How To Install and Setup WordPress Multisite

WordPress Multisite allows you to run multiple websites on your server using the same WordPress installation. From the setup of WordPress Multisite to optimizing its various features, this article will help you understand all the facets of this unique WordPress tool. Read on to learn more.

WordPress Multisite is a popular feature of WordPress, which allows you to create and manage multiple websites using the same WordPress installation on your server. In other words, you can manage several different WordPress websites from a single dashboard.

However, people are sometimes unsure about how to use this feature. This guide will help clarify questions related to what WordPress Multisite is, who needs it, and how to install it.

How To Install and Setup Wordpress Multisite

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What Is WordPress Multisite?

WordPress Multisite is a feature that allows you to create and manage multiple WordPress websites from a single WordPress dashboard. It was previously called WordPress Multi-User or WPMU. WordPress multisite is not a new feature. It is an advanced feature of the WordPress platform that has existed since the launch of WordPress 3.0. You can use it for a variety of purposes, such as updating all your websites with one click or charging your subscribers to create a website on your multisite network.  

Is WordPress Multisite Good?    

There are many reasons why using WordPress Multisite is beneficial for business owners with multiple websites: it's free to use and is super scalable because it supports as many WordPress blogs as you need. Quickly access all websites by logging in once and managing all sites from a single WordPress dashboard panel.  

Do I Need Multisite WordPress?  

How To Install and Setup Wordpress Multisite

When to use multisite? WordPress Multisite is best used when you are creating a network of sites that share similar functionality. Ideally, this similar functionality has been added through plugins, custom applications, or specific server configurations.  

How Can I Tell If WordPress Is Multisite?   

Check the wp-config. php file, you should see something like define ('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);, if so, then it's multisite, otherwise, it's not.  

What Is The Advantage Of WordPress Multisite?  

The biggest benefit of enabling WordPress Multisite is that it uses a single WordPress installation to host multiple sites on a single network. This means that when you update the WordPress core or plugins, you update all the sites on your network at the same time instead of having to go and update each site individually.    

Key Features of WordPress Multisite

WordPress Multisite comes with a variety of unique features. For starters, you can manage a network of blogs and websites from a single WordPress installation. It allows you to create a network of subdomains, like, or directories, like You can also have a separate domain for each website in the network. It is also easier to replicate functionality across a network of websites.

In WordPress Multisite, you can control the entire network as a super administrator. As an ordinary website administrator, you can only control one website on the network. As a super administrator, you control the accessibility of users who wish to create an account and setup their own WordPress blogs or websites.

A super administrator can install new themes and plugins, make them available to websites on the network, and customize themes for all websites. Another feature is the ability to create websites and online stores for specific languages, regions, and currencies.

Both the super administrator and the website administrator can control the content. While this control extends to the entire network for a super administrator, the website administrator has the right to choose the content of the main domain that is displayed on their respective website. Plugins are also under the control of a super administrator. However, a website administrator can enable and disable plugins on his or her website if necessary.   

Who Should and Should Not Use WordPress Multisite? 

Although WordPress Multisite offers many features, it is not always the right choice. The main problem is that websites in a multisite network share the same database. In other words, you can't back up just one website. That's why all websites in a network must belong to the same main domain.

Let me explain with an example. A university could use WordPress Multisite to create different websites for each department, student and faculty blogs, and forums. Since the websites would share their database with the main university domain, they would be easier to manage on a multisite network.

Similarly, banks and financial institutions with a national or global network of branches, digital publications with multiple content sections, government agencies with multiple departments, hotel chains, stores with multiple outlets, e-commerce companies, and web design companies such as Wix could also benefit from a multisite network.

However, a web designer could not use multisite to manage multiple unrelated client projects. If one of the clients decided to move their website elsewhere, it would be a problem because the website would share its database with others on the network. Multisite makes it difficult to backup an individual website on the network. In this case, it is better to use a single installation.    

Pros and Cons of WordPress Multisite

Now that we know who should and should not use WordPress Multisite, let's look at the technical pros and cons. You'll need to consider them carefully before making your decision.


+ The main advantage is the ability to manage multiple websites from a single dashboard. This is useful if you manage multiple websites run by different teams under the same parent domain, such as an e-commerce store with different country-specific subsites.

+ However, you can also assign a different administrator to each website in your network.

+ With a single download, you can install and activate plugins and themes for all websites in your network.

+ You can also manage updates with one main installation for all websites in your network.


- Since all websites share the same network resources, they will all go down if the network goes down.

- A sudden increase in traffic to one website will affect all others on the network. Unfortunately, beginners often have trouble managing server traffic and resources on a multisite network.

- Also, if one website is hacked, the entire network will be compromised.

- Not all WordPress plugins support a multisite network.

- Likewise, not all hosting providers have the tools to support a multisite network.

- If your hosting provider does not have the required server configuration, you will not be able to use the multisite feature. For example, some hosts do not allow you to add a domain on the same hosting server. In this case, you may need to modify or upgrade your hosting plan or change providers. 

WordPress Multisite Requirements

Knowing the technical pros and cons, you should have decided if multisite is the right option for you. If you are going to use it, there are a few technical requirements you will need to meet first.

One of the first things you will need is a web hosting service provider that can handle multiple domains in a single web hosting plan. Although you can use shared hosting for a couple of low-traffic websites, you should use VPS hosting or a dedicated server, due to the nature of the WordPress Multisite network.

