Managing users across multiple WordPress sites can be a challenging task for administrators. In this article we'll discuss some of the most common problems managing users across multiple sites, and propose some solutions.
No centralized user management
One of the biggest challenges when managing users across many WordPress sites is the lack of a centralized user management system.
WordPress does not have a built-in user management system that allows administrators to manage users across multiple websites from one location. This means that administrators have to log in to each individual website and manage users separately.
This can be time-consuming and frustrating for administrators, as it requires them to switch between multiple websites and possibly even multiple user accounts.
Manually assigning permissions
Another problem is that administrators have to manually set the roles and permissions for each user on each website. This can be confusing and error-prone, as administrators have to remember the roles and permissions for each user on each website.
If the same person is a member of multiple websites but has different roles, it can be tedious and confusing to maintain the proper permissions on all of the sites.
Password fatigue can also be a problem when managing users across multiple WordPress websites. Administrators have to manually set and manage user passwords for each user on each website.
This can be insecure, as administrators may forget to set strong passwords, they may reuse the same password for multiple websites/users, and they may send passwords insecurely such as by email.
Managing users across many WordPress sites the easy way
Unless you are using a multisite network, you will need to rely on a third-party plugin or service to manage users across many WordPress sites.
The following options each have their own pros and cons depending on your needs.
Option 1 – User synchronization plugin
One way to make user management easier across many sites is to synchronize users. In this method, synchronization of user credentials between sites occurs when creating new users or modifying existing users.
This option is affordable and relatively easy with the WP Remote Users Sync plugin. Simply install the free plugin on all the sites that need to synchronize users, and configure each site for synchronization and you're all set.
But there are drawbacks also. Synchronized users share the same credentials across two or more sites. So if a hacker compromises one site, all the sites in the network may be vulnerable also. Additionally, configuring the plugin on every site to synchronize with every other site can be time consuming for large networks.
It's also important to keep in mind that busy site networks can theoretically become out-of-sync depending on user activity.
Option 2 – Single sign-on service
Single sign-on, or SSO, lets your credentials for one service — Google for example — be used to log into another service like a WordPress website.
There are many options for WordPress SSO available. However, they can often be complex to set up and expensive to operate. However, they are a great fit for organizations with large budgets and existing credentialing systems like LDAP.