WordPress Multisite Installation: 5 Smooth Steps to Follow Using Local XAMPP

Undoubtedly, managing multiple WordPress websites is a herculean task in itself. Not anymore! You now can manage your multiple websites from a single WordPress dashboard using multisite installation.

Yes, you read that right. Cutting it short, this simply means that you just need to install wordpress once and you can manage multiple WordPress sites from a single admin. A great relief, sigh!

Let’s see how you can install multisite effortlessly.

In order to create a multisite, make sure that you have admin rights and that you can access the server’s file system. You need to check if you can create new directories and can edit the files. Stay assured, even if you don’t have a technical background and you are not a great coder, you can still get the multisite installation done effectively.

Before you proceed further, make a small decision – whether you would like to add sites as subfolders or as subdomains? Since this cannot be changed later, study your requirements carefully before proceeding. In URL terms, it simply means:

  1. Would you want to have different subdomains, something like – website1.multisite.com and website2.multisite.com
  2. Subfolders would mean assigning different paths, for example: multisite.com/website1 and multisite.com/website2

We’re not completely ruling out the possibility of assigning different domains to each website, for example – multisite1.com and multisite2.com. However, to have this, strong knowledge over plugins is required. So as of now, let’s stick to the first two viable options.

Let’s get started !

1) Enabling Multisite Feature

  • To get started, install the WordPress normally as you always do. Open the wp-config file.
  • Press ctrl + F and look for the phrase “/*That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.*/”. Insert the following line of code just above this phrase: define(‘MULTISITE’,true);
  • Press ctrl + S and save the file and upload it to the server.
  • Open dashboard, under tools you will find a new item that just got added “Network Setup”.

2) Setting up Sub-domains and Sub-directories

  • Below the ‘network setup’ that you just located, choose one between subdirectories and subdomains.
  • While sub-directories don’t require any permission, you need to check for the required permissions for the sub-domain installation with your hosting provider.
  • Once you are done with the choice, click on install.
  • Once you do that, you’ll find a few lines of code that just got inserted. You need to insert these lines in your .htaccess file and wp-config file.
  • Save both the files. Log in again to access your network admin dashboard.

3) Adding sites

  • To turn your website into a functional multisite, start creating and adding new websites. On the network dashboard page, click my sites. Go to admin network and click on sites and add new.
  • Provide all the necessary details like site title, site address, and others. Click on add new and a new site will be created.
  • This way, you can add as many sites as you wish to.

4) Activating themes

Themes can be installed and activated on your multisite in two ways:

I) Install the theme on the network admin and activate it for all websites.

  • Look for the themes on the network dashboard. Add new theme.
  • After the theme is installed, click on network enable.
  • This way you just made the theme available to the whole network.

II) Install the theme in network admin and customize it by editing within that respective website

  • Go to the network admin and click on sites.
  • Choose the site you want to enable the theme on.
  • Click on edit themes and choose the theme that you want to activate.
  • Enable the theme.

5) Activating plugins

  • Plugins can also be installed and activated the same way as you did the themes.
  • Start by downloading and installing the plugin.
  • If you want the plugin to be active for the entire multisite, click on network activate and the plugin would be active for all sites.
  • However, if you want the plugin to be activated for a particular website, visit the site administrator and activate the plugin for the sites you wish to.

Should I Use a Multisite?

Well, that depends. A multisite is most suitable when you have a network of websites, preferably a hierarchical setup. A multisite is advantageous when there are various sites that work independently but still share some common resources.

Thus, it all depends on your requirements as it has both pros and cons, and knowing about each of them is necessary before taking the plunge.

The Pros

  • Ability to manage an array of wordpress website from a single dashboard on the go.
  • Themes and plugins can be easily activated for all the linked websites without any hassles.
  • Individual site admins have rights to manage their respective websites as per their requirements, subjected to a few restrictions.

The Cons

  • You need to check the compatibility of plugins with multisite before installing.
  • If your server is down, this is adversely going to affect all websites.
  • You need to check your hosting plan before switching to multisite. Not all plans support multisite installation.

Undoubtedly, WordPress multisite is a powerful feature to ease up the process. But analyze your requirements and expectations well before choosing it as separating a website from multisite once you’re done with installation is going to be a complex task. But at the end of the day, you can always seek the help of a professional WordPress developer who will make the task easier for you.

Do you have any prior experience with multisite? How did it go? Let us know in comments!

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