee.
I think there’s a lot of technical wizardry going on here but the packaging makes it hard to grasp how it all hangs together.
And there’s a better than even chance that it’s not multi-tenancy for WordPress for the types of use-cases we’re thinking about.
We’re including Pantheon here because there’s a good chance they have something – they’re too good at the devops process not to have at least some semblance of multi-tenant somewhere.
If you’re seriously investigating SaaS multi-tenant options, it’s probably worth it to give them a call to see what they’ve got.
Word of warning – these folks are EXPENSIVE – they don’t even show pricing on their site.
Troy Chaplin on Github
There is free code on Github that you can use to deploy a multi-tenant setup on your own server. We suspect there’s a fair number of custom projects that use this as a baseline but you couldn’t tell because most of them are never advertised or discussed in use-case articles.
As you might expect, we have our own take on Multi-tenancy. We’ve published the code on Github so if you’re looking for a free solution you can grab it there – but it does require some dev resources to install and activate.
The premium WPCD solution is geared towards SaaS projects built on WordPress and includes full WooCommerce support where WooCommerce serves as the storefront and payment gateway.
Our approach is that multi-tenant sites are sharing a common set of plugins/themes and functionality (SaaS style projects).
If you’re looking to deploy generalized sites where each site can use a different set of plugins and themes (similar to wordpress.com), that’s not something WPCloudDeploy supports in a multi-tenant configuration – that’s only supported with standard sites (still integrated with WooCommerce though). You can learn a little about our Multi-tenant approach here.
Here are articles and other resources related to multi-tennancy. Some are quite old.
Introducing WordPress Multitenancy – Cliff Seal – 2017 – Warning: this is on slideshare and the page is FILLED with annoying and distracting ads. We hesitated to add this link but the presentation is from someone who’s using Multitenancy in a production environment. We think it’s always a good idea to listen to folks with practical experience so we’re including it.
How To Use WordPress as a SaaS Platform (Forbes) – we did not expect to find this article on Forbes nor did we expect to find a really cool tip in it for optimizing WordPress performance!
How to run a multi-tenant WordPress platform on Amazon EKS – this is a part of series of articles from portworx.com (written back in 2019) targeted at the really high-end of the hosting spectrum. In there are links to similar articles for running WP on Azure, Google and other public Kubernetes services.
WPFreighter is a plugin by Austin Ginder that seem to make it easy to run multiple sites from a single install of WP. This is a FREE plugin – it was originally a premium plugin that required a subscription but it’s now 100% free.
How To Contribute
If you have information you can contribute for this article, please send to [email protected].
- 02-09-2024: Increased cost estimate for WildCloud since there’s now a minimum spend of $300/month for each customer.
- 01-27-2024: Minor grammar cleanup. Added our own solution to the primary list (moving it from the bottom of the article to the middle).
- 10-01-2023: Added link to the portworx.com kubernetes article.
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