Managing a WordPress Multisite network can be a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be if you have the right tools.
But what are the best tools for Multisite?
There’s always a lot of discussion on the WPMU DEV forums about this very topic, so I asked our support crew and developers what plugins they recommend people install on their network.
Whether you’re new to running a Multisite network or have been hosting your own network for some time, you’re sure to find many of the plugins below (in no particularly order) useful for managing your sites.
P.S. Yes, there are a lot of WPMU DEV plugins in this list. When I searched for plugins for this list I kept coming back to our own products. What can I say? We’ve got more than 140 plugins so some were bound to make this list.
What plugins do you find essential for your Multisite network? Tell us in the comments below.
This is a relatively new plugin, which includes more than 12 Multisite enhancements, such as:
– An “Add New” link under the plugins menu for super admins
– Adds several useful items to the Multisite Network Admin admin bar
– Shows which blogs have a particular plugin active on the network plugins page
– Shows which blogs have a particular theme active on the network themes page
Another nice feature is that it adds the favicon from the theme folder to the admin area to more easily identify blogs.
New Blog Templates
If you’re frequently setting up new sites on your network, New Blog Templates gives you the ability to create a template, or multiple templates, and then duplicate all the settings (posts, pages, themes, categories, tags, links, categories, etc) for every new site that is created.
It’s a great plugin if you want all of the sites on your network to use the same structure and plugins as well as a standard set of pages and posts.
Domain mapping is a great feature to offer your users as it allows them to be members of your network while having their own domain name. Domain Mapping is the only premium plugin that allows admins and users to search for, buy and map domains on any Multisite network.
Domain Mapping gives your users the option to map one or more domains to their site, so mysite.mainsite.com can become mysite.com. Users could also set up myothersite.com and myotherothersite.com to all point to their site on your network, all the while buying their domains from you.
Multisite Content Copier
Copying content between sites on your network is easy with Multisite Content Copier. Just follow the step-by-step menu to copy posts, pages, users and plugins across your entire network.
This plugin allows network admins to quickly and easily seed new sites with content, users and plugins without the hassle of doing it manually.
Autoblog is a great plugin for automated posting to WordPress from RSS feeds and it takes no time at all to set up. This plugin allows you to quickly post content to an unlimited number of sites from one place. Say, for example, you want to post WPMU DEV Blog posts to your site, you can do just that.
Run an unlimited number of different domains from one Multisite installation with Multi-Domains. You can also create sites at alternative domains to your main site or give your users the option to choose the domain they prefer.
After you install and active Multi-Domains, you can enter as many domains as you like and they will be automatically added to your signup and new blog creation forms.
Global Site Search
Easily search for content across your network with Global Site Search. This plugin provides you with full indexing of your posts from across your network.
After you install and activate Global Site Search, it will automatically create a page called Site Search where anyone can search through your work.
Multisite Plugin Stats
Multisite Plugin Stats allows you to see what plugins your users are running on your Multisite installation. It’s especially useful if you’re trying to clean up unused plugins or work out plugin popularity.
Organizational Message Notifier
Do you need to get in touch with your site users? Organizational Message Notifier allows you to send messages to blog admins within your network.
When you send out a message, every blog admin will see notifications until they mark the message as read. Super admins can also view who has not read a particular message and can delete notifications manually.
Track user posts and comments across your Multisite network with User Reports. This plugin allows you to create downloadable reports on any of your site’s members.
Pro Sites give you the power to create your own profitable blog or site hosting network, like WordPress.com
You can offer your users the chance to upgrade their sites for a fee and access features like premium themes, plugins, extra storage, domain mapping or simply removing advertising.
This is a powerful plugin and definitely worth checking out.
Pretty Plugins lets your group plugins into categories, give them attractive feature images and display them in an easy-to-access grid.
This plugin gives you centralised control and configuration for every plugin page on your network.
This simple plugin allows you to toggle the backend menus so you can control what your users see when they login. What’s it’s really useful for is simplifying the admin menu across your network.
You can also disable menu items like Add Users, Themes and Permalinks, which you might not want your users messing with.
User Role Editor
User Role Editor allows you to easily change any user role in your network, except administrator. You can assign capabilities by checking options for particular role to suit your network’s needs.
You can add new capabilities and remove capabilities leftover from unused plugins.
If you need to quickly swap between user accounts, User Switching lets you instantly log out and log back in again as your desired user.
This is a handy plugin if you’re constantly switching between multiple member accounts.
The latest version of Jetpack introduced support for Multisite. In the past, super admins had to manage the connections on an individual site basis, even though Jetpack could be activated network-wide. Now you can administer all your connections from your super admin accounts.
Disable Comments allows you to disable comments on any post type (posts, pages attachments etc) across your network so your users can’t override the settings for individual posts.
This plugin is great if you run a Multisite network with sites that don’t require comments.
Google Analytics +
Track and view Google Analytics statistics for your entire multisite network. Google Analytics + puts all the important statistics right in front of you with beautiful charts and graphs in your WordPress dashboard.
You can also combine this plugin with Domain Mapping to collect data for sub-domains and mapped domains.
Ultimate Facebook is a fantastic plugin for integrating Facebook into your Multisite network. You can allow users to sign up to your site with their Facebook details, autopost to their Facebook accounts and import comments made on Facebook.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress. Caching is the best way to easily improve your users experience without having to make change to your site’s content.
WP Super Cache is an alternative plugin and automatically works globally.
Snapshot is like Apple’s Time Machine, but for your WordPress site. This easy-to-use plugin is Multisite compatible and allows you to back backup snapshots of anything you want (settings, content, files etc) so you can quickly restore your content at any time.
This plugin’s features include the ability to save your snapshots to Dropbox and Amazon S3.
Multisite Privacy gives you full control over privacy on your network. It adds four more levels of privacy and allows you to control them across all of the sites on your network. You can also choose whether to allow your users to override these settings.
Anti-Splog allows you to stop and kill spam blogs and was originally built for Edublogs.
It works using the Anti-Splog API, which evaluates new signups and gives them a slog certainty number. If that number is greater than the sensitivity preference you set in the settings (the default is 80 per cent), the blog gets spammed.
Integrate MailChimp with your network and automatically add new users to your email lists and import any existing users.
MailChimp Integration lets you easily keep in touch with your network’s users so you can keep them up-to-date.
There are lots of free form plugins out there, but Gravity Forms is the go-to plugin if you’re serious about forms.
Gravity Forms works well with Multisite and you can even edit your wp-config.php file to automate the creation of forms for new blogs.