How to set up a Multiste Network on WordPress

By on July 31st, 2021

If you have been using WordPress for a long time then it might be possible that you are running more than one site at once. Running each site with a particular dashboard might be difficult to handle. Don’t worry, there is a more efficient way to create and manage a network of multiple websites from a single WordPress dashboard. Before getting started, Let’s take a look at what exactly multisite is?

What is MU(multisite)?

Using multisite you can create multiple WordPress sites on WordPress network according to your requirement with ease. This allows you to make changes easily and update all of your websites from one place. You can also add new users who can create their website under your network and limit them from accessing WordPress features.

Each site has its own media directory and database tables, but they do not have their own directories on your server.

Before Installation

Please ensure the following before beginning to install the wordpress multisite:

  • Backups your database and files
  • Pretty permalinks are activated (i.e. https://example.com/blog/ )
  • All plugins are deactivated
  • FTP access to upload or download files.

Setup Multisite Network

There are two choices for you when you decide to create a WordPress Multi-site network. You can either create new sites in the network on subdomains (abc.yourdomain.com) or sub-directories (yourdomain.com/abc). You can select any one of them that fits your requirements the best. In this tutorial, We will go with the most popular sub-domain method.

Note that you would have to create a DNS entry in your DNS zone file. If you haven’t created an entry, Create a CNAME record with name as “*” and host as “@“. Once the DNS entry is ready, All the random subdomains of that specific domain will point a single server. And a single server will also support multiple domains on a single application.

To set up multisite, you’ll need to access the files called wp-config.php and .htaccess. Both files will be found in the base folder of WordPress installation. Before editing, make a backup of both of those files.

Allow Multisite in wp-config.php

The first thing you need to do is set up a connection using an FTP client. Then, open up a wp-config.php file using any code editor like notepad and find the following line.

/* That's all, stop editing! Happy publishing. */

Add the following lines just before the above line.

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

Now save the file.

The multisite feature is now enabled. Our next step is to install the network.

Install the WordPress network

refresh the wordpress admin dashboard and hover over the “Tool” tab. you will see the “Network Setup” tab, where you can configure your multisite network.

Install the WordPress Multisite Network

Simply click on the “Network Setup” tab and follow the given step below to complete the process:

Addresses of the site in your network

You can choose whether you would like the site in your wordpress network to use sub-domains or sub-directories. Remember, you can not change this setting later. 

If you use the virtual host (sub-domain) functionality, you will need a wildcard DNS record.

Network Details

These are automatically filled in. but, you can make changes. Network details include:

  1. Server Address
  2. Network Title
  3. Network Admin Email

Check the details twice before clicking on the “Install” button.

Add code to wp-config.php and .htaccess

The first thing you need to do is set up an FTP connection. Before editing files, make sure you have a backup of both these files. Add the following code to your wp-config.php file above the line “/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy Blogging. */”.

Install Multisite network on WordPress

And, add the following line of code to your .htaccess file and replace other wordpress rules.

Edit .htaccess to support WordPress Multisite Network

Click on the “Save” button to continue.

Network Settings

Once you save both files, log in to your wordpress admin area again. Notice that your admin dashboard has changed a little. You will have a new tab at the top left of the wordpress dashboard called “My Sites”. Hover over it to see the “Network Admin” tab.

WordPress multi-site network demo

The “Network Admin” tabs are the central access point to the various options which is following:

  1. Dashboard: Here you can add new users and new sites to your network and provide updated news from the wordpress community.
  2. Sites: here you can manage all your sites that are part of the multisite network. You can also edit, delete, archive, or deactivate the site.
  3. Users: here you can manage the network’s users. You can assign a super admin role to a particular user. The super admin has access to all sites of your network.
  4. Themes: Here you can see all installed themes for your multisite network. You can install/uninstall and activate/deactivate themes for the whole network. If you want your theme available to other sites, then you need to click on the “Network Enable” option under that theme.
  5. Plugins: The network admin plugin screen allows you to add a new plugin for each site. You can activate or deactivate them for the whole network.

And the last thing is Settings: Here you can edit the basic setting for your site. It includes :

  • Operational Settings: edit Network Name and Network Admin Email
  • Registration Settings: Allow new registration, registration notification, add new users, limited email registration, and more.
  • New Site Settings: Send a welcome Email and add the First post, page, and comments on a new site.
  • Upload Settings: limit the total size of the network and set file types like jpg, jpeg, etc.

Adding a new site to the multisite network

Adding a new site to the multisite network

Adding a new site to the network is an easy process. Just go to the “My Site >> Network Admin >> Sites” and click on the “Add New” button.

Add necessary information like site URL, site title, site language, and admin email. When you are finished, click on the “Add site” button.

Conclusion

There are many uses of a multisite network: you can use it to create client or community sites, business sites, or blogs on different topics using sub-domain or sub-directory. 

The most important thing about a multisite network is, it reduces your disc space and makes you more structured.

That’s it. I hope this article might help you create a multisite network with ease.

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