WordPress Multisite Network Explained
A multisite network is a made up of several Websites that share a common WordPress installation. They can also use the same "network" level themes and plugins.
The real advantage of a multisite network is the efficiency of managing and maintaining multiple websites through one WordPress installation and admin panel—allowing network level plugins and themes to be updated once and automatically applied throughout the network. Also, since the member sites have separate directories for media uploads and separate tables in the database within the shared WordPress installation, you can apply the same or separate themes to each individual website.
For a real world example, please checkout one of our custom WordPress multisite networks at Explorer1.com. Each website uses the same custom theme and plugins, but, since they are separate sites, we have applied different headers, menus, and main images. (Please note that this site is still being rebuilt, so several of the member sites are older traditional websites.)
Multisite networks can be a challenge to setup, so you really need to determine if you would truly benefit from a multisite network as opposed to simply keeping your websites completely independent from one another.
Another concern with a multisite network is security. When your websites are completely independent, if you get hacked, they will probably only hit one of your website. If the sites are networked, they can hit all of them. Therefore, it is imperative that you keep your WordPress core files, themes and plugins up-to-date. Also, you may want to enhance your security through additional security plugins.
For more information about multisite networks, you can visit WordPress.
If you need help setting up your network or even help to determine if it would benefit you, please contact us.