Everything you wanted to know about creating a network of multiple sites in 3.0

Everything you wanted to know about creating a network of multiple sites in 3.0

While the basic of Creating a network are in the codex, there are a few extras that it's hard to know exactly where to put them. Before you embark on this new feature to enable multisite, I figured I'd have a one-stop resource page for all the fiddly little bits you need to know.

And after I've been working with WordPress MU for so long (3 years? Already?) I can assure you that it had WAY more fiddly bits and the devs have distilled this down to as little fuss as possible.

What you need to know before you begin

I've been reading many questions and blog posts about the "new" multisite feature and wondering how it compares or not to WPMU. The functionality is basically exactly the same. There were no new features added.

If you are currently using WordPressMU and have multiple blogs/sites, you do not need to do this. You are already running a network and have multisite enabled.

Using multisite, especially if you are letting other users sign up, involves sometimes substantially more knowledge about servers that just being a customer on a shared host. If you have difficulty installing WordPress via something like Fantastico and have never done it manually, then running a network is probably not for you.

If you're new, there's a few things you need to be aware of.

  1. The sites are virtual. They don't exist on the server, just in the database.
  2. The sites are siloed content. While you do have one username and password across the site, you still need to go to each one to do things like post.
  3. Your webhost has to support it. By support, I don't mean answer specific questions about functions, I mean support from a technical perspective. The subdomain sites are driven by the use of wildcard subdomains. For subfolders, mod_rewrite. The mod_rewrite function is also used to serve uploaded files in either format. in other words, Windows servers are a little more trouble.

Getting the Network menu item to show

This menu is hidden by default. If you followed along the development cycle, you may have noticed it was easily visible. The decision was made to effectively hide it so users would have to seek it out and be armed with knowledge (hopefully) before they clicked any buttons willy-nilly.

Find the wp-config.php file in the root of your site, make a backup first, then open it up and add this line.

define('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);

Please paste this somewhere in the middle. I like to stick it after the salts, but that's just me. It absolutely cannot go at the beginning or the end. If you look closely, there are a couple of comments within the config file telling you not to edit above or below those lines. So don't. 🙂

Save the file. Make sure it gets saved, too, as sometimes you may have a setup where the owner of the file is not you, but Apache. Get your webhost to change the owner so you can edit it, then when we're all done, change it back for security.

Installing the network part 1

Now when you login, you'll notice a new menu under Tools -> Network. Most of the options are pre-filled for you, based on your main install. This will now be the main site in your network.

You may or may not be given the choice between subdomains or subfolders. This depends on a few things.

  • - subfolders are disabled if your install is more than a month old. Why? Because the subfolder setup stuffs a /blog/ in the permalinks off the main site to prevent collisions between page names and site names. In an exisiting setting, changing your permalinks on you would not be good. This will be dealt with in a future version.
  • - If you are using an IP address or just localhost, you'll only have the option of subfolders. Same as if you entire install runs out of a folder. (Like mydomain.com/wp/)
  • - No choice: If your site URL is different than your home URL, meaning your WP install is in a folder and the index.php is a level above, then you can't enable the network. No really, you can't. There's no .htacess tricks you can do. This setup really interferes with the individual sites lookup. Domain mapping won't fix it either. People have been trying to wrangle it for 3 or 4 years now, and it's just not possible.

I have seen some unexpected options show up depending on what part of the setup is detected first, so your mileage may vary.

If your installation is in the root of your website, that is the best place for it. You'll have the choice of either as long as your webhost supports it.

Once you've clicked the button it's on to...

Installing the Network part 2

Wow, wall of text.

There's two textboxes here. The first one deals with more defines for your wp-config.php file. Copy them , and paste them right in your wp-config.php file you edited earlier. I like to put these lines right after the define multisite line we did earlier. This is just to keep them all together.

The next textbox has htaccess rules. The .htaccess file is a hidden file in the root of your site. Make sure whatever you're using to look at the file system has "show hidden file" enabled. After making a backed up this file, replace whatever you have in the htaccess file with the new rules. These control how the blogs and extra files are served.

