WordPress Multisite overview


WordPress Multisite is a feature of WordPress that allows you to create multiple virtual sites that share a single WordPress installation. This allows users to create their own sites as subdomains of your primary site. For example:

  • example.com/site1
  • example.com/site2
  • example.com/site3

You can also configure your multisite to only allow the administrator to create new sites. This can be useful for a business with different departments. For example:

  • example.com/sales
  • example.com/products
  • example.com/support
  • WordPress Multisite support is NOT PROVIDED BY DREAMHOST.
  • If anything on your multisite installation is not functioning, you must troubleshoot it yourself or hire a developer.
  • Multisite is not for WordPress beginners. You should already know how to use WordPress before considering using Multisite.
  • Users should have basic knowledge of PHP, MySQL, how to edit files on the server, and how to review error logs in case you must troubleshoot it yourself.

Should you use WordPress Multisite?

View the before you create a network article from WordPress for further information.

When to NOT use Multisite

Multisite isn't a good choice if you want:

  • various users to collaborate on a single project
  • various users to blog together
  • a site where data or users are shared
  • different users to see different pages (a plugin can be used instead)
  • different pages to look different (a plugin can be used instead)

When to use Multisite

Multisite may be a good choice if you:

  • want to create virtual sites that are independent of each other
  • want each user to have control over how their data is presented
  • want to allow users to create their own site
  • you are proficient in PHP, MySQL, and reviewing logs for errors
  • you are confident in providing support for (potentially) many users
  • want to give each blog a subdomain or a subdirectory
  • wish to be the single network administrator over all sites in a network
  • wish to update all sites in a single step

Types of Multisite

There are two ways you can set up your multisite:

  • Subdomains, or
  • Subdirectories

Subdirectory Multisite

This option creates subdirectories in the following format:

  • example.com/site1
  • example.com/site2
  • example.com/site3

Subdomain Multisite

This option creates subdomains in the following format:

  • site1.example.com
  • site2.example.com
  • site3.example.com
  • The subdomain option is only available on a VPS or Dedicated Server. This is because Wildcard DNS is required for this configuration. If you wish to use Multisite on a shared server, you must use the subdirectory option.
  • DO NOT use the panel to enter an asterisk * as a CNAME record. This does not work and will cause problems down the line.

Third option for advanced users

It's also possible to map a separate domain to your network. For example, instead of having example.com and example.com/site1 you have example.com and site1example.com. This functionality is included in WordPress 4.5 and later. View the following article for further information:


  • If things go wrong, try looking up your problem on the WordPress Support Forum for Multisite. If you can't find an answer, ask it there. Be sure to note any debugging information before posting to the forums.
  • Make sure you installed the software without the https://www in the domain name if you are using subdomains.
  • Did you accidentally create a subdomain install (on a VPS or Dedicated Server) unintentionally/without contacting support to create a wildcard? If so, dump your database, and then start over. Or, contact support and ask for the wildcards to be put in place.
  • If you run into trouble, the first place to look is within the server's error logs.
  • Be sure to search the forums with keywords covering your issue. Chances are someone has already run into the problem you are having.
  • If you want to add an SSL certificate to any of the subdomains in a network, you will need to add that subdomain as fully hosted, as well as assign that subdomain to the same web directory as the primary domain.

See also

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Article last updated PST.

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