What is WordPress Multisite – All You Should Know About

WordPress Multisite

It’s true that once someone decides to use WordPress for website development, they won’t switch to another content management system (CMS) because of how extremely configurable and versatile it is. Even many times we have seen the scenario that users have several WordPress-powered websites to manage. And eventually, it creates a difficult situation for website admins.

However, you may be asking yourself if there’s a more effective approach to control all of these WordPress websites from one dashboard!


WordPress Multisite is the solution.

So, in this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about WordPress multisite, including its features, benefits, and, most significantly, how to set up WordPress multisite, as well as other key aspects.

Now let’s get going!

What is WordPress Multisite?

WordPress Multisite is a functionality that enables you to create and manage several WordPress websites from just one WordPress dashboard. Put simply, one dashboard will allow you to manage a network of distinct WordPress websites.

Previously, it was known as WordPress Multi-User or WPMU. The feature of WordPress Multisite is not new. It is a sophisticated feature of the WordPress platform that has been available since WordPress 3.0’s release and was first released in June 2010 to assist users in setting up networks of blogs.

WordPress Multisite is a function that is included in the content management system. You can’t use it, though, until you turn it on. Once enabled, it blends in seamlessly with the WordPress user interface.

To know more about its features, how you can enable it, and its benefits, keep reading!

Key Features Of WordPress Multisite

Centralized Management

Multisite provides administrators with a centralized dashboard for managing the entire network. From this dashboard, administrators can add new sites, install or activate themes and plugins network-wide, and update core files. This centralized approach enhances efficiency by offering a unified interface for overseeing various aspects of the network.

Domain Mapping

Domain mapping is a crucial feature of Multisite that allows administrators to associate custom domains with individual sites within the network. This means that each site can have its unique domain name, providing a more personalized and branded experience for each site while still being part of the same WordPress installation.

Super admin role and easy administration

The Super Admin role is one of the most useful aspects of WordPress Multisite.
The person who activates Multisite on the first WordPress installation becomes the network’s top admin (other top Admins can be added later). For each new site they build, and for each existing user-created site, they get administrator powers.

They can utilize all of WordPress’ essential admin features thanks to this authority. Nonetheless, they can easily transfer the duties to administrators by giving each person a unique set of permissions and roles. It encourages network security and gives the super admin total control over the website.

Seamless data sharing

WordPress multisite saves login details for the entire network, so credentials from one subsite will work for other subsites – users will not need to create new passwords and usernames for each subsite. Super admins also don’t need to make new accounts for users to allow them access to new subsites.

Developers can deploy network-wide modifications considerably more easily on a multisite network because subsites are interconnected. On top of it, updates made to the core, plugin, and theme files will update all the networked sites in their connection, leading to considerable time and resource savings.

User Management

Multisite comes with a robust user management system that allows administrators to assign different roles to users across the entire network. Users can have distinct roles on different sites, providing flexibility in controlling access and responsibilities. This feature is particularly useful for large organizations or educational institutions managing multiple sites with different user roles.

Shared Plugins and Themes

With Multisite, themes and plugins can be installed network-wide, and administrators can choose to activate them on a site-by-site basis. This feature ensures consistency across the network and simplifies maintenance. Shared plugins and themes mean that updates or changes made to these elements can be applied globally, saving time and effort.

How Does WordPress Multisite Work?

Setting up Multisite and fulfilling prerequisites

Before you set up a multisite network, make sure you need one and if yes, then keep reading. First things first, you need to install WordPress on your device if you haven’t already.

Following installation, you must take care of the following:

  • Your WordPress website needs to have you as its administrator.
  • The main files on your website must be accessible via file managers or FTP.
  • It is necessary to have enough hosting to run a WordPress multisite network.
  • Every theme and plugin you use should be current and secure.
  • All existing and reliable users have access to your WordPress account.
  • Deactivate every plugin if you already have an operational WordPress website.
  • It’s advisable to create a backup of your files before switching.

Adding the code line

The multisite capability is deactivated by default in WordPress installations. Consequently, you will need to add a line of code to the wp-config.php file on your website to enable it.

You have a couple of alternatives for doing so. You can use cPanel (if your hosting company has it) or FTP to connect.

Once the wp-config.php file is located and opened in the root directory of your website, navigate to the line that reads “/*That’s all, stop editing!” */ Happy blogging.

Then add the following code just above it:

define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );

Once you’re done, save your file (or, if you’re using FTP, upload it). The WordPress Multisite feature has now been enabled.

