Enable WordPress Multisite Network Feature – Introduction

by Suresh Karuppaiya

WordPress users have multiple websites or blog to deliver their valuable thoughts to the people. For this they need to maintain number of WordPress blogs and websites it is very time consuming process to maintain number of blogs with same type of work.

So they will go for multiple WordPress site management systems to manage their blogs and websites and they will also pay for these managements. We no need to spend money for managing multiple WordPress websites. Now WordPress 3.0 and above version has the feature called WordPress Network feature (WordPress Multisite).

This WordPress network features uses single WordPress Installation to manage multiple WordPress website with different niches. This network feature allows us to create network site of subdomain or sub directory sites with single WordPress installation.

WordPress Multisite

WordPress Multisite

Now we can map the different WordPress blogs to the individual sites on the network with help of professional domain mapping. Remember the network is created with single installation of WordPress. But we can manage all the WordPress blogs in various dashboards of the network sites. Backupbuddy can be used for getting backup for the Multisite data separately.

But installation and upgrade for themes, plugins and other WordPress accessories in the network only one time. Wecan configure the WordPress accessories like themes and plugins differently in individual network sites.

What is WordPress Multisite?

WordPress 3.0 and above version have the feature called WordPress Network we call it as WordPress Multisite network. It makes multiple site management easy with single WordPress installation. No need to go with separate wp install for each site.

With help of this network 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 at one place and we can enable these themes and plugins in individual sites of the network or in the network itself.

The backup and upgrading procedures for are very easy just do it only in network admin with single click no need to go with individual sites.

Enable Multisite Network in WordPress

To create new network we should enable Multisite in WordPress installation. For this the WordPress should be installed in main domain not in subdirectory of your main domain.   Both new WordPress installation site and existing WordPress site we can enable WordPress Multisite features.

To enable the Multisite first we should edit wp-config.php via FTP/Cpanel. The wp-confing file available in the WordPress installation directory of the main domain. public_html/domainname.com/.)

Now add the below code in wp-config.php file before the line where it say,

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

define(‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true);

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 all you have enabled the Multisite network feature.

Create a Multisite network

We can use subdomain or sub-directory method for creating new network of WordPress sites. Using these subdomains or sub-directories site on the network finally we can map with the original WordPress sites from different management in the Multisite network using proper domain mapping.

Setup a new Multisite network has two different procedure based on the WordPress installation

  • New WordPress installation
  •  Exiting WordPress site

The differentiation in procedure gives the network of sites in two different ways one is Subdomain Multisite Network and second one is  Sub-directory Multisite Network we will see one by one below.

For both new installation of WordPress and existing WordPress sites I would recommend to create subdomain Multisite network. With subdomain based network the whole procedure of Multisite setup can be easy and google gives credits to subdomain as separate than sub directory websites or blogs.

Create a Multisite Network in new WordPress installation

For newly Installed WordPress site we can use subdomain or sub directory for creating new network of WordPress sites. Both can be possible in new WordPress installed site. But the existing WordPress site only subdomain installation is possible. The procedure to setup Multisite network with subdomain method explained below.

To create Subdomain based network first we need to setup whilecard subdomain in your hosting account. Some of the hosting provider may not give option to setup wildcard subdomains so while choosing the web hosting company for WordPress Multisite we should check all the hosting requirements of Multisite network setup.

WordPress Multisite Network

WordPress Multisite Network

VPS hosting or dedicated servers are the good enough for Multisite hosting because we need to manage multiple website data in the hosting servers. So choose your hosting plan for Multisite according to number of sites in the network and your traffic estimation.

Create SubDomain Multisite network

Once you have setup Wildcard subdomain in your hosting account. Now you are ready to choose subdomain based network in network setup in wp dashboard.  For this after the network has enabled in the WordPress installation we have the option to create the network under tools menu.

Click on create network option and select you network type subdomain based or subdirectory based then save the option.

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

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 and etc. finally save settings.

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

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

That’s all now you have configured the subdomain 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 subdomains in your network. For each new site added in your network new blog id assigned. This will creates new folder inside the blogs.dir directory.

If you have problems in adding new sites we may have problem in wildcard subdomain setup or blog.dir permission settings.

Create Sub-directory Multisite Network

Sub-directory Multisite network creation only possible with newly installed WordPress site. For existing WordPress site we should use only subdomain option to create network.

For sub-directory Multisite network creation we don’t need to setup wildcard subdomain in your hosting account. Remaining steps are same as subdomain based network creation.

WordPress Subdirectory Network

WordPress Subdirectory Network

While configuring the network setup we should use three steps in subdomain Multisite network creation. Here we should have different codes for step 2 and 3. We have to add in config.php and .htaccess file. Once you configured the network we can add site same as subdomain based network.

Multisite network in Existing WordPress site

To enable Multisite network in existing WordPress site Only one condition the WordPress version used in the  old site should have the version 3.0 or above. If so now enable the Multisite by adding define statement in wp-config.php file same as I mentioned in how to enable network feature in WordPress installation.

Now we have network feature enabled WordPress site. But while creating Multisite network we have more attention. As I told earlier only subdomain based Multisite network option available in the existing WordPress site. So we can create the subdomain network as per the procedure mentioned above.

Before start creating the network we should check the currently installed plugins and themes in the existing WordPress site. Whether it is compatible with WordPress Multisite or not. If yes we can go with the backup procedure to create Multisite network.

The backup has taken by using export and import options under the tools menu just export the files and folder in the current site. Or we can use the Multisite compatible plugins like BackupBuddy.

Now we should disable all plugins to create network and setup wildcard subdomains in your hosting account. Now you are ready to create network. Use the same procedure as subdomain based network discussed above.

Conclusions

The WordPress network feature uses single WordPress Installation to manage multiple WordPress website with different niches. WordPress 3.0 and above versions has network feature that allows us to create network having subdomain or sub directory sites with single WordPress installation.

Both subdomian network and sub directory network creations were possible with new installation of WordPress. But in case of existing WordPress site only subdomain based Multisite network option possible.

Once we have created network we can map the different WordPress blogs to the individual sites on the network with help of professional domain mapping. Now we can enjoy the network admin with one time installation of theme ad plugins for multiple WordPress sites but we can configure the each plugins and themes differently in each site in the network.

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