WordPress Multisite: A Guide to WordPress Network

Do you want to set up a WordPress Multisite network? WordPress can create multiple sites using the same WordPress installation.

A WP multisite network can be used by anyone who needs to run separate websites and wants to manage them all under a single dashboard.

This guide will show you how to get started with a WordPress multisite network.

What is WordPress multisite?

WordPress multisite is a method that lets you create and manage multiple websites in a single WordPress installation. You can use this feature in your existing or newly-created WordPress site. To activate this feature, you must add just a few lines of code to some WordPress files. (don’t worry. It’s not complicated! We will show you how.)

It’s a popular solution for businesses and organizations that run multiple websites because it lets users create multiple subdomains and subcategories. Schools and institutions can also use this feature to create multiple websites for different departments.

Related: How to install WordPress on AEserver | A Beginner’s Guide

Pros and cons of WordPress Multisite

Let’s examine the pros and cons of using WP multisite. You’ll need to sift through them before making a decision.


  • The main advantage is that it allows the user to perform all website-related activities (updates, backups, security and more) from a single WordPress dashboard.
  • Users can assign different admins to each website on the same network to share site management.
  • You can install and activate themes and plugins for all websites on the network with a single WordPress installation.


  • Since all the websites share the same network, they will all go down if the network goes down.
  • If one website experiences a sudden increase in traffic, it will affect other sites on the same network. Similarly, If one website is compromised, the entire network may suffer.
  • Not all plugins and themes support the Multisite network.
  • All websites on the network share the database, so you can only perform updates and backups network-wide.
  • Not all web hosts support Multisite networks.

Related: WordPress vs Website Builders: Which Tool Should You Use?

Requirements for a WordPress Multisite Network

All the websites on the multisite network share the same resources. This means the first and foremost thing you need is good WordPress hosting.

You can probably go with shared hosting if you have a few websites with low traffic. However, a WP multisite nature requires VPS hosting or dedicated hosting as your sites grow.

Apart from web hosting, you will need a fundamental knowledge of installing WordPress and editing files using FTP. Last, you will need to activate permalinks so your URL should look like “https://mydomain.com/my-page” rather than “https://mydomain.com/1234”.

How To Setup WordPress Multisite

If you have decided to use WordPress multisite, you are probably wondering how to install it. Let’s look at how to install and set up WP multisite.

Install WordPress multisite

First, you will need to install WordPress. After installing, you will need to activate the multisite feature. You can also activate it with your existing WP site but make sure to backup your website before processing further.

Use the cPanel file manager or set up an FTP connection to your website. Then open the wp-config.php file and Add the following line of code just before “Happy blogging. */

define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );

Now, save the wp-config.php file back to the server. That’s all!

The next step is to set up the Multisite network. But first, you will need to refresh the page in your browser and log into your website.

  • If you set WP multisite on an existing site, you must deactivate all the plugins. For this, go to Plugins » Installed plugins and select all plugins. Now select Deactivate from the Bulk actions dropdown menu. Finally, Click Apply.
  • In the left sidebar, go to Tools » Network setup. Here, you can configure the WP network.
  • Choose the domain structure for your website, and decide whether you want subdomains or subcategories.
  • Enter a title for your network in the field Network Title.
  • Enter the correct admin’s email address for the network.
  • Click the Install button.
  • After installing, WordPress will provide you with code snippets that you have to add to the wp-config.php and .htaccess, respectively.
  • Use an FTP connection or file manager to copy and paste the code.
  • Add code to the individual files.
  • Save both files

The setup is complete, and you must log in again to access your WP Multisite network.

Multisite configuration settings

You can see the new Network admin menu in the WordPress dashboard’s upper admin bar.

No matter which site you are on, you can enter the admin network area, which is always displayed.

Below the network administration is the list of all websites you added to the multisite network. By clicking on the websites, you can enter the backend of these sites.

Now let’s look at the sub-menu tabs in the network administration.

Dashboard: It consists of widgets to add new users and websites on the network.

Sites: Here, you can see all the sites of the network. By moving the cursor over the website’s name, you see links and a dashboard and perform actions such as view, edit, display, delete and deactivate.

Users: On this tab, you can assign users. In the case of a single site installation, you can administer the super admin user role. The super admin can access all the websites. If you want another user to access all the sites, you will need to add a user to each site.

Themes: Here, you can install, uninstall, activate or deactivate themes for the whole network.

Plugins: All the installed plugins are listed here. You can add, delete, activate or deactivate them for the whole network.

Settings: here, you can view and edit the basic settings of your site, for example, network name, email address, user registration, and language, and you can also make the themes and plugins menu available for admins.

Related: How to Develop a Multilingual Website on WordPress

Setting Up Themes and Plugins

You will need to set up themes and plugins for the individual website admins, as they can’t install them independently.

Here’s how to do it:


Go to My Sites » Network Admin » Themes from the WordPress dashboard.

Here, you will see a list of the installed themes. Following are the settings to make your desired changes.

  • Network Enable: To make the theme available to web admins.
  • Network Disable: To make the previous theme unavailable to web admins.
  • Add New: To install a new theme on the network.

To change the default theme for new websites, add the following code into wp.config.php

Define( ‘WP_DEFAULT_THEME’, ‘your-theme’ );


Go to My Sites » Network Admin » Plugins from the WordPress dashboard.

Click on the Network Activate option below each plugin to make it available in your network.

If you already enabled Plugins Menu for website admins in the Network Settings, then admins will not be able to install or delete a plugin. Still, they will be able to activate or deactivate existing plugins.

How To Add a New Website in the Multisite Dashboard

Setting up a WordPress multisite network for one website doesn’t make sense. You can add as many websites as you want. It isn’t required to add multiple websites at the beginning. You can add websites anytime. To add a new website, take the following steps:

  • Go to My Sites » Network Admin » Sites .
  • Now click Add New.
  • Fill in the following fields:
    • Address (URL) of your new website.
    • Site title
    • Email address of the new website’s admin

Click on Add Site to finish the process.

Multisite Domain Mapping

Multisite domain mapping is the process of creating additional websites on your network as subdomains or subdirectories of the main website. They look like this:

“Subsite.network.com” or “network.com/subsite”

You will need to create a unique domain name for each website, and you might not always want this. That’s where multisite domain mapping comes into play. You can use this feature to map additional websites to show as “website.com”. Using domain mapping, you will see the following:

“subsite.network.com = website.com” or “network.com/subsite = website.com”

As of WordPress 4.5, domain mapping has become a native feature. Before this version, users had to use plugins to map the additional websites.

Wrapping Up

WordPress Multisite is a game-changing feature for many businesses. However, it may not be the perfect solution for every business that thinks they need it. You must carefully examine your needs to see if it’s the right fit for your business.

We hope this article helped you get what you are looking for. Once you are done, you may also want to check out AEserver’s managed WordPress hosting, which gives you an excellent website performance to keep your multisite game strong.

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