Create a network

After you add the above code to wp-config.php, you’ll notice several additional possibilities in your WordPress dashboard.

Navigate to Tools > Network Setup in your dashboard. Choose whether to identify your subsites by subdomain or subdirectory on this screen.

What’s the difference? Choosing subdomains will result in a domain-based network, whereas selecting subdirectories will result in a path-based network. You can edit it later if needed if you have a change of mind. But, the longer your multisite is up and running, the more difficult it may be to switch, so it would be ideal if you made your configuration decision as soon as possible.

Additionally, you can modify your network’s information as needed, such as the admin email address (which serves as your super admin contact information), network title (which serves as your multisite’s major domain), and server address (which serves as your primary domain).

When you’re done with this screen, you need to click on Install.

Finally, Enabling the Network

After that, you’ll get instructions on how to turn on your network. On your monitor screen, the screen that follows will show up:

Pay close attention to these directions, and when you’re done editing, save each file. When you’re done, click the login option to regain access.

You will then be able to adjust your multisite settings and add new subsites. To access the network preferences, pick My Sites from the top toolbar, then choose any options from the dropdown.

And, we are done with the simple guide to enable Multisite in your WordPress. If you are confused and have any queries in mind, then you can simply reach out to our team and they will gladly assist you.

Do you still have questions?

Benefits of WordPress Multisite

Greater Development Efficiency

If you’re creating custom theme websites, you may have a base theme that you work with initially. This could be a starting theme, a parent theme that is straightforward, or a framework theme.

Working in Multisite allows you to save time by installing that WordPress theme only once and using it as the parent theme for the themes enabled on different sites within your network. This is especially helpful if there will be shared design components between the multiple sites.

Enhanced Security and Updates

Beyond time-saving benefits, centralized updates contribute to enhanced security. By ensuring that all sites within the Multisite network are running the latest versions of themes, plugins, and the WordPress core, administrators can maintain a secure and optimized online environment. This proactive approach to updates minimizes vulnerabilities and helps protect the entire network from potential security risks.

Unified Content Management

Widgets and content sharing across different sites within the Multisite network contribute to a unified content management approach. This functionality enables administrators to manage and update widgets, ensuring consistent elements such as sidebars and widget areas across multiple sites. It promotes a seamless user experience throughout the network.

It’s cost-effective

With multisite WordPress user management, you save money for both your company and yourself by conserving time, energy, and server space. You may not require as strong a WordPress hosting package, and you can combine staff tasks efficiently. All of these things combined can lower the total amount of money you spend on WordPress website upkeep.


Scaling your business is made easier using WordPress’s multi-side functionalities. With WordPress, you can have an infinite number of subsites under a single URL, so you can employ multisite as your business expands.

You can add as many sites as you need, and you can also remove older ones without affecting the network as a whole. Super admins can even set up the network so that users can build their websites. Adding a new website is much easier since all networked sites utilize the same extension, core, and theme files.

When to Use a WordPress Multisite (and When Not to)?

WordPress Multisite is a powerful feature. But, knowing when to adopt this feature and when not to is quite important. WordPress Multisite is well-suited for scenarios where centralized management and resource sharing are essential. However, it may not be the best solution for projects with varying functionality requirements, independent site owners, or stringent security considerations that require site isolation.

When to Use WordPress Multisite

  • Organizations Managing Multiple Departments: Multisite is beneficial for organizations with various departments or branches, allowing each to have its own site while centrally managing updates, themes, and plugins.
  • Educational Institutions: Universities or schools can utilize Multisite to provide individual websites for different faculties or departments, maintaining a consistent branding and user management system.
  • Corporate Websites: Companies with multiple brands or subsidiaries can use Multisite for a centralized management approach, ensuring a cohesive brand presence while allowing for some autonomy.
  • News or Media Networks: Media organizations managing multiple publications or news channels can use Multisite to efficiently oversee content sharing, updates, and consistent branding across sites.
  • Intranet Solutions: Multisite can be employed to create an intranet for large organizations, allowing different departments or teams to have their own spaces while sharing common resources.
  • Blogging Networks: Networks that host multiple blogs, such as blog platforms or content-sharing communities, can benefit from Multisite to provide individual sites for each user or blog while sharing common themes and plugins.

