A One-Stop Guide To Operate Multi Sites In WordPress

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This is a one-stop guide about multi sites in WordPress and the best practices to operate the same. If you are looking for a comprehensive understanding of the multi sites in WordPress, then you are on the right webpage. We provide you with this detailed guide to lend you a helping hand in times of your need. 

WordPress has the feature of the in-built capability of creating multiple websites by using the same installation of WordPress.

It can be used by schools, blogs, businesses, and those who run separate different websites but wish to manage all of them under one dashboard.

Since this is a detailed and comprehensive guide to multi-sites, here is the list of topics and various aspects which are covered –

What Are Multi Sites In WordPress?

Multi Sites in WordPress is a feature that allows the users to build a network of websites with a single installation of WordPress. It is present in WordPress since version 3.0 and continues as the project under the WordPress multi-user project (WPMU). However, the WordPress multi-user project was discontinued for some reason, and its features were taken up by the WordPress core version.

It is an algorithm that enables the user to create new websites instantly and also manage them by using the same password and username. It also allows other users to sign up and create blogs or websites on your domain to appear under a single dashboard.

Pros Of Using WordPress Multisite Network System

These are the pros of WordPress multisites network which are better off when used to manage standalone WordPress websites –

  • Being a network administrator, it allows managing multiple websites under a single dashboard.
  • Each of the websites is allowed to have its own admin, who will have the potential to manage their websites only.
  • There is an option to install themes or plugins and activate the same for multiple websites with a single download.
  • The network of multi-sites also enables us to manage the updates in an easier way. All you need to do is click on ‘master install’ to update the themes or plugins and also the WordPress websites as a whole as well.

Cons Of Using WordPress Multisite Network System

Besides having several advantages, this system does have a few of the cons too. Here are some of the disadvantages you must take into consideration before setting up a multi site network –

  • There are the same and shared resources on all the websites and their networks. This will mean that when your website faces a down phase, all the other websites will go down as well.
  • If you are on the beginner level of developing a website on WordPress, then it might be a difficult task for you to establish a multi site network and manage the same. There are huge resources and traffic to take care of. If in case one of your websites get unpredicted traffic, then it will have an impact on the other websites on the network as well.
  • There is a high risk of hacking of the websites. Even if one of the websites is hacked, all the rest will automatically be hacked on the network.
  • Few of the WordPress plugins may not function properly on a multi site network.
  • WordPress multi site network does not support all kinds of web hosting service providers resulting in limiting the availability of the options.
  • Therefore, you must take both sides of the coin into account before setting up a multi site network system in WordPress. 

Who Can Use The WordPress Multisite Network System?

It is not necessary to use the multi site network system if you are engaged in several different websites. 

These types of systems are like third-party tools that are useful for managing multiple websites in WordPress using a single dashboard. There are various types of tools like iThemes sync or InfiniteWP, which strives to make the managing process much easier and simpler for the users. You do not need to switch back and forth between multiple websites, as this allows you to operate through one dashboard. 

So, to give you an insight into the scenarios where you can use this networks system to its optimum capabilities, the list is as follows –

  1. A magazine enterprise which has different sections under different teams.
  2. A business organization is running various branches in different locations through multiple websites.
  3. Non-profit organizations or government-funded enterprises can also develop their websites having different sections of different departments, locations, and areas.
  4. You can also use this network for your own blogging website on multiple subdomains.
  5. This can also be used by students of schools or colleges, which allow them to write their blogs on the servers of school or college.

What Are The Prerequisites For A WordPress Multisite Network?

The resources are shared and thus are the same across different networks under the multi site network system. This will mean that the major thing you will need for a WordPress multisite network is a sound WordPress hosting service provider.

In case you wish to have only a few websites having low traffic to be clubbed under this system, then you can use shared hosting services.

However, when your website grows further, you will require a dedicated server or a VPS hosting system as per the nature of the multisite network.

Bluehost is highly recommended to use as a multisite network system in WordPress as it offers both VPS hosting and shared hosting services. Moreover, they are one of the hosting partners, or to precisely say, official hosting partners of WordPress itself. 

If you are in search of an alternate option, then you can use WPEngine or SiteGround, which provide excellent service for WordPress multisite network.

Apart from hosting through the web, you will require some basic knowledge of how to install WordPress and how to edit files using FTP.

What Are The Features Of Multi Sites In Wordpress Network?

The multi sites in WordPress offers the following features –

● It allows users to run a network of several WordPress websites and blogs on a single installation of WordPress.

● It allows the users to get a network of directories like example.com/john/ or sub-domains like john.example.com

● It permits the users to open WordPress multi site network for others too so that they can create one account to publish their blogs.

● It allows you to be the Super Admin who can install plugins and themes, make it available on other websites on different networks as well. However, one thing to keep in mind that the other website’s users will not be capable of installing the plugins or themes.

● Being a Super Admin of multi sites in WordPress, you can make various changes as per your convenience. Also, keep in mind that website admins can not make changes or amend themes on their WordPress account. 

