Best practice to develop multisite website?

I run a small nonprofit, and we have a basic website which I’m trying to re-do. I think a multisite installation will work better for us. I made a subdomain wordpress installation and converted it to multisite, and I’m assembling it now. What will be the best way to migrate the multisite version to my primary domain?

  • aecnu
    • WP Unicorn

    Greetings matt_hussmann,

    Thank you for the additional input in which moving this configuration will indeed require a lot of work with the site needing every instance of the domain name changed and do not forget to save the permalinks when the move has been made.

    The best way to do this for future knowledge is to have the site with the same domain name on two different physical servers then using the technique described here to address the live site versus the development site and then copy the development site to the working site and not need to worry about changing domain names in the database and throughout the installation.

    Thank you for being a WPMU DEV Community Member!

    Cheers, Joe

  • phillcoxon
    • The Crimson Coder

    Hi Matt,

    If you are working on a WordPress site that you will deploy live to a different URL then here is a fairly simple way to do it.

    Set up your development site on any domain.

    If your live site is you can set it up as a sub-domain (i.e.: or on it’s own domain (i.e.:

    Then you can develop on the development site until it’s ready. When you’re ready to deploy the easiest way to do so is using a specialist backup tool that will backup your wordpress site and database and allow you to deploy it to the live site.

    My secret weapon that I use for this all the time is BackupBuddy

    BackupBuddy allows you to clone an entire WordPress website in minutes. After setting up the options, you hit the backup button and it creates a zip archive of the site, including the database. It has options to include all database tables, not just the standard wordpress ones meaning it will backup all plugins, themes and associated custom database data.

    From there you can download the zip or send it directly via FTP to where you want to deploy the site. Next you upload the assocated importbuddy.php script to the new site and run that in your web browser.

    This brings up the Import Buddy interface which guides you to restoring your site. It automatically detects the backup of your development site, unpacks it and asks you for your new database details. Then it unpacks everything and the site is running again on the new domain name.

    Yes, that’s right – every reference to is updated to so that it is now fully running on the new URL.

    Backup Buddy absolutely rocks for moving WP sites to a new domain or making a clone of a website on a new domain – all in 3-5 mins once you get the process down pat.

    I use it as a development tool to develop on one URL and deploy to a live site when I’m ready all the time.

    The latest version of BackupBuddy is now starting to support the backing up and deployment of Multi-Site installs as well although that is still very much in beta.

    If you want to backup your sites, move them to new domains super fast and easy I can’t recommend BackupBuddy enough.

    There are more advanced development environments that can be set up using version control and automatic deployment of sites but it gets pretty technical and I suspect would be far more complex than you need.

    Hope that helps you.

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