Enable Multisite on Existing Site & with 2 Domains

Hello WPMUDEV, I recently reactivated my account because you always have the best tech to assist me on some challenging things.

This one is quite challenging indeed!

I recently built a site for Comedy Dynamics(comedydynamics.com) and they decided they would also like me to develop their parent company Nacelle but to create a Multisite setup so they can edit both from the same admin. With some stipulations:
1) both sites must be on seperate domains(comdeydynamics.com & nacellecompany.com)
2) They would like to share data across sites as well (post types & media library)

I have been following your blog articles to convert the existing comedydynamics.com site into a Multisite & setup multiple domains, but I was recommended by SiteGround, our hosting provider, to NOT convert the comedydynamics.com site into a multisite. But instead download a copy of the site, delete the existing site, reinstall WordPress as Mulitsite through the Sofalicious app & reupload the site.

That seems a bit extreme, wouldn't you say? & are the stipulations I mentioned above possible?

Also, can I develop the new Nacelle site on my local computer and easily upload it as a network site?

Thanks for your help!
- Luke

  • Dimitris
    • Support Star

    Hello there Luke,
    hope you're doing well and thanks for reaching us! :slight_smile:

    1)
    For mapping a domain (giving another domain name to a subsite of a multisite installation) you don't need any plugin actually, that's a native WP functionality that you can use:
    https://wordpress.org/support/article/wordpress-multisite-domain-mapping/

    2)
    I'm not sure why SiteGround would recommend that, the only thing that I could think of is due to the way their infrastructure is set. Is the main site that you want to change into a multisite located in the root folder of the server (/public_html) or in a subfolder? I'm asking that cause I recall issues in some servers where the multisite with mapped domains weren't in the root folder. Maybe that's something that you could double check with SiteGround support. If there's no problem with that, then making the setup a multisite would be much faster indeed, as you won't need to migrate any files or database at all.

    Also, can I develop the new Nacelle site on my local computer and easily upload it as a network site?

    For that you could use Snapshot plugin and normal snapshots (not Managed Backups) as these can backup a specific subsite of a multisite.
    More info: https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/easy-migration-snapshot/

    Warm regards,
    Dimitris

  • Luke
    • WPMU DEV Initiate

    Awesome Dimitris! Thanks so much for getting back quickly :slight_smile:

    1) I'll look in to that. Thanks for the link!

    2) Yes, the comedydynamics site is at the root of the server (/public_html):

    **the new site I am building (nacellecompany.com) is actually the "parent" company of comedydynamics. Maybe that will change things. Or does it even matter?

    Not sure if I should convert the comedy dynamics site to Multisite? I tried it before, but without luck(it went down) and that is why SiteGround support told me NOT to convert it to multisite.

    What do you suggest?

    Thanks for the snapshot suggestion!

    Thanks again,
    Luke

  • Pawel
    • Staff

    Hello Luke!

    I hope you're well today!

    the new site I am building (nacellecompany.com) is actually the "parent" company of comedydynamics. Maybe that will change things. Or does it even matter?

    That doesn't matter, as you as the administrator of the site can choose any layout, including which site is the main one. And even that's not very important - WordPress just needs to have one site set as the main (default) one, but that doesn't influence how the sites work. To visitors those are like two different websites.

    As for one thing you mentioned: sharing media library etc. - please note that each subsite in a multisite has a separate media library and stores the files in a separate uploads folder in wp-content/uploads/sites/[site_id]/ The files from other sites won't show up in every subsite's Media Library. But in this case you can still use those files through their URLs if you need to, so you don't have to upload them many times.

    You can read more about MultiSite administration here: https://codex.wordpress.org/Multisite_Network_Administration - there's an explanation of how things are shared between the sites.

    As for the issue with converting the site to multisite and it crashing - can you provide us with some more details as to what happened? As Dimitris said, maybe the hosting has some configuration that may cause unexpected issues when trying to run a multisite. Any error messages etc. would be nice so we can guide you further. Also - what did you have to do to bring the site back up?

    Kind regards,
    Pawel

  • Luke
    • WPMU DEV Initiate

    That doesn't matter, as you as the administrator of the site can choose any layout, including which site is the main one. . .