So, there is a varied range of features of multi sites in WordPress to establish a multi network system that expands your resources and your website performance in the end.

How Can One Enable Multi Sites In WordPress Network?

The first and foremost thing that you need to do is install the WordPress app. Once you have successfully downloaded the app, connect it with your website via an FTP client such as File Zilla. Rename the file to wp-config.php, save the file and then log in to your WordPress account. Then you will have to navigate to Tools and click network setup. This is the platform to configure your websites and establish a multi-sites in WordPress network. 

When you see the network setup screen, choose whether you wish to locate your site on subdomains or their directories. This is a crucial decision, so you must select wisely as there is no option to change it later. If you opt for subdomains, then you will require to change the settings into domain mapping under the DNS system settings. 

In the section of network details, you will have to provide a name and an admin address to your website network. Then you will have to click on the install button.

The next screen of WordPress will show you some codes which are required to add to .htaccess and wp-config.php files. Both the files are present in your WordPress root directory. Now, connect to the website with the help of an FTP client and open the files to paste the codes as provided by WordPress before. 

On the successful updation of both the files, you will need to login to your WordPress account again under the admin area. Once you log in, you can see multi sites in WordPress network menu appearing on the top wordpress admin bar.  

How To Enable Subdomains In Multi Sites In Wordpress Network?

You can enable subdomains in multi sites in WordPress network by adding a wildcard subdomain. You will require to create a subdomain using ‘*’ as the subdomain name. For instance, if the WordPress account in installed at example.com, then you will have to create a subdomain that looks like this – *.example.com. However, this name of the subdomain must be located in the same directory where the WordPress account is installed. Now let us see how you can add a wildcard subdomain in cPanel.

First, you will have to log in to the cPanel dashboard and click on the subdomain section under the domains section of your WordPress account. The next screen will require you to enter * in the field of the subdomain. Do not forget to ensure that the root field of document points to the same directory where you have installed your WordPress. This is the same directory where the wp-config.php file exists. Finally, click on the create button to include the subdomain in the multi sites in WordPress network.

Network Settings Of Multi Sites In WordPress

Navigate over to My sites appearing on the WordPress admin bar. Click on the dashboard, which is the platform for the multi sites in WordPress. You can delete or add sites, install themes and plugins, and also manage your uses from this dashboard.

In order to manage the multisite network settings, you will need to open the page of network settings under settings option and then register your website. You can also allow users to create sites or create accounts as well. However, you can also leave the registration disabled in case you wish to delete or add manually as per your user’s and website’s preferences.

Amongst the other settings, it allows you to edit emails that are sent by WordPress whenever a user creates a new website. There is also an option to change the default settings of text on comment, page, or post added by WordPress on the creation of new websites. Do not forget to remember the effect of settings done to all users and sites on your website. You need to be careful on this point and take due precautions for the same.

How To Add New Sites To WordPress Multisite Network?

For adding a new website to your WordPress multi site network account, you will need to click on Sites appearing under Network admin under My Sites in the admin toolbar.

The next screen will display the list of websites on your current WordPress multisite installation. The default settings let you see the primary site as the only website on your WordPress multi site network. 

For adding a new website, click on the Add New button displayed at the top. The next screen will be of Add New Sites, where you will have to provide the website’s address. You just have to type the part which you wish to take as the subdomain or subdirectory and not the full website’s address. Add a website title and type in the website’s admin details of the email address. Here, you can also include the email address other than the one you are currently using so as to manage multi-sites efficiently. 

If, in a situation where you do not use the current email address of the admin, WordPress will create a new username and password to the email address which you have entered.

Once you have finished all these formalities, click on the Add Site button.

This will add a new website to the multi site network of WordPress. WordPress will also send an email confirmation as well, as you are the site admin.

In the case where you create a new user, the email confirmation will be sent to that user’s email address along with the instructions to set a new username and password. 

How To Add Plugins Or Themes To The Multisite Network In WordPress?

The default settings of the WordPress application do not permits to install themes or plugins on their own. 

If you wish to add themes or plugins to the multi site network, you can do so only if you are an admin of the multi site network.

To begin with, you will need to open the Themes page under Network Admin in My Sites toolbar. This page will display the list of themes that are currently installed in WordPress. 

By clicking on Network Enable, you enable us to share the themes with other networks as well. Or, you can also disable the particular theme by clicking on the Network Disable button. Remember that the disabling of the theme can only be done when that theme is enabled.

For adding a theme, you need to click Add new button appearing at the top of the screen and then install the theme of WordPress, which you want to include in the website network.

After you have done so, you can enable the theme to appear on other networks by clicking on the Network Enable button.

You can select various themes from the categories of blogs, photography, or multi-purpose themes. 

To Set A Default Theme On Multisite Network

After adding a few themes to the multisite network, you can also set one of them as the default theme. If you want to do so, you will have to enter a certain code to make a default theme for each of the new websites. 