You also need to create a new folder under wp-content called blogs.dir. This folder is where site uploads will be stored. Just media uploads, not posts. 🙂 They are held in folders with the blog/siteID number in front of them, and then rewritten via the htaccess file to hide that part to the viewer.

Once you've saved both file on the server, log out of the WordPress admin area.

When you log back in, you'll see a new menu box called Super Admin. This area is for global management of your new network of sites. You may now add new sites at will. They show up instantly.

Help! I picked the wrong format!

In case you picked subfolders or subdomains, found out it wasn't working for some reason or realized it was the wrong choice, you CAN change this without reinstalling. It's a little tricky and comes with caveats.

Caveat #1 - you have to sacrifice any sites you already made
Caveat #2 - if you're forcing the subfolder install, it WILL stuff the /blog/ permalink in there and you'll need a plugin to remove. And I haven't tested this.

Open up your wp-config.php file and find this line:

define( 'SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', true ); 

It will be either true or false. True means you're using subdomains, false means subfolders. Change it to the one you want. Keep the previous caveats in mind.

Don't forget to subscribe to my feed so I can show you how to use it. 😉

There's still plenty of good and relevant posts here in the archives, like these ones I've hand-picked for new users:
enabling wildcard subdomains
Enabling a theme for just one site
domain mapping

Plugins that have instructions to go in the mu-plugins folder are still relevant. Just create the folder under /wp-content/ and use away! 🙂

You can also get this tutorials expanded with screenshots in a free ebook here: Enable Multisite ebook.

  • paul
    Posted at 11:18h, 21 June Reply


    does this article apply to existing sites being converted to multisite?
    Because I enabled multisite, but can’t see the superuser menu

    • andrea
      Posted at 11:26h, 21 June Reply

      Yes, it applies to existing sites. As long as you’ve upgraded to 3.0, and you meet the criteria outlined above.

      If you can’t see the menu, make sure you did ALL the steps, including logging out and back in again. Also, does your username have an uppercase letter in it?

      If you’ve done everything and triple-checked it, go look in the database for the wp_sitemeta table. there will be a field there called “site admins” – make sure it has your username in it.

    • Rae
      Posted at 14:16h, 21 June Reply

      I am not Andrea, but I had this problem initially and I was able to fix it by deactivating a hide dashboard plugin. It was blocking the Superadmin Menu from me, the admin.

  • Jim Doran
    Posted at 11:47h, 21 June Reply

    Thanks Andrea!

  • Leonard
    Posted at 15:31h, 22 June Reply

    Thanks for the post. Though, I’m still a little confused. If I am to create a social network (the likes of Facebook), I would enable multi-site and install the Buddypress plugin, and choose the subfolder option. Correct?

    I don’t want a network of sites, just a social network with multi-users.

    Thanks again.

    • Ron
      Posted at 15:38h, 22 June Reply

      BuddyPress works with a single WP install. You don’t need to enable the network to use it.

  • Mach
    Posted at 17:19h, 22 June Reply


    Well, I have IIS 7 and Plesk. Can I create site on subdomains?

    I can setup wildcard dns entry but do not have apache.

    please suggest.

    • Ron
      Posted at 19:48h, 22 June Reply

      Sorry, can’t help you with that one. We’re not familiar with setting up WP on IIS.

  • Extra! Extra! Fresh WordPress 3.0 Tutorials | Template Monster Blog
    Posted at 04:45h, 23 June Reply

    […] Creating a network of multiple sites in WordPress 3.0 […]

  • WordPress 3.0 Domain Mapping 0.5.2
    Posted at 05:59h, 23 June Reply

    […] Andrea who were a huge help developing and testing this release. Andrea has written a great post on creating a network in WordPress 3.0 plus instructions on upgrading from WordPress MU. Great stuff! You might also likeWordPress MU […]

  • Peter
    Posted at 07:15h, 23 June Reply

    Hello Andrea
    I was not able figure out the vhost entry settings on my server to allow a * Server Allias – so I could not establish a multible site with subdomains 🙁

    Anyway, I changed to ”
    define( ‘SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL’, false );
    and now the multisite is working fine with subfolders.

