Are you managing multiple WordPress sites? Yes? Did you know you could manage them all from a single dashboard? No? Well you can with WordPress Multisite.
Multisite was introduced in 2010 but a surprising number of site administrators and users are still unfamiliar with it. This post will demystify WordPress Multisite to help you evaluate whether it is a good solution for your business; and show you how to install it.
Let’s begin with the basics.
What is WordPress Multisite?
Multisite is a feature that enables you to create and manage multiple websites & blogs from a single WordPress installation. That means that you can manage as many sites as you want from one Dashboard. Just one.
- It allows for a network of subdomains and directories
- You can enable other users to create accounts and WordPress blogs on your Multisite Network
- Super Admins can install themes and plugins for sites within their Multisite Network. However, site administrators on the network do not have that capability
- Super Admins can also make changes to themes for all websites on their Multisite Network while site administrators cannot
Installing, managing and updating a Multisite Network is not as difficult as it sounds; in fact, the installation is almost similar to a standard WordPress installation. It also has the same core files, folder structure and code base as a standard WordPress site.
Another great thing about WordPress Multisite is that all the themes and plugins on your network are stored once, regardless of how many sites are using them. That means that your server space would be smaller than if each site had its own WordPress installation.
There are, however, a few differences between a Multisite and a standard installation: the admin screens and how they are used, the files, folders and the database tables. Let’s go over them.
Files and Folders
The wp-config.php file and the wp-uploads folder in a Multisite Network are a bit different from the ones in a standard WordPress installation.
The wp-config.php file contains additional lines that activate Multisite and notify WordPress on how it functions or operates.
The wp-uploads folder has a subfolder for each site on the network and the files of each site are stored in the site’s folder, as you normally would expect to see them in the wp-uploads folder of a standard WordPress installation.
At the end of the day, these are differences you don’t need to concern yourself with – WordPress takes care of it for you!
A standard WordPress installation has 11 database tables to store your site’s content and settings. Nine of those 11 tables are duplicated for each site on a Multisite Network. So the more sites you have, the more tables you’ll have.
This is another difference you do not need to worry about.