Support » Networking WordPress » Multisite installation best practice help – having a number of domains to manage

  • I manage a dozen websites for my clients and I run separate installations for them. Now, that I have upgraded to 3.0+ on all my client sites, I have decided to give multisite a try. I had earlier tried to set it up on my main site but the permalinks were messed up and I aborted the missing.

    My main site generates a decent traffic and I don’t risk messing it up or hosing it. So, I am now planning to setup a fresh multisite installation at and then have each of the client sites at etc mapped to their domain. Is that possible? What is the best practice? The sites are not related to each other and so user roles have to be at the site level and one admin shouldn’t be able to access another site. Would you recommend a separate multisite installation of properties I own and properties I manage?

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  • I’ll be watching this topic, because I want an answer for this as well… There are a ton of similar questions, all unresolved and most closed to new discussion.

    As far as I know, if you need the users to remain at site level, then multisite is not for you.

    From what I have observed with my own sites, when a user registers on a sub blog, they are automatically redirected to the root site to complete user registration and then registered across all sites. This is default and unless you go and edit the WP-signup.php, that’s just the way it’s going to be.

    The domain mapping is not a problem and very easy to do, it’s Via a plug in, i think it’s just called domain mapping or something similar. I have several domain names, the root site is NOT my main site but just a place holder. Then all the other domains feed from the one install. You just map the new domain name to the root site sub directory.

    From what you’ve said, I wouldn’t mess with your main site, and I would create a new multisite install for your clients, however, if you do this, then user control is at the root site level and not (as far as I can make out) at site level.

    Good luck, and I hope someone can give us some more guidance on this subject

    Edit: I will add, although the users are added to all the sites as subscribers, they won’t have any other privileges on those other sites. They won’t be able to create new posts etc or edit anything. Now that I think about it, I don’t know if they’re even made aware of the other sites. Time to setup a test user and experiment again, it’s been a long time since I played with this side of it.

    This is the plugin for the domain mapping:

    Requires manual setup, but works flawlessly and as described.

    Thanks Madivad for your reply. I saw the domain mapping plugin, but will multisite work if the multisite is done in a subdomain rather than at the root level? In the Codex page instructions for the Multisite setup it was little bit confusing regarding that point.

    My issue is that the clients could be competitors since they are from the same industry and we don’t want to do anything to let data from one client be seen by another’s user. So, users cannot even be added as subscribers in another’s site.

    My main motivation to move to multisite is help scale my development business – where I can manage all the installation from a single point, take care of upgrades, backups, theme folders, check if vulnerabilities are patched (like the timthumb one) etc. If Multisite is not a solution for that what are the other options?

    Do you have another domain name you could use instead of a sub domain? ie you want to keep it visually separate from your main site, it would add to that. I’m not 100% on if multisite would work from an install in a subdomain. I really don’t see any problem, as the installs are in two physical locations on the server, and it just comes down to your mapping with your hosting company. You will just point the subdomain to the folder of the subdomain. You can’t hose your main site by testing this (as long as you don’t install over the top or in the current directory that your domain name is mapped to).

    However, from your second paragraph, I can only say multisite is not for you, or at least, not for the setup style you’re after.

    I have just run through a series of tests and found that when a user registers, they are not assigned to any site and although they go thru the motions, a (super) admin must go and assign the users to each domain. There is a plugin that can make setting “default” but that’s certainly not what you or I want here.

    I do remember under the old wordpress model, you had a choice to have users login via the main root site, or the site they are visiting. I’ve been trying to find that setting, but it seems that maybe they can only register at root level. I wouldn’t mind knowing what the best practice is here, because if you have a successful site, it would be a pain to have to go and manually add users to sites. The test users I just created indicate in no way which site they came from…

    Hopefully someone can help me out on this final point, because that’s inconvenient. I would like a user, who registers, recaptchas, activates and then logs in, to have access to the site they registered for, and not all, or a subset of sites. Might be time to break open wp-signup.php

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    🏳️‍🌈 Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep

    So, I am now planning to setup a fresh multisite installation at and then have each of the client sites at etc mapped to their domain.

    Should be, yes 🙂 I’m 90% sure someone else did that and it worked fine.

    The problem I see is that if you’ve GOT a site in, you can’t map back to it.

    But. If is already WordPress, just turn that ON as MultiSite and start from there.

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