9 Essential WordPress Multisite Plugins for Every Network Admin
I think it’s safe to say that here at WPMU DEV, we’re big fans of WordPress Multisite networks.
We use Multisite to power our educational blogging platform Edublogs and we develop some of the most popular Multisite plugins out there. Personally, I run three separate Multisite networks, each of which does a different job.
Multisite is a fantastic tool on its own, but there are some plugins available that make it even better. We’ve written a lot about plugins for Multisite, including a definitive list of the top Multisite plugins, but here I’ll focus on plugins that help network admins.
So if you’re administering a Multisite network, anything from a private network of three blogs to a profitable network of thousands of user-created sites, which plugins will help make the job easier?
Here are the plugins I use and consider essential for every Multisite admin.
This is one of the most helpful plugins I install on my networks. It adds a load of features to the network admin pages, including:
- Plugin enhancements: “Add new” link in the network admin menu and a list of sites plugins are activated for in the network admin plugins screen.
- Theme enhancements: See which themes are activated on which sites from your network admin themes screen.
- Extra elements in the network admin menu bar: Manage SEO and go straight to updates.
- View the ID of your sites in the network admin sites screen: This only normally possible with a bit of investigation.
For me, the most useful feature is the ability to see which sites are using which plugins. When I’m updating plugins I can easily see which sites they’re activated on and which I therefore need to test.
Our own Domain Mapping plugin lets you assign any domain to a site in your network. It means that when people visit that site, they won’t see a domain like sitename.yournetwork.com, but just sitename.com.
This plugin is incredibly helpful if you’re providing support to your site managers or other users of your network. It lets you quickly and easily switch user accounts so you can see exactly what another user on your network sees without actually having to log in to their account.
This is extra useful if you’ve added customizations to the admin screens for site admins which you don’t see as the network administrator. Once you’ve finished supporting the user, simply switch back to your own account and you’ll have access to the network management screens again.
If you’re providing support for your site administrators, you want a way to make it easy for them to raise tickets and for you to respond to them.
The Support System plugin gives site admins access to support screens where they can raise tickets for you to deal with. Tickets can include images, video and anything else you can insert in a WordPress post, and can be assigned to a category so the right member of your support team is notified of a new ticket.
The plugin now includes support for raising tickets via the front end of your main network site, which helps with UX, and you can also create and publish FAQs, either from scratch or based on the responses you give to support tickets.
Ever needed to copy the contents of one site in your network to a new one? If you’ve tried using the WordPress Importer you might have found that the process took a while.
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Our Multisite Content Copier plugin lets you copy all of your content from one site to another, and it’s not just limited to content. Copy plugins as well, and copy content to not just one site but a group of sites in your network.
But it’s much more powerful than that. Use the plugin to speed up the creation of new sites by setting up template groups which have the same content: create a site in one of these groups and it will automatically contain the content for that group. Useful if you’re running a community or business network and you need all of your sites to include some common content such as information about your network, legal information or pages about the community or company.
“Splog” is a word that always makes people smile the first time they hear it: It means a spammy blog that’s created on your network. If you’re running a network that allows users to sign up and create their own sites, you’ll be a target for sploggers (yes, that’s a word too!).
But with our Anti Splog plugin you can banish those spammy blog creators. Its intelligent algorithm will identify splogs and kill them before they’re created, saving you hours of work deleting unwanted sites.
Think of it as Akismet, but for Multisite networks.
If you want to make money from your Multisite network, then this plugin really can’t be beaten. It lets you run a site like wordpress.com or edublogs.org, letting users create their own site and then add paid-for upgrades like plugins, themes, added storage and mapped domains.
It helps you create pages on your main site marketing the upgrade options and/or payment plans for network users and makes the process of upgrading super easy. Incorporate payment, packages and even allow payment for BuddyPress integration or support. Everything is configurable meaning you can customise based on your needs and add your own branding.
One of the many comments on my recent guide to WordPress Multisite asked if it was possible to create networks within your network. In other words, can your site administrators use their site to manage their own sub-network inside your main network?
It may sound like something that would lead you down a rabbit-hole, but the answer is: Yes, with this plugin you can.
Install and activate the plugin on your network and you can activate networks within individual sites, with each network having its own domain and its own set of sites. Move sites between networks and install plugins and themes for each network.
If the enhancements added to the toolbar by the Multisite Enhancements plugin aren’t enough for you, then look no further than this plugin, which gives you even more.
It adds multiple levels of navigation to the network manager’s admin toolbar, meaning you can access plugin and theme screens, settings and admin screens for the sites on your network, all without leaving the comfort of the admin bar.
These are nine of my favorite plugins for network administration with WordPress Multisite. Using some or all of these will make your network more powerful and make your job as network admin easier. They will help you make money form your network and, more importantly for your users, enhance the service and experience you provide for them.
Do you have any network admin plugins you couldn’t live without? Add yours in the comments below.