Did you ever feel the need to have multiple websites or blogs running on your server, without much hassle of installing and managing them separately? Do you think it would be convenient if there was some kind of magic trick to simplify this job?
Well, to be honest, you don’t need any magic tricks for that. All you need is WordPress Multisite.
WordPress Multisite is an extraordinary add-on tool, which lets you configure and manage multiple WordPress websites or blogs, from a single WordPress installation.
It is a built-in feature in every WordPress 3.0+ version, but disabled by default. You need to manually activate it first, before you could configure it on your WordPress installation.
One of the biggest example of WordPress Multisite is the WordPress.com itself, hosting over 50 million blogs, each of them accessible as a WordPress.com sub-domain (e.g. yourblog.wordpress.com).
A Brief Look at History
Before proceeding further, we need to discuss a little bit about it’s history. WordPress Multisite was earlier an entirely separate project, under the name of WordPressµ or WordPress MU (Multi-User). After the launch of WordPress 3.0, both projects were merged, and WordPress MU “became” WordPress Multisite. Hence, a clear distinction was needed to be made between them, because of the confusion it generally creates.
- Ability to setup unlimited sites from a single installation. The new sites could either be configured as a sub-domain (e.g. site1.domain.com), or a sub-directory (e.g. www.domain.com/site1).
- Although, the initial configuration of WordPress Multisite might prove to be a bit more complicated than a normal WordPress installation, it saves a lot of time and effort because you only have to set it up once, from where you could host multiple sites without having to install them separately.
- WordPress Multisite offers a “Super Administrator” role, thus, allowing you the ability to manage content, permissions, plugins, themes etc. for each and every site hosted on your network. Hence, the management part is easy and hassle-free.
Installation and Configuration
As this post is meant to briefly introduce you to the concept of WordPress Multisite, we won’t go into much details regarding the installation process. However, you could refer to the official docs at WordPress Codex, a wonderful and thorough 6-step guide on installation and configuration of WordPress Multisite.
Themes and Plugins
With WordPress Multisite, you could control the themes and plugins available for your entire network. Only the Super Administrator has the permission to install new themes and plugins, and make it available for rest of the sites hosted on your network. Administrators of the hosted sites only have the capability to Activate/Deactivate plugins or themes from the ones, which are “Network Activated” by the Super Admin.
One more thing which I want to point out here regarding themes and plugins are their compatibility issues. Not all themes or plugins which run on normal WordPress installation, are compatible with WordPress Multisite. A large numbers of Multisite Compatible Plugins are, however, available in the official WordPress repository.
One plugin which I specifically want to point out here is the WordPress MU Domain Mapping, a very popular and useful Multisite plugin, which lets you map external domains to individual hosted sites on the network.
WordPress Multisite is a wonderful feature, and I highly recommend you to try it, especially if you’re running (or you plan to run) multiple WordPress sites on your server. With all it’s benefits, and the level of customization it provides, Multisite is simply too good to resist. Write us about your experience with WordPress Multisite. We would love to hear about it from your perspective.