Must multisite installs be in the root directory?

I was once told that multisite installs had to be in the root directory of your hosting service in order to offer custom domains to clients. Is that true? I am used to normal wp installs, but now want to do my first multisite and want to use a directory as I normally do if possible. Please advise. Thanks.

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hey Robert,

    I hope you're well today and thank you for your question!

    It's suggested to install Multisite in a root folder so your man site would be accessible via domain name directly (without sub-folders). However, there are two types of WP Multisite installs:

    A) sub-domain
    B) sub-folder

    #A) In this case subsites would be available via sub-domains of your domain (e.g. and although using some trick it could (though difficult) be possible to install in sub-directory, it's "a must" to install in root folder to be able to let users add their own domains to their sites.

    #B) In this case sub-sites would be available via sub-folders (e.g. and you can install your main WP in a subdirectory as well. Actually, one of my test sites is running "3 levels down" ( and it's running fine. With our Domain Mapping plugin you should be able to offer users their own domains in this case as well.

    To summarize it: the man decision factor here is whether you'd like sub-sites to be initially available via sub-domain or not.

    I hope that helps!

    Best regards,

  • Patricia BT

    If I may add a detail because I experimented quite a lot over the years about this :slight_smile: I even remember some years ago i posted about this, I was all confused and asked almost the same question

    so if you plan to let your clients map a A name with their registrar and points their domain by themselves AND you do not want to do any work on your side (=automate the whole process, only steps have to be done by the customer) then it's necessary to have it installed in the root and even to have a dedicated IP for that...

    now, and this is my case, if you enter the domain name in cPanel (or another panel that your host runs, or in vhost if you have root acess), then you can make it point to any path of the server, so it can be in a subfolder if you wish. and then your customer (at their registrar) can enter either only the A name (the name and the www name, but not the mail for example) as for the 1st option above, or the whole name, entering your namservers (for example if you also offer mail service)

    in both cases it doesn't matter if you chose subdomain or subfolder multisite, anyway the name must point to where your WP is. If you choose subdomain, you must create a wildcard (*) subdomain in your cPanel (or other panel)

    I hope it helps you and that I explained clearly enough.

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