Multisite is a type of WordPress installation that allows you to create and manage a network of multiple websites from a single WordPress dashboard. This lets you easily make changes and keep all of your websites updated from one place.
You can create a multisite network for yourself that only you have access to. Or you could add other users who can create their own sites inside your network, and limit them from accessing more powerful WordPress features.
For example, Harvard University has a WordPress multisite network called Harvard Blogs that allows anyone with a harvard.edu email address to create their own blog. Bloggers can publish blog posts on their own sites, but only the owner of the multisite, called the “super admin”, can install plugins or make other sitewide changes.
All users of a multisite network share the same plugins and themes.
But websites created on a multisite network do have separate media upload directories in the WordPress installation. That means that each site has its own separate folder of images and other uploaded files, so you can’t access one site’s images from another site in the network.
Why Use a WordPress Multisite Network?
WordPress multisite networks are a great option for those wanting to manage separate websites from one dashboard. Multisite networks are used by corporations, schools, universities, news outlets, online businesses, and more.
You can even create your own blogging platform (network of blogs) on a single multisite installation.
Hosting for WordPress Multisite Installations
Before creating your multisite installation, consider the size of your network and compare the prices and features of the top WordPress hosting providers.
If you only plan to have a few websites in your network, then a shared hosting account is a good choice.
How to Enable a Multisite Network in WordPress
Once you have a hosting provider, you will need to install WordPress.
After your installation is complete, connect to your website using an FTP client like FileZilla.
Then add the following line just before ‘That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging’ in the file.
Save your wp-config.php file and log out of your cPanel. Next, log in to your WordPress website. After login, go to Tools » Network Setup. This is where you will configure your WordPress Multisite Network.
On the network setup screen, choose whether you want network sites to be on their own subdomain (like blog1.example.com and blog2.example.com) or subdirectory (such as example.com/blog1 and example.com/blog2).
This is important because once you make a selection, you can’t change this setting later.