You will also need to have the fundamental knowledge to install WordPress. It would be an added advantage if you already have a WordPress installation. However, you will need to back it up. You will also need to disable all plugins.

Make sure you have FTP access. You will also need to know the basics of editing files via FTP. Finally, you'll need to enable some nice permalinks. In other words, your URLs should not look like, but like

Multisite Domain Mapping

By default, you can create additional Web sites on your multisite network as subdomains or subfolders of the main Web site. They look like this:

or like this:

However, you will not always want to do this, as you will need to create a unique domain name for each website. This is where domain mapping comes to the rescue. You can use this feature within the multisite network to map additional websites to display under the .com domain name. Using domain mapping, this is what you will see: =

or : =

Prior to WordPress version 4.5, you had to use a domain mapping plugin to map additional websites. However, in version 4.5+, domain mapping is a native feature.  

Multisite Hosting and SSL

As you probably know, the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol allows you to transport data over the internet securely. The data remains undecipherable to malicious users, bots, and hackers.

However, some hosting providers offer free SSL certification for the main domain only. You may have to purchase it separately for each subdomain. If one of the websites in your multisite network does not have SSL certification, the security of all other websites will be compromised. Therefore, make sure that all websites in your WordPress Multisite network have SSL certificates.  

WordPress Multisite Hosting Requirements  

Before creating your multisite setup, consider the size of your network and compare the prices and features of the major WordPress hosting providers.

If you only plan to have a few websites in your network, then a shared hosting account is a good choice. If you plan to have a large WordPress Multisite network, you may want to consider VPS hosting, managed WordPress hosting, or a dedicated server for your hosting needs.

We recommend using Bluehost or SiteGround as they offer several hosting plans suitable for each level of hosting, and they are both officially recognized by WordPress.  

How To Setup WordPress Multisite Network   

How To Install and Setup Wordpress Multisite

Once you have found a hosting provider, you will need to install WordPress.

Once the installation is complete, connect to your website using an FTP client like FileZilla.

Next, locate and edit the wp-config.php file in your cPanel on your hosting provider.

Then add the following line just before "That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging" in the file.

1   /* Multisite */

2    define('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);

Save your wp-config.php file and log out of your cPanel. Then, connect to your WordPress site. After logging in, go to Tools » Network Setup. This is where you will configure your WordPress Multisite network.

On the Network Setup screen, choose whether you want the sites in the network to be on their own subdomain (like and or subdirectory (like and

This is important because once you have made your choice, you cannot change this setting later.   

How To Install and Setup Wordpress Multisite

If you choose subdomains, you will need to change your DNS settings for domain mapping. We'll show you how in a moment.

In the network details section, enter a name for your multisite network and an administrative address. Click on the "Install" button.

On the next screen, you will see the code you need to add to wp-config.php and the .htaccess file. These two files are located in your WordPress root directory.

Connect to your website again using an FTP client, then open and modify these files by pasting the code provided by WordPress.

How To Install and Setup Wordpress Multisite

After updating both files, you will see the WordPress Multisite network on your WordPress admin bar the next time you log in.  

How To Install and Setup Wordpress Multisite

Install WordPress Multisite Subdomain   

If you have chosen to use subdomains for the websites in your multisite network, you must create a subdomain with an asterisk as the subdomain name. This is called a wildcard subdomain. For example, if your WordPress installation is, you need to create the subdomain *

To do this, you must first log into the cPanel dashboard of your WordPress hosting account.

In this tutorial, we'll show you how it looks in the Bluehost dashboard. If you are using a different web host or domain registrar, your dashboard may look different.

In your Bluehost account dashboard, scroll down to the Domains section, then click Subdomains.  

How To Install and Setup Wordpress Multisite

On the next page, enter the asterisk (*) in the subdomain field and select your primary domain from the drop-down menu. 

How To Install and Setup Wordpress Multisite

Once you have made the selection, cPanel will automatically detect the document root and display it in the field below. Now click the "Create" button to add your new wildcard subdomain.   

WordPress Multisite Network Settings

After setting up your WordPress Multisite network, you'll want to be sure to check your settings so that your site is working the way you want it to.

You can do this from your WordPress dashboard.

To configure your network settings, log into your WordPress website and click on Sites. Next, click on Network Admin » Dashboard at the top left of your admin area.

From the drop-down menu, you can manage websites, users, themes, plugins, and configure settings for your WordPress Multisite installation.    

How To Install and Setup Wordpress Multisite

The multisite network administration settings tab allows you to set default themes, page and post text, welcome emails sent by WordPress to new users, and more.

Keep in mind that any changes you make in the multisite network administration settings will affect all sites and users in your multisite network.   

Managing Multiple Sites On WordPress   

You can also manage all the individual websites in your Multisite WordPress installations on the Sites screen. The multisite dashboard allows you to add, delete, deactivate, and archive websites in your network.    

How To Install and Setup Wordpress Multisite

If you disable a site on your multisite network, it will be hidden from your multisite users and any visitors to the site. Anyone trying to visit a deactivated site will see the message, "This user has chosen to delete their account, and their content is no longer available."

Websites on your multisite network that are archived are only seen by the network's super administrator. Anyone trying to visit an archived website will see the message "This site has been archived or suspended."

The super-administrators of a Multisite WordPress network can mark a website in the network as spam. This makes the site invisible to everyone. Deleting a site will remove it from your network permanently.  

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