SMF / WordPress Multi-site, single-signon

Looking at that subject and going HUH?!

I’m building a portal site with WordPress. From here users will jump to Simple Machines Forums (SMF). Each forum will be completely separate, with different mods. Is there already a mod or model to support that?

Right now I just have a couple forums but I hope this will blossom to many more. I’m starting in a shared host but if this generates revenue then we’ll move to VPS, probably a number of them.

My basic questions are:

  1. Is anyone doing anything like this here at DH?
  2. Any topology recommendations?

A note similar to the following has already been posted to the SMF user forum but I’m hoping for some DH-specific comments as well.

To bring a new forum online under the portal, I’ll copy from a template of files and a database, then customize to suit the forum-specific requirements. This seems like a fairly cookie-cutter operation. I’m looking for code to help with that. If I don’t find it I’ll probably create it over time.

There will be one super admin for the entire site but I’d like each forum to have a local administrator who only has access to specific features. I’m looking for a SMF mod where we can specify which admin functions are allowed for specific groups.

The structure I have in mind is that the domain will have WordPress at the root path, subdomains will be used as shortcuts to each forum, like mygroup.domain.tld. The actual SMF files will be under /home/user/forums/category1/group9/smf_files. With this structure I can consistently install under smf_files for every group and then in Administration I can set the URL to the subdomain. I’d like to put everything under /home/user/domain.tld/forums but I’ve heard that applications like SMF don’t do well in the same folder with WordPress. Any comments on that structure?

Here at DH I’m familiar with creating a domain under /home/user/domain.tld but given the number of sites I’d rather not have so many folders under a single root. Can I have these structures? …

/home/user/domain.tld = standard site
/home/user/base1/category1/group9 … set to group9.domain.tld
/home/user/base2/category5/group3 … set to group3.domain.tld

The idea there is that the subdomain should be able to point anywhere.

I intend to keep all forums at the same SMF base but in practice that can be tough, so as you see I’m planning to consume a lot of disk and have a separate install for each forum. Is there a better single installation multi-site solution? I’m looking into mods now but I’d like real-world opinions. More DH-specific, I might need to split my subdomains across multiple VPS servers. Is that possible?

Finally for now - I’m still struggling with an ID mechanism. SMF/WordPress User Profile integration is precarious these days. I’d rather keep them separate. But I’d like someone who is logged in to one SMF subdomain to be able to get into another one with the same credentials - if they’ve registered there. I’m hoping to find a Single-SignOn mechanism that works across SMF sites. The thing is though, that a single user might have a different display name in different forums. I’m thinking I would have users login with an email address and xref that to a different display name in each forum.

Is it possible that I’m not using the right tools for all of this? Off-the-menu suggestions are welcome.

Thanks for your time and consideration.