Starting out with Multisite migration (and Network url)

Hi,
Am interested to set up a Multisite network using current parent company url (and exisiting live website) name.
Can I install a fresh wp install and set up as a multisite network using this same domain name for the Network url, then afterwards manage migrating the current website into the multiuser network and managing the url to be the same (for the live site) within a network called the same name? I.e. domainnameA/domainnameA.com.au (and I assume by using the Domain Name plugin)? So that in doing so I can end up again with http://www.domainnameA.com.au as the current live site?
Thank you,
Rowan

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hello Rowan,

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

    I'm not sure if I understand that right so let me try to summarize and respond and in case I missed anything, let me know please :slight_smile:

    The current situation:

    - there's a single WP install
    - the site is named "domainA"
    - the site sits under the "domainA.com.au" URL

    The goal:

    - setup a Multisite WP
    - name it "domainA"
    - make the main URL of it to be "domainA.com.au"
    - move the current site to the network to be the main site of the network (available under "domainA.com.au" domain)

    Is that correct?

    This is possible. This can be achieved by switching single install to a Multisite and wouldn't even require creating any separate install and/or moving any content.

    The first and absolutely "a must" step is to take a full backup of the current site. This is extremely important and I can't stress that out enough. Even though the process is relatively simple, there's always a chance that something goes wrong and the site breaks so a full backup prior to everything else is necessary. This way you'll be able to restore the site to it's current state if necessary.

    The second step is to configure a "wild-card" for your "domainA.com.au" domain so new sub-sites could be created. The way to achieve it can be slightly different depending on the server/domain management panel that you are using but the principle is the same. Take a look here please:

    https://codex.wordpress.org/Configuring_Wildcard_Subdomains

    At this point it should work like this: the "domainA.com.au" should load your current site the way it did so far and any sub-domain (e.g. "test1.domainA.com.au", "someothertest.domainA.com.au" etc) should also load the same site. Don't worry if the site loads a bit "broken" (e.g. missing stylesheets etc) as long as it loads.

    After this all is taken care of you are ready to switch to a Multisite. To do this, you simply need to add following line to the "wp-config.php" file of your site:

    define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );

    This should be added above the "/* That's all, stop editing! */" line. Once it's there, refresh the site and login as administrator.

    A suggested step at this point would be to check whether all the plugins that are active can work with Multisite (that would however require checking their descriptions) and remove those that doesn't; then disable all other plugins and proceed.

    In the "Tools" menu a new item will appear: "Network Setup". You will want to visit it and proceed according to the instructions given then. Following them will let you fully enable and configure Multisite and as a result the "current" site would become the main site of your network.

    This article describes this process in details and would help you go through the process:
    https://codex.wordpress.org/Create_A_Network

    Please note: I assumed that the Multisite would be "sub-domain" and not "sub-folder" based so the sub-sites would have URLs like "subsite.domainA.com.au" and not the "domainA.com.au/subsite". This is also a preferred and suggested Multisite setup :slight_smile:

    An alternative route

    Setup a new Multisite on a separate domain (it can be e.g. temporary domain from your hosting provider) and fully configure it.

    Use backup plugin like our "Snapshot Pro" to create full backup of the current site, then import that backup to the main site of your new network. Once this is done:

    - change the settings of the "domainA.com.au" so the root folder of it would point to the folder where the "wp-config.php" file of your new Multisite is (assuming they both are on the same server)
    - change the domain name in "wp-config.php" file of your new Multisite to be the "domainA.com.au"
    - use this script to update all the domain references inside the database:

    https://interconnectit.com/products/search-and-replace-for-wordpress-databases/

    I think however that the first method would be simpler and more reliable in this case :slight_smile:

    I hope that helps!
    Best regards,
    Adam

  • Rowan

    Hi Adam,

    Thank you so much for your prompt and excellent reply - I understand all you suggest, and pick up my reply questions to you at this point below within your coaching:

    Please note: I assumed that the Multisite would be "sub-domain" and not "sub-folder" based so the sub-sites would have URLs like "subsite.domainA.com.au" and not the "domainA.com.au/subsite". This is also a preferred and suggested Multisite setup

    RS: I thought I would prefer a structure that reads more like the sub-folder option... i.e. domainA.com.au/subsite - and then work with (I assume) a Plug-In like the recommended Domain Mapping Plug-in, to 'elevate' the subdomain. But I think I can see and understand now (from the promo video for Domain Mapping :slight_smile: that in fact it is better to work with that Plug-in to lose the network name :slight_smile: (Which is consistent with your advice that this the preferred and suggested Multisite set up approach.)?

    So, I guess confirming what I write about the above Plug-In approach to losing the network name for ongoing subdomains is correct, and I will proceed down that path for "sub-domain".

    Thank you again and regards,
    Rowan

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hello Rowan!

    The sub-domain setup is usually more "unversal" and "flexible" and in case of "conversion" from single- to multisite, it lets you avoid potential conflicts of slugs/URLs (with pages/blog posts that already exist on your current single site).

    The Domain Mapping plugin would also work best with sub-domain based setup and will let you map top-level domains to the sub-sites of your new Multisite.

    Therefore, after the switch you'll end up with your current single site being the main site of your Multisite and you'll be able to setup sub-sites on sub-domains (e.g. "subsite.domainA.com.au"). You will then also be able to make "subsite.domainA.com.au" available under it's own domain with the Domain Mapping plugin :slight_smile:

    Best regards,
    Adam

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