Support » Networking WordPress » Converting a static HTML site with subdomains to WP multisite

  • I am working with a colleague to update his old, static, commercial HTML site. He started it in 1999, and has worked on it steadily, so it currently has hundreds of pages. These are divided between a root domain (which has the most content) and 11 subdomains.

    I’ve enabled multisite (subfolders) on my development site before, and am comfy with the process and network admin panel. I’ve also worked out the process of transferring the HTML content and preserving (in most cases) the URLs. Also got a handle on the theme and most of the other details… except one.

    As the title states, it’s the replacement process that’s problematic. He’s not changing hosts or domains, so we’ll be replacing a live site in-situ, with an eye toward minimizing any downtime. I’ve seen the process explained well for static-to-WP upgrades on a single domain/site; but I haven’t seen a good explanation for static “multisite” to WP-multisite.

    Would it be best to treat this as if this was a single domain/site transfer, by transferring the root domain, then enabling multisite and adding/transferring the subdomains, one at a time? Three of the smaller subdomains are already on (older versions) of WP, so I expect we’ll have to do this anyway, at least in part.

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    🏳️‍🌈 Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep


    There isn’t really a good one. Multisite needs to run in root of your install to be able to handle subdomains, so … At a stretch you could either build it all locally and move, or do it site by site.

    If you do site by site, I would do this:

    1) Install WP in a subfolder.
    2) Put the main site (everything in root, none of the subdomains) into WP and configure it.
    3) When it’s 100% good, replace the main site with your subfolder, and move the install of WP into root.

    Now we’ll turn on multisite and begin stage two!

    1) Turn on wildcard subdomains. Don’t worry, your named one will continue to work
    2) Turn on Multisite
    3) For each subdomain, make a similar named site on WP. So if you have a subdomain named jumbo, make a site named jumb2 – this length matters for later.
    4) Duplicate the subdomain and make sure it’s right.
    5) Then delete the subdomain jumbo.
    6) Rename jumb2 to jumbo (the length mattered, trust me)
    7) Repeat for all subdomains

    (Stage three is getting drunk, or a tan, or … something along those lines)

    LOL – no, I knew it was going to be ugly, it was just a matter of how ugly. But with site-by-site, “ugly” just equates to “time-consuming” – I can deal with that. It feels like a safer, saner approach than building it all locally and then trying to move it.

    But thanks Mika: I appreciate the guidance. In particular, getting drunk looks like sound advice for “Stage 3.”

    Totally OT, but I recently bought your two Kindle books on Multisite. Good stuff.

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    🏳️‍🌈 Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep

    Hey, thanks 😀

    The other option is install it all locally, with a ‘similar’ domain (like I use ipstenu.loc) and then upload it all when you’re done. That works best if you aren’t changing the current site, which is hard to predict.

    I do have XAMPP installed on another machine, but haven’t used it for this (so far), since my colleague and I are separated by 2000 miles or so (he’s in Ontario, while I’m in SE WA state). Most of the work so far has been with rethinking site navigation, theme development, testing plugins etc., so his input has been vital. But it’s a thought… once we get all the visual and structural details nailed down, I could take it off the dev site, and do much of the “dirty work” of transferring and reviewing the site content behind the scenes.

    Once again, many thanks for your insight.

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • The topic ‘Converting a static HTML site with subdomains to WP multisite’ is closed to new replies.