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Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

How to setup a network of sites

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Jan 18, 2018 12:33 PM

How does one create a multi-site network? The beauty of WordPress is that it has an inbuilt feature to create multiple websites. We are going to look at how to set up a WordPress multi-site.

What is a Multi-site in WordPress?

A multi-site website will help you to manage several websites using one Installation. New sites can be created fast, and you can manage them using one username and password. Other users can also create blogs on your domain once they sign up.

Who needs a Multi-site Network?

You don't need a multi-site network because you are managing several WordPress because you can manage all your sites in InfiniteWP or ManageWP. Below are scenarios that require the creation of multi-sites networks:

  • A company website that has sub-sites for various branches in different locations.

  • A magazine that is managed by different teams.

  • A website of a government or a no-profit organization that is located in various regions.

  • Learning institutions that allow students to blog on their servers.

  • When you have different blogs that run on different domains.

Multisite Network requirements

Sites that are in a multisite share a common server; this makes it important for you to host your websites on a good hosting service.

You can also use shared hosting if you want to have low traffic websites. However, you need dedicated servers or VPS hosting in the long run because sites usually grow with time.

Look for some of the best hosting service companies that offer Dedicated/VPS servers of shared hosting services; better yet, you can choose hosting providers who have partnerships with website companies like WordPress, Wix and so forth. You can also check out other providers like InMotion Hosting, Bluehost, or SiteGround for your hosting services.

To help you in the setup process, you also need basic understanding of how to install WordPress and how to edit FTP files.

How to choose a Multi-site Network domain structure

Adding new sites on a WordPress multisite network can be done using sub-directories or subdomains.

http://example.com/site1/

http://site1.example.com

If using sub-directories is the choice you settle for your network sites, enabling permalinks on your site will be a must. On the other hand, if you select subdomains, you will have to configure your server subdomains.

How to setup Wildcard subdomains

You will have to set up wildcard domains if you plan to use subdomains for your multisite network. To accomplish that, login into the account cPanel of your host and choose Subdomains on the Domain Section. Let us look at how to use WordPress.

How to enable the Multisite Network feature in WordPress

Each WordPress install has an inbuilt multi-site network feature. You only need to install the WordPress and set it up and enable the multisite feature.

Alternatively, you can enable the multisite feature in any WordPress site, but before you do that, create a backup of the entire WordPress site.

Enabling multi-site is done by connecting your site is on a cPanel file manager or an FTP client and edit the wp-config.php file.

You will have to input the following code to the wp-config.php file right above the

/* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging.*/ Statement.

/*Multisite*/

Define(' WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);

Upload the file to the server after saving it.

The code we have described above is used to enable the Multi-site Network feature. Now, before setting up your network, deactivate all WordPress plugins.

You can achieve this by visiting Plugins/Installed Plugins page and click on all plugins, deactivate it on the drop down 'Bulk Action' and click on Apply.

Head to the page named Tools/Network Setup to configure the multisite network.

Don't mind the notice which states that the site needs Apache's mod_rewrite module because all WordPress hosting providers have it already installed on all sites. Next, you will need to describe the domain structure for your sires. E.g., Sub-directories or Subdomains.

Then you will have to provide a network title and ensure that the Network admin email is correct. Afterward, click install and continue.

A code will be available for you to add to your .htaccess and wp_config.php file. Use the cPanel manager or the FTP client to copy and paste the code that WordPress will show you in the two files.

Conclusion

Since you have set up the multi-site network, you will have to configure the settings of the network. You will accomplish that by getting into the 'Network dashboard' where you will add sites, change the network settings and configure more settings.

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