Categories: WordPress Tutorials, Tips and Guides

How To Set up WordPress Multisite In Simple Steps

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Assume, you have several online presences and life is too short to open numerous tabs within a single browser each with a separate dashboard of WordPress. With WordPress Multisite, you can now use multiple WordPress sites through a single dashboard with a single ID and Password.

Introduction to WordPress Multisite

It is a feature that came with the rollout of the WordPress version 3.0. In the beginning, WordPress Multisite didn’t get the worth it deserved. But, later as WP gained popularity, the Multisite feature became somewhat a specialty for WordPress hosting providers. It is perhaps the first WordPress feature that created its own niche and many WordPress developers have found a versatile usage of the multisite feature. All thanks to WordPress developers who have found versatile uses of this feature.

This feature is mostly used with large websites having multiple sub-domains, internal blogs, networking sites, etc. You can create and give sub-accounts to the external users and they can run their websites using your domain. This is time-saving and provides ease in managing your all WordPress sites.

How WordPress Multisite Works?

With WordPress Multisite, hundreds of websites are accessible to you in one place. It works as a network under a single domain. You can add subdomains or subdirectories virtually by adding code to wp-config.php and WordPress .htaccess file. This means you don’t need to create any extra folders.

WordPress Multisite is not new. It is as old as WordPress itself. In the beginning, it was developed as a separate entity and was not open-source. However, with WordPress 3.0, it is in the hands of users and the core development team of WordPress continues to enhance the usage of this feature.

Who Needs WordPress Multisite?

If you have multiple WordPress installations, you can manage them using plugins like MainWP, InfiniteWP, etc. It is not necessary to install WordPress Multisite network again and again. As I have defined above, it is good for large websites with multiple sub-domains, internal sites, clients sites.

Specifically, the examples for the need of WordPress Multisite is the site of a local business with the subsites of different teams managed by one network, site of a bank with the subsites of its all branches, site of a school covering the sites of all locations, site of a large business with subsites of its country domains.

How to Set up WordPress Multisite on Cloudways?

Sign up for 3-day of FREE trial at Cloudways and select WordPress Multisite from the drop-down menu. Name your app, server, and project. Select cloud infrastructure provider, server size and data-center location nearest to your targeted audience. And click on the Launch Server button.

Within a few minutes, your server will be launched with WordPress Multisite installed on Cloudways platform. Go to the Network Setup which you will find under Tools in the WP Admin Panel.

Now you have to choose from one of the two i.e sub-domains and sub-directories to set up WordPress multisite network. You will also need to set the network title and network admin email. You can’t change these settings later so make sure you set them once only.

You have to use any FTP like FileZilla to back up your wp-config.php and .htaccess files. You will get the directions from your WordPress backend about the placement of code that you get after installing WordPress Multisite.

After adding the code to the files, you are done with the setup of WordPress Multisite network on the blazing fast cloud hosting at Cloudways. Now, again log in to your WordPress admin panel.

Add Sites to WordPress Multisite Network

From the top menu bar of WordPress admin panel, navigate to My Sites -> Network Admin -> Sites.

Here you will find the default/main site of the network that we have launched previously. To add a new site to WordPress Multisite network, click on the Add New button.

Fill all the fields (Site address is the subdomain of your main domain).

By using the above add new button, you can add as many sites you want. Once again, get back to all sites by navigating from My Sites -> Network Admin -> Sites.

And our new site will be listed there in the image below.

Unable to Access Site?

Even if everything is configured properly and you are still not able to access your website, it’s because the subdomain of your website is not recognized by the WordPress application installed on your hosting platform.

To do so, firstly, you need to associate the domain name with your WordPress Multisite. Navigate to Domain Management of your Multisite application. Enter the domain name in the image below.

Login to your domain registrar, and add TWO A records one for the main domain and the other for all sub-domains. The host should be @ and * respectively and the value will be the server IP address.

Note: If you are not sure, how to add a record on your respective domain registrar, here is how to point your domain.

Once the DNS propagation is complete. Visit the site with newly pointed domain and login to your WordPress admin dashboard. Navigate to My Sites -> Network Admin -> Sites.

All sites will be listed here with appropriate domain names.

Add Subdomains in Domain Management Tab

As we have discussed earlier, we need to tell our WordPress Multisite application about subdomains. Go back to Cloudways WordPress cloud hosting platform and navigate to Domain Management tab of respective application, and add subdomain following the image below.

And you are done! Now, visit your newly added WordPress website.

Note: It will take few minutes to propagate properly.

In the above guide, we have learned how to easily set up WordPress Multisite. I Hope you enjoyed reading it and you are now fully aware of how you can integrate WordPress Multisite effectively!

Add your websites to Multisite network and tell us how is it beneficial for you and your clients.

[Read here: Knowledge Base for WordPress Multisite]

Mustaasam Saleem :Mustaasam is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WordPress Hosting Platform, where he actively works and loves sharing his knowledge with the WordPress Community. When he is not working, you can find him playing squash with his friends, or defending in Football, and listening to music. You can email him at mustaasam.saleem@cloudways.com