What do you do if you want to host multiple blogs or websites on your domain? Earlier, when people used to host a large number of blogs at a single go, they resorted to WordPress Multi User (WPMU). It was a somewhat separate entity from WordPress, and it wasn’t really flexible enough.
Now – we have WordPress Multisite.
What Is WordPress Multi-Site Exactly?
WordPress Multisite is a feature available on WordPress since version 3 on-wards. It’s a handy, yet powerful feature that allows any user to keep thousands of blogs running on a single WordPress install. All the sites that you create exist as separate tables within one database.
Simply put: if you have a website (say : mywebsite.com)and want to include more sections within it, you could do this:
- Include a sub-domain, which would look like this:subdom1.example.com
- Include a sub-folder, which would look like this:example.com/subf1
So what exactly does WP Multisite do? It enables a single WordPress install to act like a network of sites over a single domain. There’s no need to create new folders for subdomains and subfolders. Just some extra lines of code inserted into wp-config.php and .htaccess gets the job done!
How To Create a WordPress Multi-Site Network
To be honest, the procedure for setting up the Multisite feature can be a little tricky. Fortunately, here’s a useful step-by-step DIY guide to set up a Multisite network:
Activating the Network Setup Menu:
To start offwith the Multisite installation, head over to your wp-config.php file, and right above
Add the following:
/** Allow Multisite **/
The first line is a simple comment. In the second line, we enable Multisite functionality.
Good till here? After editing and saving the file, you’ll see the following in your “Tools” submenu:
If you’re running an older version of WordPress with plugins, you may receive a notification in Network Setup asking you to disable your plugins before you can venture forward.
Setting Up the Network from the Dashboard
The WordPress dashboard is one of its most handy features. Here’s the walkthrough to configure your network right from the dashboard.
Here’s what “Network Setup” should look like:
At this juncture, you have to configure the following:
- Site Addresses–Here, select whether to use sub-domains or sub-directories (as discussed previously). If you choose sub-domains, verify with your host.
- Network Title – You can name your multiple WordPress network anything you want. BOND 007 😉
- Admin E-Mail Address – Email address for Super Administrator who will receive notifications of new site creation, deletion, new user additions and much more as per setup.
The server address should be filled in beforehand to display how your new permalinks to look like.
If this isn’t a fresh install, you may receive a notification stating only sub-domains are possible (blame it on permalink conflicts). If you’re installing on a local host, you can only configure sub-directories.
After configuring these settings, click install, and you should see this:
Now, before you proceed, we recommend that you backup your wp-config.php and .htaccess files.
1. In your root folder’s wp-content folder – create a new directory – blogs.dir. This folder needs to be writable by your web server. You’re going to used thisfor storing all of your uploaded media.
Here’s the code:
sudo mkdir /var/www/wp-content/blogs.dir
2. Alter the WordPress configuration. Paste this code above the line
/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */:
3. If you’re going to install a sub domain, add this:
4. Want a sub-folder system instead?
5. to wp-config.php, right above:
6. Don’t forget to replace‘YOUR IP ADDRESS HERE’with the URL of your site –and don’t add WWW.
This code basically configures your choice of sub-domain or sub-directory install, and saves your main site’s ID as 1. Every site has an ID, and you’ll need to remember yours if you want to work with plugins.
7. Take the authentication keys and add them to wp-config.php. This makes your installation more secure.
8. Lastly, add this to .htaccess file in root folder:
These are WordPress’ rewrite rules, and the code will replace any other WordPress code that you find in .htaccess.
And you’re done! Log out and log back in. And you’ll be equipped with the power of WordPress Multisite!
Changes That You’ll See In The Multi-site Mode
SUPER ADMIN MODE:
Once you log in to your site, you’ll be greeted by the new dashboard. Look closely and you’ll find a section called ‘My Sites’. It features an all new ‘Network Admin’ mode, which is also referred to as the Super Admin mode.
This mode allows you to control your entire network. It means deciding things like which plugins and themes are available, and exactly who can sign up and get a site.
Few Screenshots of Super Admin Special Menu are given below:
Managing Plugins And Themes:
A Super Admin has exclusive control over the theme for a particular site. Which means site1.mywebsite.com can have a theme different from site2.mywebsite.com. It’s a handy tool for people managing sites with different topics.
There are lots of useful plugins available on Multisite. For example, BuddyPress enables you to create a social network of all the users in your site. Lots of plugins, lot of potential.
Some important Plugins for Multisite are:
1. Privacy Options.
Self-explanatory – use this plugin to configure the privacy level of each blog from the settings panel.
2. Extended Super Admins.
This plugin lets you create user classes with different roles. Activate it, and you’ll see it in the Settings menu of the main network. You can allot roles and positions to various admins using this plugin.
2. Multisite User Management.
Multisite User Management lets you choose the default role of each individual blog. Upon activation, a directory of blogs will show up in the network settings page.
The plugin is brilliant because it lets you set configuration for individual blogs. For example, if you want one site with all users having editor capabilities by default, and another to just have them as subscribers, then this plugin should do the trick.
Advantages Of WordPress Multisite:
- Unlimited site-creation for one user
- Different themes on different parts of your site. Also, the ability to activate themes on a site-by-site basis.
- Sites can be completely separate from each other, or they can be cross-linked in a number of ways – however you like them.
Disadvantages Of WordPress Multisite:
- It’s slightly complicated for a layman. It’s definitely more complex than managing a simple WordPress Site, so the user must be well versed with the basics of Web development in WordPress.
- Some themes and plugins might not always work so well with Multisite.
- If you have problems with the core installation, or if your main site is hacked, then all other sites in your network can be compromised.
Multisite is definitely one of the best things that has happened to WordPress. It enables users to manage multiple sites on a single domain, and is ideal for those wanting to expand their existing websites.
For blog addicts, web developers and website enthusiasts, Multisite will surely be your ultimate companion to WordPress.