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Exploring network plug-ins

From: Creating and Managing a Blog Network with WordPress

Video: Exploring network plug-ins

If you've been following along in this series, you know that one of the best ways to extend your experience here inside of WordPress is to use plug-ins. And I'm a big fan of plug-ins. I have been using them several times throughout this series. In this movie, I am going to be taking you through some of my favorite plug-ins for WordPress Multisite. These plug-ins aren't necessarily WordPress Multisite specific, but they make life inside of a Multisite environment that much easier. Let's go ahead and take a look at the first one now. The first one is called W3 Total Cache. This is a plug-in that basically increases the performance of your site.

Exploring network plug-ins

If you've been following along in this series, you know that one of the best ways to extend your experience here inside of WordPress is to use plug-ins. And I'm a big fan of plug-ins. I have been using them several times throughout this series. In this movie, I am going to be taking you through some of my favorite plug-ins for WordPress Multisite. These plug-ins aren't necessarily WordPress Multisite specific, but they make life inside of a Multisite environment that much easier. Let's go ahead and take a look at the first one now. The first one is called W3 Total Cache. This is a plug-in that basically increases the performance of your site.

It uses various methods of caching, including browser caching, page, object, database, and minify as well. All of these combine to make your site load a whole lot faster. If you deploy this plug-in network-wide, your WordPress Multisite installation is going to be screaming fast. Next up on the list is the User Role Editor. This is a great plug-in to give users granular control inside of WordPress Multisite, or any WordPress installation for that matter. Basically, what this site allows you to do is go in and tweak the capabilities for each one of the default roles inside of WordPress.

So if you want your editors to be able to switch themes, you can give them that capability. It's an awesome plug-in. Number three is something called New Blog Defaults. This plug-in is specific to WordPress Multisite, and it gives you a whole range of settings that you can define as the defaults for any new blog that's created inside of your WordPress Multisite environment. This is a great plug-in for helping your new sites get off the ground quickly and easily. The next plug-in on list is called EasyTube for Youtube and Vimeo. Basically what this allows you to do is easily embed YouTube, Google, and Vimeo videos inside of your WordPress post utilizing a short code.

I will show you a live example of that in just a second. And finally, the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plug-in. This is a great plug-in to allow you to run external sites from within your WordPress Multisite installation. If you want more information about Domain Mapping, be sure to check out Chapter 6 of this series, where I cover it in depth, step-by-step. Let's go back into my Dashboard and start actually using some of these awesome plug-ins, the first of which is W3 Total Cache. One quirky thing about W3 Total Cache: it cannot be network activated.

So you'll have to go in and individually activate it on each site inside your network. I will navigate to My Sites and I'll choose the default blog and go to the Dashboard. I've already got W3 Total Cache installed and activated on this particular blog. Once I have that activated, I should see a Performance Tab down here at the bottom of the menu. Here, I can set things like General Settings, Page Caching, Minifying my code, Database Caching, Object Caching, and many more. My suggestion to you is to take the time and go through and set up each one of those individually, for each one of your sites.

The more you tweak those settings, the more likely you are to have a screaming fast WordPress installation. It's very cool. Now, let's go take a look at the User Role Editor. From here, all I have to do is go to the Users Tab and click on User Role Editor. Inside of the User Role Editor, I can make changes to each individual role inside of WordPress. If I choose the dropdown here, I get to pick which role I am working with. So if I trust my Authors enough, I can give them the capability to do things that most normal authors inside of WordPress couldn't do.

For instance, let's say I trust them enough to activate plug-ins. I can click Install Plugins, or maybe I even want them to be able to switch themes. I'll choose switch themes. And then finally, let's give them the ability to edit other posts. Once I do that, I will scroll down, and I will click Update. It will warn me that I'm about to make this update. I'll click OK. Once I've made that change, all authors inside of this particular site have the ability to install plug-ins, switch themes, and edit other people's posts.

That's pretty powerful. If I do this across all of my sites, as you see this check box here, that means I give that capability to every author inside of my WordPress Multisite network. That's awesome! I don't have to go in and tweak each individual one. Now I have a granular level of control over each individual capability of all the people that are assigned to the different blogs and sites in my network. That's fantastic! Now, let's take a look at New Blog Defaults. For this, I will have to go back to My Sites > Network Admin > Dashboard.

Inside of the Settings panel on the left-hand side, I have a new tab called New Blog Defaults. When I click on it, you are going to notice that this looks a whole lot like the standard WordPress settings page. As a matter of fact, it's the exact same information. It's just defining it site-wide. So I can define a new Blog Title for each one of my new blogs that's created. Don't worry about overwriting existing blogs. This plug-in has nothing to do with that content. This plug-in merely applies itself to all of the blogs that are created after you set it up. So I can create a new Blog Title, a new Tagline.

I could set its Timezone information, Time Format. I could also determine the Writing Settings, like how big the post box is or whether or not they have emoticons. I can turn on things like Remote Publishing, control how many blog posts are shown on their homepage. I can set up all of the comments settings from here as well. Towards the bottom, I have things like Avatar Control, Privacy Settings, Customizing the Permalink Structure. This is my favorite because it saves me so much time from having to go into each individual site and change its Permalink Structure.