    Just as you said, i got a /blog/ permalink stuffed in.
    How can I change the “/blog” into something more relevant for my page.
    You mentioned a plugin. Any recomandations ?

    Regards from Germany

    • andrea
      Posted at 08:40h, 23 June Reply

      You can’t currently change the /blog/ without hacking. You can only leave it or remove it.

    • Peter
      Posted at 13:04h, 23 June Reply

      Oh – found the solution !
      You can change the permalink options in Super Admin – Sites – Edit- Permalink Structure.
      That all.

  • Alberto
    Posted at 08:45h, 23 June Reply

    We are interested in wordpress3.0 multisite.

    You mention “…have one username and password across the site…” but how can someone apply restriction. Some members want to have a private club and some want club open to everyone.

    Can postname (http://www.example.com/this-is-an-example.html) be use for permalink?

    I see you have notify followup comment. Is that part of multisite? Where can I find that feature?

    Thank you for your article and your time.

  • Fabian
    Posted at 05:40h, 24 June Reply

    Hi.. thanks for your help…

    I tried to do what you wrote (actually in a differnet order, because i found your post too late!!) –
    1. i create the blog.dir in notepad ++ – change the name after
    2. i had no .htaccess (web hoistuing told me) – i created so also..
    After i changed the format (with your potin Help! I picked the wrong format!) – i see a difference – a “in construction site” from my web hosting.. but i cannot see anyway the blog… what else could be wrong???

    i see the administration netwrok, everything, even i installed the domain mapping plugin (not complet at this time) . what else couldbe??

    and tell where can i donate also!!

    • andrea
      Posted at 08:08h, 24 June Reply

      Sounds like you picked subdomains, yes?

      You need to add a wildcard subdomain record to Apache and also to your DNS records.

  • Christopher J
    Posted at 17:06h, 27 June Reply

    It seems Andrea is the only expert in this area. My needs are simple, and my budget is cheap. Using free byet.org hosting but love ’em. (hope to upgrade)

    Allowed 50 domains and 50 databases, Inodes were running low. Decided that one install WP per 10 sites worked in my mind. Should I invest time in WPMU, plugins like wp hive, multiblog (Strider), vmbkit …(?)

    What I want to accomplish is have several domains (domain1.com, domain2.com) run off the same instance of a wordpress install.

    Ignoring the database issue (I’ll get that) what do you recommend.

    There will be no other administrators, I am merely using WP as a CMS. They will not be blogs as such. No users, no subscribers, none of that. Just simple websites with absolutely no blog aspects to them whatsoever. (except for the plugins and themes to use:)

    So far all the above that I mentioned seemed to be a briar patch, but I am just wondering which will pay off getting skinned up to pursue? (I’d like to think that I missed one, so please advise if so)

    thanks, thanks times 32

    And it looks presently like WP 3.0 has features of the MU kind ? With free hosting can I make it work?

    • andrea
      Posted at 18:59h, 27 June Reply

      The absolute first thing you need to do is ask your host if they support the network feature in 3.0. they may only let you do a subfolder install, which is fine as you’ll be mapping the domains anyway with the domain mapping plugin.

      If on all these sites you’re using a lot of the same plugins & themes it will definitely save time in the long run.

      Also, WPMU is no longer a separate software – the features are now built into WP 3.0. 🙂

    • George Lerner
      Posted at 20:01h, 27 June Reply

      @ChristopherJ, I had to get two things going, on my inexpensive shared hosting: 1) Wildcard DNS, and 2) move my existing web site to an add-on domain, as I didn’t want to fiddle with WordPress 3 and my site both in public_html.

      The technical support people didn’t know anything about “WordPress 3” or “network features”, giving answers ranging from “WordPress is installed through Fantastico” [right, version 2.9x, not 3.0 MultiSite] to “No, can’t help you”. So don’t even mention WordPress, or Multi-Site, it just confuses them, and makes them figure out things they don’t need to waste time on. Just ask them to move your existing site to an add-on domain, and while they are working on that, try Wildcard DNS on your own; if that doesn’t work, ask them to set it up.

