WordPress multisite is a feature offered by WordPress that allows you to manage multiple websites or blogs from a single WordPress dashboard. This can make the process of managing multiple websites simpler and quicker because you only have to have a single install of WordPress, and all of the sites are run from a single codebase. To answer the question of what multisite WordPress is, we will consider in detail the scope of its application, as well as all the pros and cons of this solution.
What is WordPress Multisite Used For? Examples
If you run an international business, you probably already know what a pain it can be to try to run multiple websites for each country you do business in. In fact, it’s so challenging you’ve probably forgone the extra revenue to eliminate some of the risks with the massive time sink and money pit of running regional sites. However, it’s significantly simpler to do so with WordPress multisite. Shared plugins, especially those related to replicating your content network-wide, are handy for this and cut the web development and content management time down a lot! It’s also cheaper and simpler to run many sites on multisite, so undertaking such a significant endeavour begins to make sense!
SEO or Marketing Agency
If you run an SEO Agency or Marketing Agency, you may struggle with managing your company’s and clients’ sites. If you’re already hosting clients’ sites on WordPress, you can streamline the process with multisite. It will give your team access to all the sites and tools to make your services more consistent across your client base. It also has management features that restrict the access levels of your agents, so they only work on what they’re supposed to.
If your company does many different things and has a lot of separate brands, upkeeping websites for each brand might seem impossible. Multisite makes this much more accessible, like how it helps international businesses. You can build dozens of sites using the same handful of themes or vary and modify themes as you please! The user access features will also be great for separating the permissions of different teams to their respective subsidiaries and divisions.
You may be the kind of person who builds community sites, but don’t you have several hobbies? While you likely build these sites primarily for yourself and are happy that people come to see what you’ve got going on, you could make managing multiple niche sites more manageable. Perhaps you have one for your favourite video game and another for skiing, the options are truly limitless.
Benefits of Using WordPress Multisite
WordPress Multisite Combines Your User Base
Multisite can streamline the process of managing admins and content managers by giving them each access to the entire network of websites. This is great for agencies or teams because each website doesn’t need its own login information and separate users. However, that begs the question…
Can All Users on Multisite Do Anything on Any Site?
Not exactly. Multisite allows you to set different team members at access levels relevant to their roles. This makes managing large teams easier, especially if you don’t want the intern messing with the content on the company site.
Shared Themes and Plugins
Another massive benefit to using WordPress multisite is that you can use all the same themes and plugins from your main install on any of the sites in the network. This can be extremely useful for international businesses with websites for each country or area of service. However, it can also be great for agencies who wish to provide consistent services to their clients. Plugins like WordPress Blog Replicator, MU Domain Mapping, Multisite Content Copier, Autoblog, and Multi-Domains make managing a handful of related websites much easier!
Multisite is a Cost-Effective Option
You might think that multisite would be insanely expensive. After all, the value it provides is massive. However, compared to hosting handfuls or even hundreds of websites, WordPress multisite is significantly cheaper, not to mention the time saved with simple management.
Drawbacks to Using Multisite
Massive traffic on one website in the network can negatively affect things like site speed on other sites in the network. This can be an issue with limited bandwidth, but it can be an issue regardless because the sites share a database.
Data Breaches Can Be Bigger
Nobody even wants to think about this, but sometimes we must discuss it. Hacks and data breaches occur on all sorts of websites. If you’re using multisite, any hack or data breach will likely involve multiple websites, as the database and logins are the same between sites. This is a security risk that cannot be understated.
Themes and Plugins Update Network Wide
When you update a theme or plugin on multisite, it updates across the entire network of sites. This may seem convenient, but sometimes you want an older version to stay on some sites while updating to the newest version on others. Sadly, this is only sometimes possible, and it’s significantly more complicated than it would be if you hosted them separately.
Not All Plugins Will Work
Most plugins are developed with single-site WordPress in mind and may not work on multisite. This is unfortunate, especially if you’ve used WordPress before and had plans to use a specific plugin just to find out it’s not compatible with multisite.
How to Use WordPress Multisite
You may be wondering how to enable multisite on WordPress or how to set up WordPress multisite for your business.
First, install WordPress. Once it’s installed, or if it’s already installed, you will need to enable the Multisite feature. It is possible to do this on an existing WordPress website. Before doing so, however, it’s a good idea to back up your website.
Use an FTP client or the cPanel file manager to connect to your website, and open the wp-config.php file to edit it.
Add the following code to your wp-config.php file directly before the /*:
/* Multisite */
define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );
Save and upload this wp-config.php file back to the server.
Next, you will need to set up the multisite network. Go ahead and log into your WordPress dashboard or refresh the page if you’re already logged in.
If you’re setting up the multisite network on a site you already have, you’ll have to deactivate your plugins momentarily.
Go to “Plugins” » “Installed Plugins,” and select all plugins. Select “Deactivate” from the “Bulk Actions” dropdown menu, and click “Apply.”
Next, go to “Tools” » “Network Setup.” If you see a notice that you need Apache’s “mod_rewrite” module installed on your server, it’s nothing to worry about. Most WordPress hosting providers will ensure this module stays enabled.
Choose the domain structure for websites on your network.
Ensure that the email address for the network admin is correct.
You will see some code that you have to add to the “wp-config.php” and “.htaccess” files. Use an FTP client or the file manager in cPanel to copy and paste the code.
That’s it! Your WordPress multisite setup should be complete!
How to Create a Multisite in WordPress?
WordPress multisite can be a saving grace for website admins and business owners with too many websites and blogs to manage the traditional way. It makes the login and management process of dozens or even hundreds of websites much more streamlined and offers a cheaper alternative to separate hosting. It brings some security risks; unfortunately, not all plugins will be compatible with multisite. However, the benefits typically outweigh the drawbacks for serial website creators.
WordPress Multisite FAQ
What is multisite WordPress?
This is a network of individual websites on the WordPress platform united by a single control panel.
What is WordPress multisite used for?
WordPress Multisite is used to manage many sites at the same time from one account. Sites on the web share a common theme, media files, and plugins.
How to enable multisite in WordPress?
Installing WordPress multisite is quite easy: Edit the wp-config.php file located in the site folder, and after that, the multisite settings menu item will appear in the control panel.