To change WordPress from the standard single site install to a WordPress Multisite which allows you to create a network of sites you need to:
- Update your wp-config.php file
- Choose the structure of your Multisite in terms of whether you want to use sub-domains or sub-directories
- Create your blogs.dir directory – NOTE: If using WordPress 3.5+ ignore this folder which has been deprecated in WordPress 3.5
- Add the extra lines your WordPress installation generates into your wp-config.php
- Add the generated mod_rewrite rules to your .htaccess file, replacing other WordPress rules
- Set up your mu-plugins folder
You do this as follows:
Updating your wp-config.php file
1. Locate your wp-config.php file on your hard drive.
2. Right mouse click on your wp-config.php file and select EditPlus 3 to open your wp-config.php file for editing.
4. Add the following line to your wp-config.php file:
above where it says /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */:
A common problem that can occur is if you copy and paste the define(‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true); directly from a website into the wp-config.php file in EditPlus 3 or other text editing software. Instead of pasting quotes as straight single ticks it pastes them in as curly quotes.
When this happens WordPress won’t recognise the edits you have made. The best way to avoid this is to simply type in manually define(‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true); instead of relying on copy and paste. If you have edits that don’t seem to take when you add them to a test editing software, then try this simple fix.
5. Save your new wp-config.php file and upload your new wp-config.php file using FTP into your public_html folder.
6. When you log on to your site you should now see that Network Setup has been added underneath your Tools menu item.
Setting up your sub-domains or sub-directories
1. Now go to Tools > Network Setup and choose whether you want to use sub-domains or sub-directories
- Choose wisely as you can’t change this later
- Contact your host first if you want to use sub-domains to ask if they are able to set up Wildcard DNS records for your site as not all hosting companies support this option
a. Sub- domains
If you want to use sub-domains you will need to contact your host and ask them to set up Wildcard DNS records for your site e.g. log into your support area of pSek and ask them to set up Wildcard DNS records for your site.
- Sub-domains have site URLs like site1.domain.tld and site2.domain.tld
- Not all companies allow you to use sub-domains and you need to check with your hosting company before choosing this option.
This is the easier option because you don’t need to get your hosting company to set up Wildcard DNS records for your site.
- Sub-directories have site URLs like domain.tld/site1 and domain.tld/site2
2. Once you have chosen between sub-domains or sub-directories and double-checked all details are correct then click Install.
- Your Apache mod_rewrite should have already been enabled by your hosting provider so this is something that you generally don’t need to worry about or deal with.
3. Once you’ve clicked Install you should see a page titled Enabling the Network with further instructions for creating your network.
4. Before you commence the next step create a backup of your wp-config.php and .htaccess file by downloading them onto your hard drive.
Create your blogs.dir directory
1. Create your blogs.dir directory in wp-content using FileZilla by clicking on right clicking and selecting Create directory.
2. Add the directory name blogs.dir and click OK.
3. Right click on blogs.dir directory and select file permissions.
4. Set the file permission to 755 and click OK.
Add the extra lines your WordPress installation generates into your wp-config.php
1. Add the supplied code for your wp-config.php file from the ‘Enabling the Network’ page above the line reading /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */: and remove the earlier added define(`WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE`, true); line.
2. Save your new wp-config.php file and upload it using FTP into your public_html folder.
Add the generated mod_rewrite rules to your .htaccess file, replacing other WordPress rules.
1. Add the supplied rules for your .htaccess file from the ‘Enabling the Network’ page to replace all other WordPress rules in the .htaccess file with the supplied code.
2. Save your new .htaccess file and upload it using FTP into your public_html folder.
Set up your mu-plugins folder
Before you can install mu-plugins on your WordPress Multisite installation you need to create a mu-plugins folder as follows:
1. Create your mu-plugins folder in wp-content using FileZilla by clicking on right clicking and selecting Create directory.
2. Add the directory name mu-plugins and click OK.
3. Right click on your mu-plugins directory and select file permissions.
4. Set the file permission to 755 and click OK.
Checking out your Network Admin dashboard area
Once you have completed all these steps and uploaded all files you will need to log back into your website. You should now see the Network Admin link in the My Sites dropdown menu on your WordPress admin bar.
Once in the Network Admin dashboard you can quickly change back to the “Site Admin” Dashboard, by clicking on the dashboard link to any of your sites under My Sites.
The Network Admin Dashboard
The “Network Admin” dashboard is a separate dashboard area for all Network Management on a WordPress Multisite install; this is where you access your Super Admin area.
The “Network Admin” link is only viewable and accessible to users who have been granted Super Admin privileges for the Network.
You access the “Network Admin” link via the My Sites dropdown menu on your WordPress admin bar.