I'm a big fan of the Day and name Permalink Structure. Therefore, I have that selected. If I wanted to change that to something else or even determine my own Custom Structure, I can do that. Another great thing is I can define a Category base and a Tag base as well. So if you want your categories to be stories instead of categories, you can change it here. Or if you want your tag base to be keywords instead of tags, you could type that in there. The Media Settings, how big are the default thumbnails? How big are the medium, the large ones? All up to you.

Finally, some of the Bonus Settings that you get. The From Email--when someone gets an email from WordPress like the automated messages that are sent to them when a new site is registered, where does that email originate from? The From Email name. This could be your name or your company's name. Your choice. Delete the Standard WordPress Blogroll Links? Yes please. Those links are so generic and they don't have anything to do with what I'm doing most of the time. So I love getting rid of those. I can also determine a Default Link Category which overwrites that generic term Blogroll.

Finally, I can define a Default Category. You should note here that you'll need to have this category already set up so that it propagates throughout the site. You can also define additional categories that are automatically added to sites. You can also delete the initial comment, close comments on the Hello World post, close comments on the About Page, which I always do, and make a first post draft out of Hello World. Once you have all of these settings set up the way you like them, hit Save Changes. Now, each and every time you create a new site here inside of WordPress Multisite, it adopts all of those settings.

Now, let's take a look at EasyTube. This is the fun one. Let's go to My Sites. I will go to the default domain and choose New Post. Inside of the New Post window, I am going to call this A Sample Video. Then all I have to do is type out a short code. You will notice the short code is pretty simple. It's open bracket, the word YouTube, a colon, the full youtube URL, not just the shortened URL and then after that, you can determine the width and height. So in this case, I've got this YouTube video from the lynda.com channel.

It's 400 pixels wide and 233 pixels tall. I will go ahead and click Publish. Once I click Publish, I can view my post. Once I look at the post, there it is, the lynda.com series latest Deke's Techniques. Just click Play and you're off and running. So hopefully now you have a better understanding of the different types of plug-ins that are available to you. You can use all of them inside of WordPress Multisite. It's a great way to extend the user experience as well as the admin experience in any installation of WordPress.

So take some time, check out these plug-ins, but also go into the repository and just do some searching on your own. You will be glad you did.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Creating and Managing a Blog Network with WordPress
Creating and Managing a Blog Network with WordPress

49 video lessons · 10799 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
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  1. 47s
    1. Welcome
      47s
  2. 16m 30s
    1. Introducing multisite
      2m 40s
    2. Common use cases for multisite
      6m 24s
    3. Understanding multisite server requirements
      1m 40s
    4. Optimizing your hosting environment
      3m 52s
    5. Using subdomains vs. subdirectories
      1m 54s
  3. 22m 34s
    1. Enabling the Network feature
      2m 26s
    2. Installing your network
      7m 13s
    3. Troubleshooting network configurations
      4m 4s
    4. Disabling your network installation
      2m 44s
    5. Changing your install type
      3m 23s
    6. Removing the blog permalink
      2m 44s
  4. 46m 27s
    1. Getting to know the network admin interface
      2m 40s
    2. Configuring the network
      6m 2s
    3. Creating your first site
      5m 25s
    4. Managing your user database
      8m 14s
    5. Installing and enabling themes
      7m 16s
    6. Enabling themes on a per-site basis
      3m 56s
    7. Defining a site-wide default theme
      3m 12s
    8. Installing and activating plug-ins
      6m 16s
    9. Updating your network installation
      3m 26s
  5. 29m 15s
    1. Setting up user permissions
      3m 31s
    2. Defining the registration process
      3m 8s
    3. Controlling access to sites
      2m 43s
    4. Importing users from another blog
      3m 52s
    5. Understanding user roles
      3m 39s
    6. Changing user roles on signup
      2m 58s
    7. Exploring blog privacy settings
      6m 1s
    8. Enabling features for site administrators
      3m 23s
  6. 38m 22s
    1. Displaying posts from network sites on the home page
      7m 45s
    2. Displaying a list of your networked sites
      4m 9s
    3. Broadcasting news across all sites
      8m 22s
    4. Gathering and using comments network-wide
      5m 13s
    5. Creating and using global tags and categories
      4m 33s
    6. Exploring network plug-ins
      8m 20s
  7. 17m 18s
    1. Introducing domain mapping
      1m 58s
    2. Using parked or add-on domains
      3m 24s
    3. Altering DNS records
      2m 15s
    4. Installing the domain mapping plug-in
      3m 18s
    5. Mapping a domain to a specific site
      2m 58s
    6. Hiding the original domain name
      3m 25s
  8. 33m 28s
    1. Understanding the importance of backing up your web site
      2m 4s
    2. Exploring backup plug-ins
      2m 23s
    3. Installing and configuring BackupBuddy
      8m 29s
    4. Migrating a standalone site into your network
      3m 24s
    5. Migrating an entire network
      7m 41s
    6. Scheduling backups with BackupBuddy
      3m 43s
    7. Remotely storing your backups
      5m 44s
  9. 28s
    1. Final thoughts
      28s

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