The multisite network feature is a powerful, hidden functionality inside every WordPress system. A multisite allows you to setup separate WP websites inside one WordPress installation. It also can be used for WP Multisite translations.

WP Network Examples

A Multisite can be used for multiple customer websites or a multilingual setup. Below are two examples of this use cases.

  • Name: My Agency Network
    • Customer Website 1
    • Customer Website 2
    • Customer Website 3
  • Name: My Multilingual Multisite
    • German Site
    • English Site
    • Spanish Site

Benefits of a Multisite

There are many reasons why you can or should use a multisite instead of a single WP site. Here are some benefits of using a multisite instead of other translation plugins:

  1. All sites share the same Themes & Plugins
    Extensions & Designs can be activated per site or globally. You can share new functionalities inside your network directly.
  2. Sites can still be independent 
    You can setup a custom navigation menu for your German site for example. Or use custom payment provider for your WooCommerce shop only in your Spanish Site.
  3. Central Maintenance & Backend
    You only have to update extensions & themes once. Furthermore the network admin can access all sites with a single click. Users can only have access to specific subsites.
  4. Performance
    Instead of saving all translations or post data inside ONE posts and postmeta table, in a multisite every site has it’s own tables. German Shop orders will not affect Spanish site for example. 

How to Setup a Multisite

Setting up a multisite is fairly simple. You need a single, running WP site before. That can be an existing or a complete new site. Then follow these simple steps:

Backup & Disable Plugins

Make sure all files & databases are backed up before creating a multisite.

Allow Multisite & Create Network

Add the following line into your wp-config.php file before “/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */ “

define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );

After that refresh your site, go to your backend > Tools > Network setup. Click on Install.

create a wordpress multisite network

After that you will get some config & .htaccess adjustments you need to do. By default WP always wants to create a subdomain installation. For multilingual purpose we do recommend the Subdirectory installation. First you do not need new SSL certificates for each domain + you can have your setup like domain.com/en/ and domain.com/es/.

WP Multisite Subdirectory Config

Replace the previous added allow_multisite config with the code below. Set subdomain install to true if you want to use custom domains per language or for agency <> clients setup.

define( 'MULTISITE', true );
define( 'SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', false );
define( 'DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', 'www.yourdomain.com' );
define( 'PATH_CURRENT_SITE', '/' );
define( 'SITE_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1 );
define( 'BLOG_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1 );

htaccess adjustments

Next replace the default WP .htaccess lines with these ones:

# BEGIN WordPress
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]

# add a trailing slash to /wp-admin
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?wp-admin$ $1wp-admin/ [R=301,L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^ - [L]
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $2 [L]
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(.*.php)$ $2 [L]
RewriteRule . index.php [L]
# END WordPress

That is it. 

View your Multisite

When everything is installed correctly you will now see in your WordPress site a new tab on top right called “My Sites“. From here you can see all sites and configure your network. 

When using your multilingual multisite plugin you are also able to copy an existing site to a new one.

wp network admin screen

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