Growth is one of the many inevitable things that will happen to your blogs. Sometimes it’s not all vertical growth either, sometimes you’ll want to expand to a different niche or have another website with a different subject matter. For tasks like these, it’s important to know about WordPress multisite setups; these allow you to be the admin of many of your different websites.
There are many advantages for multisite networks, of course. One of them is the decreased cost as WordPress multisite setups usually rely on just one network or one host. By comparison, having each of your websites have one host each can quickly drain the bank. There’s also the fact that multisite setups are easier to manage as you only need one account for all of them.
Having a multisite network does sound a lot more complicated and intimidating, but don’t worry, we’re here to show you that it can be simple. We’ve even made a guide that will have you running WordPress multisite setups in a jiffy.
1. Pick a domain name and web host
First thing’s first, you must have selected a proper domain name along with a web host. Web hosting for WordPress multisite setups is different from single-site because they need to be dedicated and to be able to handle the load. With that in mind, the VPS hosting type is recommended for multisite networks. It’s available from a wide variety of web hosting services, even Bluehost, which is WordPress’ official partner in web hosting.
It’s worth noting that all of the sites in your multisite setup will use the same domain with subdomains or folders located on the root. For subdomains, you will need to set up a wildcard subdomain; you can do this by going to the cPanel of your hosting account, clicking on the “Domains” area and then selecting “Subdomains”. Once there, input “*” next to the domain name to set up a wildcard subdomain. After this, you’ll have to carry on with the setup.
2. Enable the multisite network/existing WordPress websites
If you go through with the WordPress website installation, it should now be ready. The good news is that WordPress multisite setups are ready-made and are just waiting to be activated. However, setting this up on an already existing WordPress website requires a little more work. First, you’ll need a complete backup of your website, certain plugins can help you with backing up.
Once you’ve done that (this is also applicable to a fresh installation), you’ll then have to connect to an FTP client in your WordPress or log in to the web host cPanel or wherever the wp-config.php file of your WordPress installation is located.
In the wp-config.php file, look for this line: /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */, once you’ve seen it, copy and paste these lines of code above it:
That code will enable WordPress multisite functionality, just make sure to save the changes you made to the wp-config.php file.
3. Start the setup
Once you’ve enabled the multisite functionality, it’s time to begin your multisite network setup. Start by disabling all the plugins you might have installed (most likely none if you have a fresh installation). This is so they don’t interfere with any of the installations. Simply go to Plugins on the Dashboard, select them all with the checkbox at the top and then select Disable.
Next, you’ll need to go to Tool and then Network Setup. Once there, just add details such as the title and the admin email address then clock on the Install button. Once it’s done installing, it will present you with some codes that you’ll need to copy and then paste into your .htaccess and wp-config.php files again to complete the setup.
Simply log in to your web host’s cPanel or use an FTP client and add the codes. Make sure to update the files or save the changes you did to them.
4. Configure your settings
Finally, it’s time to look upon the dashboard of your multisite setup and take a deep and relieved sigh, because you’re halfway there. Log in to WordPress and then click on My Sites and then Network Admin, and then Dashboard. This will allow you to tweak settings for your multisite network, some of those that come to mind are:
- Enable New Registrations – usually disabled by default, this setting lets users register on your multisite network. You can find it under Registration Settings. It will also allow users to register new sites to the network depending on how much privilege you allow them.
- File Upload Settings – this one is a lot more important to tweak now compared to when you’re just managing a single-site setup. That’s because multisite setups tax the servers heavier, especially the images. That’s why dictating a set image resolution or size for the ought to save some server bandwidth. Go to Upload Settings and check Site upload space to control how the file size limit.
- Menu Settings – last but not least is Menu Settings and enabling administration menus for plugins. This will display the plugins menu to the site admins for better plugin management.
5. Add and manage sites
Now you can finally add some sites to your WordPress multisite setups. Once you’re done with the settings, head on over to the Dashboard, select Sites, and click on Add New. You’ll then be presented with where to input the site address and other information for it. You do have to make sure that the email you place there is different from the network admin email because all notifications and prompts go to the email, and you want to keep this separate for all sites.
6. Install themes and plugins
Now the easy part, plugin and theme installation. Good news is that you only have to do this for the master installation. Once you’ve installed the plugins and themes, they’ll be available for all the websites to use. It’s worth noting that website admins can only enable or disable the plugins and themes for their respective websites and not uninstall them.
Should any errors pop up, you can always contact your web hosting provider and talk to them whether they support wildcard subdomains. If no errors pop up, and it’s time to celebrate for you now have a fully-functioning multisite setup.