The beginners guide to WordPress Multisite

Looking for a quickstart guide to WordPress Multisite installation and management?



Well, you've come to the right place!

WordPress is a pretty simple platform that lets anyone get started with blogging, e-commerce, or affiliate marketing. It is one of the best Content Management Systems (CMS) in the market. However, it has its fair share of secrets. One such mystery is the WordPress Multisite feature. What does it do? Well, the multisite feature is what the name explains - controls multiple sites from a single platform.

WordPress Multisite

In this article, we will discuss how you can easily create WordPress multisite from your WordPress CMS platform and manage them at once. WordPress Multisite needs to be turned on to use appropriately. However, once enabled, it will add a layer of complexity to your website. So, before you get started with WordPress multisites, you need to be aware of how the feature works and what are its pros and cons.

Let’s get started!

What is WordPress Multisite Feature?



WordPress multisite feature was introduced in 2010 to let users manage multiple websites from a single platform. It was first integrated into the WordPress 3.0 platform.

With WordPress Multisite (MU) feature, you can easily create a network blog and then expand it as per your needs. You can add as many new websites as your server can handle. WordPress multisite feature will take care of all these websites while keeping them all organized.

A few points you need to remember about WordPress multisite:

-   WordPress multisite is a natural part of the WordPress interface. This means you don’t have to install a plugin to enable it.

-   WordPress Multisites works similarly to a single WordPress website.

WordPress Multisite Updates & Solutions



At the same time, you need to understand that WordPress multisite can’t be enabled without having root-level access. When working with applications, you can’t always get root-level access from your hosting service provided. In such cases, you will have no option but to create a new instance of WordPress to launch your second site. However, if you want to launch a multisite, you may have to switch your hosting. Once done, enable the multisite feature in WordPress.

1.   You will need to update files like wp-config.php and .htaccess to activate the WordPress multisite feature.

2.   You will have a single admin for WordPress multisite. All other admins will be dedicated to each website on the multisite platform.

3.   All site admins can only access tools they’re given access to. Still, they can’t modify them or the functionality of the site.

4.   The benefit of using WordPress multisite is that you will be able to manage plugins and themes for all websites with a single platform. Additionally, you can also check out the best WordPress Multisite themes and Plugins that would help you manage all your sites systematically and without any hassle!

As an example, an affiliate marketer can use WordPress multisite to manage all their websites with a single dashboard. Similarly, a multilingual WooCommerce store can use the multisite feature to launch multilingual stores at once.

Should you be using WordPress Multisite?



Now that you know the potential benefits of WordPress multisite let's learn about who should use the WordPress multisite feature. It is significant to understand that WordPress multisite feature will not suit everyone. It will suit:

  • Bloggers and Affiliate Marketers who would like to use all the websites from a single dashboard.
  • When Website Administrators would want to outsource their daily tasks to virtual assistants and only want to see the complete picture.
  • For Site Developers who would like to experiment with multiple websites all at once. Or, those who are looking to add multiple staging websites to their lists that they can test later.
  • Theme Developers can also make use of the multisite WordPress feature as it will add pace to their work.
  • For Agencies who would like to host all their client websites on WordPress and manage them through a single dashboard.
  • For Designers and Developers who would like to showcase their skills to employers can use WordPress multisite feature. All websites will be accessible through various subdomains.
  • When site developers would like to add multiple blogs to a single platform and give their access to other users, for example, Blogger, WordPress.com, Medium, Tumblr.
  • When you don’t want to launch multiple WordPress instances on your server.
  • When you want to save more on multiple websites hosting plans and instead launch all these websites from a single server.
  • When all websites require a few plugins, and you want to save time by installing the plugin only once.


Is WordPress Multisite really for You?



WordPress multisite hosting is perfect for all those users who are looking for a robust dashboard to handle all their WordPress worries. It also helps to save money on website hosting and use a single host for all websites. Find out how much WordPress websites actually cost.

Moreover, the most significant advantage of using WordPress multisite is that you can add as many domains as you want to your website with the WordPress multisite feature. Even if you are on a shared hosting solution, this will be a great benefit to you.

SSL For WordPress Multisite



You will not get an SSL certificate for all your domain names as most SSL certificates are available only for Top Level Domains (TLDs). You can use the WildCard SSL feature to add SSL certificates to all subdomains on your website.

Benefits of WordPress Multisite



Here’s what you need to know about WordPress multisite and its features that can benefit you in the long run.

WordPress Multisite lets you manage multiple website instances at once. But you need to keep all these WordPress installations on the same network. With the multisite feature, you can manage all websites, but they need to be on a single server. Moreover, you need to know that all these sites will manage your server resources.

Similarly, WordPress offers WordPress management tools that allow you to use multiple options to manage multiple websites in WordPress - all from a single dashboard. It comes with many added features that offer security, performance, monitoring, and management. With WordPress, you have the flexibility of managing websites of clients or users. Each website will have its custom domain.

How to Manage WordPress Multisites?



Here is how you can enable the WordPress multisite feature on your website:


1.   First of all, install WordPress. You can install WordPress through Softaculous software if you are using CPanel. If you are on another hosting provider, ask your provider to install WordPress on your server for you.




