How To

Dig Yourself Out of a Hole – Multisite Edition

Sometimes, when you’re smart and savvy, you make changes that later on shoot yourself in the foot. Here’s what I did, how I solved it, and how to use this as an example of why you just keep trying!

When I started my first MultiSite install, I didn’t want Blog #1 to be the main ‘dashboard’ site. The reasons why don’t matter. What does is that when you make seemingly simple changes, you have to be aware of how things work, as a whole, and be willing to take risks to fix them.

Site #1 was my test site and has since been deleted
Site #2 was a vlog which still exists
Site #3 is my ‘main’ site, the front page of it all
Site #6 is my saved Tweets
Site #7 is a documentation site
Site #8 is to save my Formspring posts

I know it’s weird. Bear with me. At first I was going to use Site #1 as an ‘all posts!’ site, like Andrea suggests you do with sitewide tags plugin, but then I realized that I wanted a splash page and then some fancy ‘Hi! Welcome!’ stuff with links to the vlog, blog, etc. Once I decided I wanted site #3 to be the ‘main’ site, I made that switch by editing two things.

First I went into Super Admin >> Options and changed my main site to #3:

Then I edited my wp-config.php file to say:

define('SITE_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 3);
define('BLOGID_CURRENT_SITE', '3' );

Now to be honest, I think that I only need one of those, but I’m totally stumped about that now. At the time, I just saw they were both set to 1 and I changed them to 3. Everything worked! Great! This was done.

Then I went to create site #4. And it didn’t show up. So I made site #5, ditto. Decided that was weird as hell, I went into phpMyAdmin and after some poking around, deleting sites and re-adding, I found the wp_blogs table and saw this:

Rationalizing that since I could see Blogs 2 and 3, and their site_id was 1, I changed it to this:

And again, things seemed to work just fine. Until I started trying to use the new iPad WordPress app. Or add anything to post to my blog. Like Formspring. Nothing worked. The blogs couldn’t be found, and third-party apps sometimes crashed. Again, I thought ‘Maybe the site_id should be 3!’ So I changed it to this:

Not only did that not work, it broke things. Quickly, I changed it back and frowned. I was obviously missing something, but what!? I started looking around for all instances of site_id and found the wp_sitemeta table! Most of the entries had site_id of 1, but some had 3.

I changed the wp_blogs table again, knowing it would break things, exported the whole wp_sitemeta table as a backup, and then ran a quick SQL search and replace, changing 1 to 3 and got this:

Now the whole site worked from front and back end, so I went to Formspring and tried to add my site. And guess what? It worked! It also magically fixed my iPad/WordPress testing woes.

So the lessons learned are “Never give up!” and “Never make changes when you don’t know what you’re doing!” Actually, no, not that second one. The lesson is to be bold with your solutions. Don’t panic and be willing to take a risk. I took backups before I started playing around, and I knew at worst, I could restore my site in 30 minutes. Because I had an escape plan that took me back to where I was, I had no fears about my changes. When you have nothing to lose, that’s when you should jump forward and try something silly!

I doubt the actual details of all this will help you, since I don’t think anyone but me was boneheaded enough to screw around like this in the first place. But seeing that someone else has seriously screwed themselves up, shot themselves in the foot, and come out feeling super smart should, I hope, encourage you to stay calm, think it through, and make a stab at something that seems right. When the wave rocks your boat, hang on and don’t be afraid to swim a bit.

4 replies on “Dig Yourself Out of a Hole – Multisite Edition”

You just responded to me on the WordPress Forum about this. Thanks for this post. A couple of months ago I looked all over the interwebs for this information and couldn’t find it. I had figured out everything except the change in the wp-config.php file.

Thanks again.

OK. Now I have a question. How do you do this:

`First I went into Super Admin >> Options and changed my main site to #3:`

in WordPress 3.1?

You don’t. The main site was also called the ‘Dashboard site’ and was the default blog. That concept has been removed as of 3.1 so you don’t need to worry about it anymore.

IF it was anywhere it would be Network Admin -> Settings 🙂

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