    Great! Good to hear :slight_smile:

    As for one thing you mentioned: sharing media library etc. . .

    I was thinking that too. But I wanted to check and make sure. Thanks for the link! I guess the main request from our client is to feature a catalog from comedydynamics.com on the nacellecompany.com site. Almost like an iframe(a site within a site). Any suggestions on that?

    As for the issue with converting the site to multisite and it crashing - can you provide us with some more details as to what happened?

    I started the instructions on your blogpost How to Build a WordPress Multisite Network by adding define(‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true); to the wp-config.php file.

    Also - what did you have to do to bring the site back up?

    Not sure, SiteGround tech fixed it.

    But I tested multisite setup on my own hosting account & it was quite easy to set it up on a NEW WordPress install. Looking at my wp-config.php file I found this entry for Multisite:

    /* Multisite */
    define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );
    define('MULTISITE', true);
    define('SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', false);
    define('DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', 'webdevwithluke.com');
    define('PATH_CURRENT_SITE', '/');
    define('SITE_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1);
    define('BLOG_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1);

    So I tried the above code with stage.comedydynamics.com:

    define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );
    define('MULTISITE', true);
    define('SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', false);
    define('DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', 'stage.comedydynamics.com');
    define('PATH_CURRENT_SITE', '/');
    define('SITE_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1);
    define('BLOG_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1);

    But it automatically threw this error on visiting the wp-admin link(https://stage.comedydynamics.com/wp-admin/index.php):

    I am willing to try that on the comedydynamics.com site to see if it works. But I would like to make sure I don't bring the site down.

    Also, since Siteground suggested I setup Multisite on a new WordPress install. Can I not make our staging site (stage.comedydynamics.com) a multisite, with the proper configuration, and then point the domains there?

    Thanks so much for your help!
    - Luke

  • Dimitris
    • Support Star

    Hello there Luke,
    hope you're doing well and I'm sorry for the huge delay on this.

    I guess the main request from our client is to feature a catalog from comedydynamics.com on the nacellecompany.com site. Almost like an iframe(a site within a site). Any suggestions on that?

    I guess the easiest way would be either to use an actual iframe of a custom page or just use the images of the other subsite by using the image URLs directly. Another workaround in case you need to display whole post types is a plugin like the following: https://wordpress.org/plugins/network-posts-extended/

    I started the instructions on your blogpost How to Build a WordPress Multisite Network by adding
    define(‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true);
    to the wp-config.php file.

    These steps aren't enough. That's the first step, then you need to get some snippets for wp-config.php and .htaccess files that you can find in WP admin (as mentioned in the above tutorial).

    But I tested multisite setup on my own hosting account & it was quite easy to set it up on a NEW WordPress install. Looking at my wp-config.php file I found this entry for Multisite:

    Not sure why you were trying this in the staging site... also, is this staging another WP installation made manually? Or is it the staging that's provided by SiteGround's cPanel? Please advise!

    Also, since Siteground suggested I setup Multisite on a new WordPress install. Can I not make our staging site (stage.comedydynamics.com) a multisite, with the proper configuration, and then point the domains there?

    Not sure how this staging is created, that's why I asked that above.
    In any case, apart from your valuable replies, some access details could also assist us, so please do provide these with us. As this is a public forum, you should send us your details through our safe contact form
    https://premium.wpmudev.org/contact/#i-have-a-different-question
    using this template:

    Subject: "Attn: Dimitris"

    - WordPress admin (login URL/username/password)
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    Keep in mind the subject line as ensures that it gets assigned to me.
    Thank you,
    Dimitris

  • Luke
    • WPMU DEV Initiate

    Hey Dimitris,

    Thanks for getting back! I'll try out the plugin you mentioned.

    I was able to get everything set up correctly on the Multisite. A couple of pointers on how I did it for any readers.

    • Used MangeWP Local Sync to pull the existing site to my local computer.
    • Deleted the original site on the hosting account
    • Re-installed WP through the hosting auto installer as a Multisite install
    • Moved the local copy of the site I downloaded up to the new multisite via MangeWP Local Sync
    • A little bit of cleanup & we are good to go!

    Thanks again for your support!
    - Luke

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