      Wildcard DNS was easy, in CPanel, Subdomains, put an asterisk for the subdomain name. Wait a few minutes for it to update my host’s DNS records. (The way I knew it worked was when I entered asdf.mydomain.com/test.html, it showed public_html/test.html instead of giving an error.)

      Moving my web site to an add-on domain was something they knew how to do. The only trick they had to work around was my “primary domain” had to be changed, so I gave them a new domain name to use for that (needed it anyway for WordPress administration). (Tip: From now on, I’m putting all my web sites as add-on domains, using public_html only for WordPress.)

      Full instructions for how I got it set up are at WordPress 3.0 Multi-Site Installation with Existing Web Sites.

  • Christopher J
    Posted at 21:44h, 28 June Reply

    “support the network feature in 3.0”
    does this simply mean the wildcard dns, i.e. put an asterisk in (*) where it says “add a new domain”? (doesn’t work for me)

    I’d have to ask support, but the forums at byet say no for free plan.

    can I use parking (aliasing)?


    Thanks, and thanks George.

    • andrea
      Posted at 07:27h, 29 June Reply

      “support the network feature in 3.0″
      does this simply mean the wildcard dns, i.e. put an asterisk in (*) where it says “add a new domain”? (doesn’t work for me)

      No, it means the host has to also add code to each account on the servers to a file you can’t get to. This is *in addition* to a wildcard SUBdomain records. (where it says add a new SUBdomain).

      If the forums at your host say it’s not supported, then it’s not supported.

      Pick the subfolder option instead, which doesn’t use the wildcards. But even then, like I said above, some hosts can disable it from working anyway. You really need to go ask them first.

      Since it’s a free host, I doubt they will.

      • Christopher J
        Posted at 00:28h, 30 June Reply

        OK, I think I got this to work just now! 5 days and I did it. I am going to go to the other server and repeat the process, hopefully tomorrow.

  • RogerV
    Posted at 02:24h, 29 June Reply

    This was all working 100% til just now, I upgraded to .5.2 – Now I get “The domain mapping plugin only works if the site is installed in /. This is a limitation of how virtual servers work and is very difficult to work around.” – any ideas?

    It was fine..the site seems to behave fine, it’s just the admin panel won’t work now for that one site.

  • RogerV
    Posted at 00:18h, 30 June Reply

    To the group / anyone that sees that same error I received: I found the problem: two MU plugins interfering. Under the “domain mapping” plugin, I found another panel ” domains”; once I removed the domains from there all worked just fine.

    Just trying to help! Thanks to andrea, and the community.

  • Alok Sharma
    Posted at 01:24h, 05 July Reply

    Hello Andrea,

    I wanted to know that is it possible to install WP multisites in sub-domain and then create sub-blogs or sites in the form of sub-domains assuming that I don’t need domain mapping feature.

    For e.g. I install WP multisite in blog.example.com and then want to create sub blogs like blog1.example.com, blog2.example.com and so on…



  • Alok Sharma
    Posted at 01:37h, 05 July Reply

    Hello Andrea,

    In continuation to my earlier comment, basically I need root folder to install some other script so I do have the option of installing WP multisite in some sub-folder so that I can create multiple blogs.

    If so, then the only difference is that when creating a * sub-domain with the path /public_html, I would specify /public_html/folder_name. Correct?



    • andrea
      Posted at 18:05h, 05 July Reply

      Correct, BUT the Apache directive for the wildcard woudl also need to be pointing to the same place. On shared hosts, they don’t let you do that.

  • Melton Cartes
    Posted at 17:24h, 05 July Reply


    Thanks for this page.

    I’ve done everything as described in terms of installing WP3.0, showing the Network and installing the Network, parts 1 and 2.

    When I create a new site as part of my network, for instance for San Francisco (http://www.farmersmarketscalendar.com/sanfrancisco) I get a 404 error.

    I’m assuming that WP3.0 (multip-sites) would automatically create any new sites and their relevant files and folders so that they would show up.

