How to set up multisite WordPress network

Created:

2017-08-04 07:24:32 UTC

Modified:

2017-08-16 16:31:38 UTC

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How to set up multisite WordPress network

Applicable to:

  • Plesk Onyx

Question

How to set up a multisite WordPress network ?

Answer

Note: It is always recommended to set up a network on a fresh WordPress deployment, since enabling multisite on a production website might cause some problems.

Step 1. Start by creating a new webspace (e.g. multisite.com) in Plesk and installing WordPress on it:

step1.png

Step 2. Login to WordPress as admin, go to Tools > Network Setup . Configure the network to have sites on separate sub-domains. Follow the instructions and update wp-config.php and .htaccess. After that, you'll need to re-login to WordPress as admin.

step2.png

Step 3 . Go to My Sites > Network Admin > Sites and create additional sites in your WordPress network. For example:

  • multisite-net.multisite.com
  • multisite-org.multisite.com
  • multisite-us.multisite.com

step3.png

Don't be confused by the fact, that you're configuring them as subdomains - you'll remap them later. Remember their IDs (can be seen in the URL when you hover your mouse over the site name) - you'll need them for mapping.

Step 4. Install the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin and configure it according to the instructions .

Step 5. Go to Settings > Domains and define domain-site mappings, using site IDs and domain names you'll be using. For example:

2 - multisite.net

3 - multisite.org

4 - multisite.us

Leave Primary checkbox selected, otherwise WordPress will redirect visitors from a domain to the subdomain it is mapped to.

step4.png

At this point, multisite set up on the WordPress side is complete. Now, it is time to create these additional websites on the Plesk side. There are three ways to do this:

step5.png

  1. Create domain aliases for the main website on the webspace (in our example, aliases multisite.net, multisite.org, and multisite.us for the website multisite.com). This is the easiest way to do this. However, to protect such additional sites with an SSL certificate, you must have multi-domain SSL certificate installed on the main website (Note: Let's Encrypt extension allows creating such certificates right from the Plesk interface).
  2. Create additional domains and point their document root to the document root of the main website (i.e. /httpdocs). In this case, you'll have more flexibility in terms of website settings for every site and can purchase separate SSL certificate for each domain.
  3. Set the main website as default virtual host on the IP address . Go to Tools & Settings > IP addresses > <IP Address> and select your WordPress website as the default website for this IP address. You won't need to create any additional domains or aliases in Plesk - as long as other site names are resolving to the same IP address, web server will use your WordPress website as a default destination for any request that comes to this IP address. However SSL certificate for the main website must include all domains you're planning to add to your multisite network.

You can mix-and-match these approaches - all of them will work together.

At the end, you'll have several websites, each with their own domain name, which use single WordPress installation, but show different content.

Important!

Plesk WordPress Toolkit extension treats multisite installations as a typical single-site deployment. Specifically:

  • WordPress Toolkit will display WordPress installation, plugins, and themes on the main website of the network only.
  • Plugins and themes installed via WordPress Toolkit must be “network activated” from WordPress admin dashboard.
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