You will need to replace the theme with your theme name, use the theme’s folder name, and set the same as the default.

To Install The Plugin For Multi Site Network

You can follow the same procedure for plugins. All you need is to just click on Network Activate under the Plugins section of Network Admin. 

You can select from the following recommended plugins software –

  1. WPForms – it is amongst the most popular WordPress contact form plugin, which allows creating quick and beautiful forms by simply following instructions.
  2. Yoast SEO – it is a comprehensive WordPress plugin based on the SEO aspect, which helps in getting more visitors to your website.
  3. SeedProd – it allows the website to add a coming soon and maintenance mode loading page.
  4. WP Mail SMTP – it fixes the issue of WordPress not sending the emails. It sends multisite notifications and registration emails.

If you have already enabled a plugin previously, then you can add or delete a particular plugin on their own. You can also deactivate a plugin. However, website admins can not install or delete a plugin on their own. 

How To Add Default Content To Multi Sites?

The default settings of WordPress allows you to edit some of the content for each website by going to Network settings under the Settings option. New Site settings option will allow you to enter the text which you wish to change.

It allows for editing content for default comment, post, or page. It is suggested that you change the default content only when you are up for something more useful and resourceful for the visitors.

However, WordPress does not allow one to create additional default content for each new website. But if you wish to do so, you will need to add custom code to the WordPress multisite network. 

How To Troubleshoot WordPress Multisite Issues?

Incorrect configurations of wildcard domain or subdomain mapping issues are the most frequently occurring problems in WordPress multisite network. So do not forget to ensure that your WordPress or web host supports wildcard domain or subdomain before young set up a multi site network.

Here are some of the commonly faced issues and their quick fixes –

Log in issues on multisite network and its fixes

It is faced in the WordPress directories that a user is not able to login to the admin area of the websites after adding a certain code to the wp-config.php file. To fix it, try replacing your codes with other codes.

Find Unconfirmed Users

This is the issue when the users do not receive the activation emails but are registered whoa are unable to find. You can refer to the detailed guide to fix this issue.

Export Of A Website From Multisite To Its Own Wordpress Installation

When you want to export a website from a multi site network to its own WordPress installation, you can follow the easy instructions to do so. 

To see more errors under the WordPress multisite network, you can view the related article and get their effective remedies as well.

How To Manage Sites In WordPress Multisites Network?

One can manage sites in WordPress multisites network through the screen of Sites under the multisite dashboard. In these visible settings options, you can not only delete or add, but also archive and deactivate websites.

When you wish to deactivate the website, it becomes invisible for both the user and the admin of the website. Anyone who wishes to view a deactivate website will be prompted by a message saying, ‘this user has elected to delete their account, and the content is no longer available .’

On the other hand, when you archive a website, it can be seen only by the Super Admin. The other visitors or users and website admin who wish to view an archive website will be prompted by the message which says, ‘this site has been archived or suspended.’

There is also an option to mark the website as spam by the Super Admin. This will make the website invisible for everyone, including visitors, website admin, and the Super Admin as well. Whereas, when you delete a website, it gets completely removed from your WordPress accounts and the servers. 

Frequently Asked Questions of Multi Sites In WordPress

To clear your doubts and frequently asked questions, we present this section taking up the following queries to help you in further analysis –

Is using a multisite network result in better managing outcomes?

To answer this honestly, the results totally depends upon your usage abilities. For instance, if you operate different websites that are not linked with each other, then you can try tools like InfiniteWP, which is a multisite management tool. Whereas, if you operate multi sites for a hotel or restaurant chain, a magazine, etc. then using WordPress multisite network will be really effective.

Is multisite network of WordPress helpful in faster loading of the websites?

 This again depends upon various factors and how you use the same. The better the WordPress multisite features, the more you will be able to take advantage of unique features. Plenty of server resources and its hosting will permit multisite to be faster, which will, in turn, result in faster loading of the individual websites as well. 

Can an online store be added to the multisite network on WordPress?

 Definitely yes! It is possible to add an online store to the multisite network in WordPress. You can use an e-commerce plugin such as WooCommerce, which is a compatible plugin with WordPress.

How can I share user logins and roles with other multisite networks?

 The default settings of WordPress does not allow one registered or added the user to be registered to other websites on the same network. This is so because these users are already registered in the shared WordPress database. However, such users do not enjoy any privileges on other websites. 
You can use third-party tools also.  

Concluding Words of Multi Sites In WordPress

Congratulations! You have reached the end of this long yet informative and resourceful guide on WordPress multisites network system. It is simple and interesting to use this inbuilt feature of WordPress, which can be your supporting pillar in managing the content of different websites in an effective and efficient manner. Now leave all the worries to edit different websites again and again to the multisite network services. It not only takes off the burden from your shoulder but also gives you room for more improvements to your website at the same time. 

So it is time now to talk less and work more to receive better outcomes.

Go ahead and try to implement all the learning.

Good luck! 

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