Guide to activate and configure WordPress multisite [Multisite]

Wasabi Team
Wasabi Team

WordPress has countless advantages, and one of them is the ability to create a multisite installation to manage multiple websites simultaneously from a single interface.

This feature is integrated natively into WordPress, so there’s no need to install any plugins. Instead, you need to make a few modifications to your theme files to activate it.

In this guide, we explain step by step how to activate and configure WordPress multisite, but first, let’s understand better what it is and why to use it.

🤔 What is WordPress Multisite?

WordPress multisite, or multisite, is a feature of the content management system that allows you to create a network of websites to manage them all from a single installation.

This is especially useful for those who have multiple websites, all of which share the same template, plugins, and other similar elements, saving time in their installation and maintenance.

When a multisite is created, a Network Administrator user is added who will be responsible for controlling the network, creating sites, adding themes, plugins, and new users. In addition, each site will continue to have its individual users with different roles allowed by WordPress.

✅ Advantages of using WordPress multisite

The main advantages or benefits of using WordPress multisite are as follows:

  • Multiple WordPress installations can be managed more efficiently, resulting in time and effort savings for the developer or webmaster.
  • The update of WordPress, themes, and plugins for all sites can be done from a single interface. This simplifies the work in this way.
  • Themes and plugins are shared among all the sites that are part of the network, and it is decided individually which ones to activate.
  • For developers, working in this way is especially practical because they can have all their clients’ websites in a single control panel.
  • It is ideal for creating websites in different languages with the help of translation plugins.
  • Perfect for having an intranet within a company or organization, giving each employee access to the appropriate sites.
  • It allows the creation of a platform where each client has their own website.

📖 How to activate WordPress multisite step by step

Let’s begin activating WordPress multisite, but before making any changes, we recommend that you create a backup of your site so that if anything goes wrong, you can revert the changes.

Additionally, it’s necessary to deactivate all the plugins you have installed. Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins. Select all of them, click on Bulk Actions > Deactivate, and finally press Apply.

1. Edit the wp-config.php file

To activate multisite, you need to make a small modification to the wp-config.php file, so you’ll have to access it. Do this through an FTP client or from your hosting file manager.

For example, if you use cPanel, access File Manager > public_html > your_theme > wp-config.php
Guide to activate and configure WordPress multisite (multisite) step by step

Once you locate the file (if you can’t find it, press Ctrl+F and type the name in the search box), it’s time to edit it.

What you need to do is find the part of the code that says (depending on your theme):

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


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

And add the following just before it:

define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );

Finally, save the changes.

2. Network setup

Access the WordPress admin panel, and you’ll now see a new option under Tools, called Network Setup. Click on it.

Fill in the requested information, indicating a name for your network and the email address of the network administrator. Then press Install.

Next, edit the wp-config.php and .htaccess files again to add the lines of code as instructed.

When you finish editing the files, return to the WordPress admin panel, log out, and then log back in. This way, you will have successfully activated the multisite feature in WordPress.

By the way, at this point, you can reactivate all your plugins.

⚙️ How to configure WordPress multisite

After activating multisite, you’ll see a new option in the menu called My Sites > Network Admin, from where you can manage everything related to your WordPress multisite: sites, users, themes, plugins, and settings.

In this case, you won’t find anything related to Posts or Pages because these are created on individual sites, not in the network.

Let’s see what each option refers to:

  • Dashboard: From here, you can view the overall status of your network, including active sites and users, as well as the ability to create them.
  • Sites: In this option, you can view the sites that are already on the network and create new ones.
  • Users: In this section, the network users are listed, and new ones can be added.
  • Themes: In this section, themes can be added, and they will be available for each site. The advantage is that they only need to be uploaded once.
  • Plugins: From here, it’s possible to install and activate plugins. When a plugin is installed, it becomes available for each particular site, and activation is decided from there. If plugins are activated from the network, they will automatically activate for all sites.
  • Settings: This is the general configuration for the entire network, including sites and users.

Creating a new site

Let’s now learn how to create a new site in the network.

To begin, click on Sites > Add New to access the creation window.

To add a new site, you must specify a URL (subdomain or subdirectory of the main domain), the name, and language of the page.

Additionally, you must enter the email address of the administrator of the new site (do not confuse this with the network administrator who is already created). That address will be searched in the database, and if it does not match any stored records, a new user will be created, and an email will be sent to set the password.

Finally, click on Add site.

💡 Summary of WordPress multisite activation

As you learned in our guide, WordPress multisite allows you to have multiple websites and manage them from a single control panel, resulting in significant time, effort, and resource savings.

If you have a primary domain and will create subdomains or subdirectories of it, using a multisite installation is the best option.

Activating and configuring it is not complicated; you just need to add some lines of code to the wp-config-php and .htaccess files, following each of the steps we just explained in this tutorial.