At work we have 7 WordPress websites (all with different domains). It is a hassle to try and keep them all up-to-date and to log into each one and add/remove users, plugins, etc.
So I converted one of the sites into a Multisite setup and then added the other sites into it. There are a lot of “gotcha ya’s” so even though there are a number of walkthroughs out there, I had to make my own because it took about 10 of them to get the full picture.
Parent Site: is the main site that will be converted into the multi-site. I’d recommend that this be your site with the most customizations. In my case, it was my wife’s blog BeingGenevieve.com, so I made her site the Parent site.
Child Site: are the sites that will be added to the parent site.
Before you install
In some cases, you may not need to install Multisite. You may be fine with a single-user install. Some questions you want to ask before you begin:
- Are you creating multiple blogs with different admins?
- Are you proficient in PHP, MySQL, and reviewing logs for errors?
- Are you confident in providing support for (potentially) many users?
- Do you want to give each blog a subdomain or a subdirectory? Subdomains require wildcard DNS. In some cases, it may be more trouble.
- MAKE A BACKUP!!! (I can’t stress this enough)
- Also if you have any Child Sites have existing posts – you will want to use Tools –> Export WordPress Export to migrate your posts and settings.
- Also download your theme and plugin directories if you want to include them on the new site.
If you’re confident, get ready to install!
Step 1: Setup your DNS
If you’re on a VPS or Dedicated server, you can use a wildcard DNS entry. To do this, you will need to contact your host – though you might be able to figure it out – Every host handles this differently so I’d advise to involve them and request that this be set up for you. Just let them know that you are installing WordPress Multisite and that you need a wildcard DNS entry.
If you’re on shared hosting, you can’t have wildcard DNS, but you can manually create them. The easiest way to do this is to go to your hosting panel and create a new subdomain (child.example.com) that mirrors your main domain (example.com).