Manage Multiple Websites with WordPress Multisite Network Feature

Most of the WordPress users owned multiple blogs or website to provide quality information to the people in various niches. So they can provide their different area of knowledge in various WordPress site. Managing these multiple WordPress sites is a bigger task than providing the content for all sites because multiple site management is a time-consuming task.

Most of the multiple site owners have spent lots of time to maintain these sites. To simplify these works, we need a multiple site manager. But for WordPress users, there is no need to go with separate multisite management providers. WordPress 3.0 and above versions have built-in multisite network feature.  Before this, it was a separate project of

What is WordPress multisite network feature?

WordPress Multisite network makes multiple site management easy with single WordPress installation. No need to go with separate WP install for each site. With the help of networks feature, we can access all WordPress site with one network admin.  All the sites are connected in WordPress network so we can install themes, plugins in one place and we can enable them wherever we need in the network of sites.  The backup and upgrading procedures are very easy.  Just do it only in network admin with single click.  No need to go to individual sites.
WordPress Multisite, BuddyPress and bbPress Installation - plugins, themes and hosting included!

How to Enable Network Feature?

To create new network, we should enable multisite in WordPress installation. For this, the WordPress should be installed in main domain and not in sub-folder.This condition necessary for both the newly-installed WordPress site and existing WordPress site.  To enable the multisite, first we should edit wp-config.php via FTP/Cpanel and add the below code.

define('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);

before the line where it say,

/*That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.*/

Now save the wp-confing.php file.

Now you will have the Network setup option under the tools menu in wp-admin dashboard.

That’s it and you have enabled the multisite network feature.

How to create Wp multisite network?

We can use sub-domain or sub-directory method for creating new network of WordPress sites. Using these sub-domains or sub-directories, finally we can map with the original WordPress sites we want to add in the multisite network using proper domain mapping. For detailed explanation of wordpress multisite domain mapping explained in this book

Setup a new multisite network that has two different procedures based on the WordPress installation:

  1. New WordPress installation
  2.  Exiting WordPress site

The differentiation in procedure gives the network of sites in two different ways:

  1. Sub-domain based network
  2.  Sub-directory based network

For both new and existing WordPress sites, I would recommend to create sub-domain based network. With sub-domain based network, the whole procedure of multisite setup can be easy done and Google credits sub-domain as separate than sub directory.

Create a network in new WordPress installation

For newly-installed WordPress site, we can use sub-domain or sub directory for creating new network of WordPress sites. Both are possible in new WordPress installed site. Go there to setup wordpress multisite network with sub-domain method.

Sub-domain based wordpress multisite network

For sub-domain based network creation, you need to set up whilecad sub-domain in your hosting account. Some of the hosting providers may not give option to set up wildcard sub domains so while choosing the web hosting company for WordPress multisite, we should check all the hosting requirements of multisite network setup. Vps hosting or dedicated servers are good enough for multisite hosting.  Choose your plan according to number of sites in the network and your traffic estimation.

Once you have set up Wildcard sub-domain in your hosting account, now you are ready to choose sub-domain based network in network setup in wp dashboard.  Choose the option and save.

Now you will have the “network admin” or “super admin” link options in the dashboard like the image below.

wordpress multisite Network admin

When you are inside the “network admin” you will have the link to “site admin”.

Click the network admin link. Here you have the ‘network settings’ and ‘network setup’ options under the “settings” tab. Go to the network settings and enter the necessary details required in the page—example network name, email, etc. Finally, save the settings.

Wordprss multisite network settings

Now go to “network setup”.  Here you will have three steps to configure your network. Follow the steps given.

  1. Create blog.dir folder inside the wp-content folder.  blogs.dir should be writable by the server. Otherwise change permission to’775’.
  2. Open wp-config.php file of the site. And paste the below code before the line /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.*/
  3. Paste the code  given in the setup page in .htaccess file of the site. In some instances, these files are hidden by the server so we have to enable the option to show all hidden files in you hosting account.

Configuration steps of sub-domain based multisite network

That’s it!  Now you have configured the sub-domain based multisite network.

In your network admin, you have the option to add new sites in your network. Just click ‘add new’ and add new sites as sub-domains in your network. For each new site added to your network, new blog ID is assigned. This will create new folder inside the blogs.dir directory.

If you have problems adding new sites, you may have problem in wildcard sub-domain setup or blog.dir permission settings.

Did you feel setup procedure for a wordpress multisite network is complicated dont worry. Start your wordpress multisite in a minute checkout here.

Sub-directory based wordpress multisite network

Sub-directory based network creation is only possible with newly-installed WordPress site. For existing WordPress site, we should use only sub-domain option to create network. For sub-directory based network creation, we don’t need to set up wildcard sub-domain in your hosting account. Remaining steps are same as sub-domain based network creation.

While configuring the network setup, we should use three steps in sub-domain based network.

Here we should have different codes for steps 2 and 3. We have to add in config.php and .htaccess file. Once you’ve configured the network, we can add site same as sub-domain based network. We will see the procedure to create wordpress multisite network in existing wordpress site in up coming post.

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  • kalyan September 29, 2011, 4:22 PM

    Thank you very much for this article, i am wondering on how to do this. thanks again

    • Suresh September 29, 2011, 6:04 PM

      Hai kalyan,

      Thanks wait for the upcoming posts on multisite..

  • igor bondarev November 13, 2011, 10:03 PM

    I own a multite network!
    Can you tell me how can I manage all the post from one place???

    • Suresh November 14, 2011, 10:26 AM

      Hai igor bondarev,

      You may expect this post soon…


  • Brad Dalton February 5, 2012, 11:53 AM

    I’ve created a video and tutorial on how to enable and setup WordPress multi site from a different perspective which may help you if you get stuck.