Requirements for a WordPress Multisite Network
All websites on a WordPress multisite network share the same server resources. This means that the most important thing you will need is a good WordPress hosting.
If you are planning on having just a couple of websites with low traffic, then you can probably get away with shared hosting.
However, due to the nature of multisite network, you’d need VPS hosting or a dedicated server as your sites grow.
Apart from web hosting, you will need the basic knowledge of how to install WordPress and editing files using FTP.
Choosing a Domain Structure for your Multisite Network
On a WordPress multisite network, you can add new sites using either subdomains or sub-directories.
Example of subdomain:
Example of sub-directory:
If you choose subdomains, then you will have to configure wildcard subdomains on your server. We will show you how to do that in the next step.
On the other hand, if you choose sub-directories or path based URLs for sites on your network, then you can skip the next step.
Setting Up Wildcard Subdomains
If you decide to use subdomains for websites on your multisite network, then you will need to setup wildcard subdomains for your multisite network.
To do that, first you need to login to your WordPress hosting account’s cPanel dashboard. After that, you need to scroll down to the ‘Domains’ section and then click on ‘Subdomains’.
Note: Depending on your web hosting service, your cPanel dashboard may look slightly different than the screenshot above.
On the next page, you need to enter the * sign in the subdomain field and select your main domain from the drop-down menu.
Cpanel will automatically detect the document root and will display it in the field below. Now click on the ‘Create’ button to add your wildcard subdomain.
Enabling WordPress Multisite Network Feature
Multisite Network feature comes built-in with each WordPress installation. All you need to do is install and setup WordPress like you normally would. After that, you just need to enable the multisite feature.
You can also enable the multisite feature on any existing WordPress site. Before you enable multisite, don’t forget to create a complete backup of your WordPress site.
To enable Multisite, connect to your site using a FTP client or cPanel file manager, and open the wp-config.php file for editing.
You need to add the following code to your wp-config.php file just before the /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */ line.
Once you are done, you can save and upload your wp-config.php file back to the server.
This code simply enables the multisite feature on your WordPress site. Once enabled, you will still need to setup the multisite network.
Setting Up Your WordPress Multisite Network
Now that you have successfully enabled the Multisite Network feature on your WordPress site, it is time to set up your network.
If you are setting up a mutlisite network on an existing WordPress website, then you will need to deactivate all plugins on your site.
Simply visit the Plugins » Installed Plugins page and select all plugins. You need to select ‘Deactivate’ from the ‘Bulk Actions’ dropdown menu and then click on the ‘Apply’ button.
You can now head over to Tools » Network Setup page to configure your multisite network.
On the network setup screen, you will see a notice that you need Apache’s mod_rewrite module installed on your server. This module is installed and enabled on all the best WordPress hosting providers.
The next thing you need to do is to tell WordPress what kind of domain structure you will be using for sites in your network, e.g. Subdomains or Sub-directories.
After that, you would need to provide a title for your network and make sure that the email address in the Network admin email is correct.
Click on the install button to continue.
WordPress will now show you some code that you need to add to your wp-config.php and .htaccess file respectively.
You can use an FTP client or file manager in the cPanel to copy and paste the code in these two files.
After that you will need to re-login to your WordPress site to access the multisite network.