When Not to Use WordPress Multisite

  • Independent Site Owners: If each site owner operates independently without the need for centralized control or shared resources, Multisite may introduce unnecessary complexity.
  • Different Functionality Requirements: When each site requires vastly different functionalities, configurations, or server environments, separate installations might be more suitable for customization.
  • Performance Considerations: If sites have significantly different performance requirements, hosting needs, or security concerns that cannot be addressed within a shared environment, Multisite may not be ideal.
  • Security Priorities: If security is a top concern, and the compromise of one site could affect others, individual installations might offer better isolation and security controls.
  • Small Projects or Personal Blogs: For small projects or personal blogs where centralized management is unnecessary, a single WordPress installation may be more straightforward.
  • Plugin Compatibility Issues: If essential plugins are not fully compatible with Multisite and have no suitable alternatives, it might be more practical to use individual installations for each site.

Pros and Cons of WordPress Multisite

Using WordPress multisite has benefits as well as drawbacks. It’s critical to comprehend both the advantages and disadvantages of employing it before committing to a project.

Pros of Multisite WordPress

  • Manage sites from a single dashboard: Rather than logging onto each site individually, you can handle everything from a single dashboard.
  • Ensure consistency: You can make sure that all of your sites have the same design and collection of plugins. If necessary, you can still disable plugins on particular network websites.
  • Sites can have separate content: even if they share themes/plugins, each site can have unique content.
  • URL structure adaptability: You are free to choose any structure for URLs that best suits your company, including unique domain names for every website.
  • Share users: To engage with websites on the network, a user only needs to register one account.
  • More straightforward updates: you just need to update the core software, plugins, and themes once for your entire network, rather than having to do it for every site.

Cons of Multisite Website

  • Negative impact on all the connected websites: Every multisite connected to the same network will be impacted if something goes wrong with it. All of the websites on the multisite network may be vulnerable if just one of them is hacked.
  • The efficiency problem: If one of the sites experiences a significant increase in traffic, it will eventually impair the efficiency of another site on the same network.
  • Hard to administer: It will get harder to administer the sites inside the multisite installation as the number of sites in multisite networks rises.
  • Switching is difficult: You would have a very hard time going back to installing on a single site after switching to multisite.
  • Plugin compatibility is difficult: Not every plugin is compatible with WordPress multisite; some plugins are incompatible. Alternatively, using the plugin on WordPress multisite may need the acquisition of a specific license, which is typically more costly.
  • It is a bit complex: For some users, WordPress Multisite’s added complexity makes it less than ideal. It calls for a certain degree of technical expertise and experience with modifying the files and code on your website.

End Note!

WordPress Multisite is an extremely powerful feature in the WordPress ecosystem. It is a hidden treasure.

We have gone over every advantage, use case, and WordPress multisite setup guide. In summary, WordPress multisite is a fundamental feature that enables you to build a network of several websites from a single WordPress installation. However, Multisite can be a true game-changer if you find yourself in a circumstance where you need to power multiple websites and manage them efficiently.

Say goodbye to hours of repetitive effort and hello to an advanced network of interconnected WordPress installations with our comprehensive guide on how to set up WordPress multisite.

If you are still confused and looking for expert advice, feel free to reach out to KrishaWeb, a leading WordPress development company.

Schedule a free consultation call now!

WordPress Multisite FAQs

Does SEO Affect Multisite?

If you configure your domains in a way that encourages Google to effectively index them, multisite can have a good impact on SEO. If you’d like your network to appear as distinct sites, use subdomains or custom-mapped domains. And, if you need your Multisite to be viewed as a single site, use subdirectories.

Is Multisite Compatible with WooCommerce?

Indeed, Multisite is compatible with WooCommerce. It can be configured in the same way as a standard WordPress multisite. You must first install the Woocommerce plugin in WordPress. Once activated on the main network admin site, you may utilize it to construct multiple connected stores.

Is Elementor Pro Compatible with WordPress Multisite?

Yes, Elementor Pro can be used in conjunction with WordPress Multisite. However, instead of using a single licensing key for the entire network, you will require an active license key for every network site.

Does activating multisite require me to set up a brand-new WordPress installation?

No, you don’t have to set up an all-new WordPress website to enable multisite. You can also activate it on an existing WordPress site. The only distinction between this and a multisite network on a new site is that you will not be allowed to use subdirectories for the URL structure of your site—only subdomains. You can, however, continue to use domain mapping.

What Distinguishes WordPress Multisite from WordPress?

WordPress multisite is a network of multiple WordPress sites with a single WordPress installation and a super admin, while separate independent WordPress sites require you to set up WordPress on each of them with their respective admins.

Girish Panchal
Technical Architect

A Technical Architect, proficient in WordPress, Drupal, Laravel, and DevOps tasks, crafts robust IT solutions with a blend of expertise and versatility in web development and infrastructure management.


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