2.   Once WordPress is installed on the system, you need to make some changes to the WP_Config file to enable the WordPress multisite feature to WordPress.

Here is how you will be doing it. First of all, change the code in the WP_CONFIG file. You will need to add code above the highlighted one, as shown in the example.



Add the following code above this yellow highlighted line.

/* Multisite */
define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );


After adding the code to the config file, it should look like this.



Make sure that you upload the file back to the network after altering it. If you misplace any step, or if you use a different code, the website will crash for good.



Before enabling the code, we did not have a 'Network Setup' tab. This is because WordPress doesn't allow it by default. Most people who are using WordPress don't launch their multisite. That's why WordPress decided this feature should not be a part of its new installations.


3.   Now, click on Network Setup and create your setup on WordPress multisite. Once you open the Network setup section on Cloudways, you will see the following screen.



We will be using sub-domains because they are much easier to maintain. You can also use subdirectories if you prefer them. But that is entirely up to you to decide. SEO wise, both work well in 2020.



You will see these two codes. You have to add both of the codes separately on the.HTAccess and WP_CONFIG files. These will enable the WordPress multisite feature on the company sale.

define('MULTISITE', true);
define('SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', true);
define('DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', 'wordpress-357864-1111545.cloudwaysapps.com');
define('PATH_CURRENT_SITE', '/');
define('SITE_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1);
define('BLOG_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1);


We will add the above code to your wp-config.php file within the public_html folder.

Make sure that you add all the code above the line /* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */.

Here is how the final version of the file looks like.



Now, add this file to the public_HTML folder.

Open the .HTACCESS file from your system. For this tutorial, we will be using FTP to modify the .htaccess file. Let's see how it is done.


4.   You will have to connect to the server and then download the .htaccess file on your system.



In the .htaccess file, we will replace a few commands so that the website can work as a multisite landing page. Replace the script below with the one currently available in the .htaccess file.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]

# add a trailing slash to /wp-admin
RewriteRule ^wp-admin$ wp-admin/ [R=301,L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^ - [L]
RewriteRule ^(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $1 [L]
RewriteRule ^(.*\.php)$ $1 [L]
RewriteRule . index.php [L]


That’s it. You are ready to add numerous websites to your current site.

Now that you have learned about the method try and add a multisite to your website and try for yourself. You can also add a custom domain to the subdomain or folder to manage it.



Add a site URL, site TITLE, site language, and admin EMAIL. That’s it.

Now save it to add the site to your WordPress dashboard.

To access the site, go to WordPress dashboard > My Sites > Network Admin > Sites


5.   Next, define users for your new websites. You can set users for each of your websites and one superuser.



Once you have created a new user, you can assign a new website to it. Go to My Sites > Network admin > dashboard to share the responsibility of the new website with your created users.


6.   Similarly, you can add themes and plugins to your websites through the Network Admin Dashboard.



Managing new themes is also easy with the multisite feature, and it takes away repetitive work from the user's end.

How to Map Domains to WordPress Multisites?



Once you have created the subdomains and installed themes and plugins to each one of them, it is time to make the address look professional. This means that you will have to map domains to your subdomains.

P.s. If you don't want to add a domain to your website hosting, then that is fine as well.

What is Domain Mapping?



To understand what domain mapping is, think about all the domains you use to reach a destination. That’s what you are going to do. You will create a custom domain name for your subdomain and make it look like a real website.

To map domains to your WordPress multisite, you have two options available.

Option 1: Buy a new domain name and then point it to your CPanel hosting.

The system of pointing the domain from the DNS to your cloud server takes time. However, it is more or less straightforward. You will need to integrate if last night.

Option 2: Use a tool like domain mapping plugin to easily point domains to your WordPress website.

More important pointers on WordPress Multisites:



-   A word of caution, most WordPress themes can only be installed on Multisite by the super admin.

-   The super admin needs to be aware of how much room for changes he has available.

-   Super admins can decide to approve leaves of their teams or to send each one of them separately.

When to Use WordPress Multisite?



You can use the WordPress multisite feature as per your choice and depending on your requirements. People have been using the WordPress MU feature for various activities, like planning to build blogs and sell to users. Moreover, you want to create a solution that people can use, WordPress sites in Media and education can also benefit from the WordPress multisite feature.

When Not to Use WordPress Multisite?



There are a few scenarios where you should not use the WordPress multisite feature for your website:

  • You don't need to start a full-fledged website if your network and organization doesn't produce a separate property.
  • If your websites are vulnerable, then you can't do anything on your website, even if you want to experience it all the time.
  • You’re a network or an organization, but you wouldn’t get the full benefit of the multisite feature.



WordPress multisite feature is a perfect way for you to organize!

If you have any questions, feel free to drop your questions in the comment section below. Or, if you get stuck at some place while installing WordPress multisite, make sure to get in touch with the WP Help team, and you will get the answer to your question.

The WP Help team consists of expert WordPress developers who can make your WordPress hosting experience a truly managed one!

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