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WordPress Multisite – A Beginner’s Guide – Part 1

Not sure what WordPress multisite is? You’re in the right place. We’ll give you a breakdown of everything you need to know about creating a website network using this platform.

If you’re considering using WordPress for your online presence, you’ve made an excellent choice. WordPress is a free CMS that allows non-coders to create impressive and engaging websites with ease. Whether you’re looking to launch an online shop, blog, or company site, WordPress has everything you need!

WordPress multisites have many capabilities that single sites do not. This guide will show you how a WordPress multisite can reduce strain and friction when running multiple WordPress websites. You’ll also learn about its other features, whether it’s the best solution for your case, and more.

What is WordPress Multisite?

WordPress Multisite allows multiple websites to be run from a single WordPress installation. By sharing core files and databases, website administrators can manage all websites more easily from one account.

WordPress offers two installation types: single site and multisite. Why would a user opt for multisite? Mainly to save time and money if they are running multiple websites– it uses less server space than separate installations of WordPress. Plus, with the functionality of the shared resource built into WP’s multisite, managing plugins and themes becomes much simpler.

Multisite first came out in 2010 with the release of WordPress 3.0. It quickly gained popularity among WordPress admins for its ability to manage networks comprised of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of websites all at once.

How does Multisite Work in WordPress

WordPress multisite and single-site offerings have quite a few similarities. Multisites have many of the same features as regular WP installations but also come with some extras. If you’re trying to understand what makes WordPress multisite different, take a look at these essential aspects below.

User Roles and Permissions

By default, a standard WordPress site has five user roles, listed from most authority to least authority:

Multisite offers a super administrator role in addition to the administrator role. Sometimes people also call this position the network administrator or super admin.

What is a super admin?

The super admin is like the CEO of a multisite system, who has complete control over all aspects and sites in the network. They are responsible for managing and regulating all subsites beneath their umbrella. In contrast, administrators can only access a few sites within the network that pertain to them.

If an administrator turns their WordPress installation into a multisite, they become a super administrator. Super administrators have access to a dashboard that is slightly different from the regular one where they can manage all the sites in their network. Most importantly, super admins can install plugins and themes on specific sites or across all subsites at once.

If you have a multisite configuration, only super admins can install themes or plugins on the network. However, regular admins can activate or deactivate these features. In some cases, super admins may also be responsible for creating websites in the network for new users. Alternatively, they could permit users to create new sites themselves. Super admins can also assign administrators to one or more subsites in the network as needed.

Themes and Plugins

The WordPress multisite configuration stores plugins and themes on the network instead of each site having its copy. This makes using subsites easier because they share files.

Super admins can activate themes and plugins on all networked websites, or they can toggle them on and off for specific subsites. They can also update themes and plugins across all sites simultaneously, which saves a significant amount of time.

WordPress installations usually work separately, but our network is designed differently to allow for increased security. With a shared codebase, Lowering this permission only affects super administrators and helps protect the network better.

A theme or plugin installed carelessly by one administrator can have harmful consequences for everyone else on the network website if they share a codebase.

Domains and Domain Mapping

WordPress multisite is created when you install WordPress and add subsites. This makes all subsites share the domain name of the original website. During setup, super admins must choose if they want their sites separated by subdomain (ex: website.network.com) or subdirectory (network/website).

In addition, you can attach unique domains to the subsites. To do this, map custom domain names to sites in the network. This way, the subsite will look like any other website hosted elsewhere and not be connected to the original website through URL structure or design. If you want to map a domain to the subsite, visit your multisite network admin settings page.

A final tip: Before you start domain mapping, double-check that the network is up and running so there are no issues when creating subsites.

Code and Storage

On the surface, WordPress multisite may look similar to individual WP installations. However, their back-end configuration sets them apart. In a multisite setup, all subsites utilize the same core files. This means that the plugin and theme files for all websites are stored in the same directory—saving significant server space.

Not everything is shared between sites though; each site has its own media assets and data. Subsites have their own uploads folder and database tables on the back end.

Though Multisite may not be the most popular WordPress feature, it can certainly come in handy for those who need to manage multiple sites at once. At WaasHero we provide Custom WordPress Multisite Solutions, If you’re looking for an experienced & affordable WordPress Multisite Solution then consider hopping on a video chat with us! You will be surprised how easy it is to get started! Our support channels are ready and standing by!

This was our take on the basics of WordPress Multisite, we will cover the benefits and the installation process in our upcoming blogs. Stay Tuned!

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