I look after nine blogs.
Six of them are on my own servers and three have their own hosting. After my last post, I thought I would try an experiment – to combine several of those blogs under one roof, so simplify maintenance and to streamline things. Checking nine blogs on a regular basis for updates and upgrades can be tedious.
I set up WordPress MU on a test site. For the sake of the test, I used a few spare domains I had lying around.
Installation of WPMU is simplicity itself, requiring only the basic knowledge of how to install a database [I used Cpanel] and the ability to change permissions on the server [again using Cpanel].
Having set up the root blog, I set up a subsidiary blog, and decided to try to mirror this site on it. Once again, setting up the blog could not have been easier, but then my troubles started – how to I import all the features of this site onto the new one? I want the two sites to be precise mirrors, so this involves copying the theme, the posts, comments, images, tags, categories and links.
Copying the theme is simple. I just took a copy of the live theme folder, put it in the WPMU installation and activated it.
Copying the posts was relatively simple too. All I did was to export the XML file from this site and then import into the other. This gave me the ability to copy all the images as well which was just what I wanted.
I was now left with a problem. The XML export/import facility does not include links or link categories. This required a bit of lateral thinking.
In the end, I decided to use the sledgehammer approach. Using PHPMyAdmin, I exported this site’s entire database excluding “wp_options”, “wp_users” and “wp_usermeta”. I then opened the downloaded file and made a simple change.
To explain the change I made, it is necessary to understand the construction of the WPMU database. The root blog will contain its records in, for example “wp_posts”. Anything starting with wp_ pertains to the root, or the global site. The individual sub blogs contain a numerical prefix, so you will end up with “wp_2_posts”, “wp_3_posts” and so on.
I ascertained which prefix my sub blog was using and then did a simple find and replace on the entire database dump, replacing “wp_” with “wp_2_” or whatever the prefix is. I then imported this file into the new WPMU database.
It may seem that I have duplicated things here, as I had already imported the posts and comments, but I did that essentially to just import the images. I overwrote the information to maintain the integrity of all the ‘meta’ tables.
The result is rather effective – you can see it here, though please don’t leave any comments on it, as they will be dumped!
My next problem [and it’s a big one], is how to map my domain to pont as an alias to the new site. So far, I can only point a domain to it, whereas I want the domain to act as an alias and to mimic precisely the URLs of all the old pages.