    What am I missing?

    Also, I created another site with the network enabled (in a temporary location, http://www.sanfranciscoweddingofficiant.com/ruthblock/) and just tested making a new site within that network and it works.

    I’ve done a completely clean install, wiping out the contents of the FarmersMarketsCalendar folder. But as I’ve described, it’s not cooperating.

    Also, when I did try installing, I kept getting a weird “password not recognized” even though I’ve done that before a million times, but then I took a break and the main installation recognized the password and I was in….



    • andrea
      Posted at 18:05h, 05 July Reply

      No files or folders will be created on the server – the blogs (sites) are *virtual*. Read up here:


      Now, since you’re in subfolder format, you do not need wildcards, so it’s not that. You DO need to make sure your .htaccess file is a) present (which if you set up the network it should be) and b) being read by the server. Which, given the sub-blogs don’t show means it’s not. tell your webhost support you have an htaccess file you made changes to and it’s not being read. They will kick their server and make it work. 😉

      • Melton Cartes
        Posted at 02:14h, 06 July Reply

        “No files or folders will be created on the server – the blogs (sites) are *virtual*. Read up here:”

        As soon as I wrote that I realized my mistake, but I was on a roll.

        Thanks for pointing me in the direction of the htaccess file. I did notice that it wasn’t showing up, but in a series of odd things it didn’t poke me in the eye until you pointed at it!

        Here’s what I did: I went to my other networked site that is working, accessed that htaccess file, Saved As and uploaded it to the troubled site.

        It didn’t work, but it did give me a different error. So, I edited the same htaccess file at the troubled site, this time copying and pasting the same code that was already there, but from the Network tool in my admin and saved that.

        It’s working now! PHew…

        Thanks a bunch!


  • j
    Posted at 07:35h, 08 July Reply

    Hi Andrea,

    Is there a service that helps install multi db plug-in in a newly installed wp3.0 for multisite/network use.

    I would like to find out a bit more on domain mapping with regards to multisite/network.

    If my main site is blog.com with subdomain activated, and I mapped a john.blog.com so it get redirected to john.com, Will john.com has the ability to have subdomains as well?

    Will john.blog.com which is now mapped on john.com be just using one databse if you have multidb installed? What if john.com becomes a bigger site and ended up having multiple subdomain blogs as the main site blog.com.

    Apologies if its ever so confusing.

    Many Thanks

    Many Thanks.

    • andrea
      Posted at 13:57h, 08 July Reply

      If you wanted your mapped blogs to have blogs under them, then you need a multiple *network* plugin. By default, they’d all be in the same db. If using multiple, they;d be spread out.

      But the second network would have a flag in the db, so separating them – if you have to – is possible.

      • j
        Posted at 07:18h, 10 July Reply

        Thank you very much indeed. I’ve not heard of this multi network plugin.

        Im wondering if it works with multi-db plugin? Thinking of wpmudevsubscription myself.

  • Norman Comfort
    Posted at 09:12h, 10 July Reply


    I have followed the install and everything seems fine. However, when a new site is created, and you try and visit either the pages or the dashboard they don’t exist. I have tried it on two blogs and the same thing happens.

    A very funny practical joke amongst programmers and wordpress – not so funny for people who just want to get on with their work and publish content!


    • Melton Cartes
      Posted at 17:17h, 10 July Reply

      Hi, Norma:

      Take a look at my reply above. You seem to be describing the same problem I had which was due to not having an .htaccess file in my folder.

      You could follow Andrea’s instructions or do what I did (see above).

    • leo
      Posted at 08:52h, 12 July Reply

      I am having exactly the same problem. The .htacceess file is there, so the problem is something else. I ve tried it on two different computers, local and on the net, and it is just not working. (I create a second site xxx/secondblog through the superadmin but when I visit xxx/secondblog I receive the message: The requested URL /xxx/secondblog was not found on this server.)
      I am using windows and apache httpd with php and mysql of course.
      It is just not working…

      • Dion de Ville
        Posted at 22:14h, 14 July Reply

        Replace the WordPress re-write rules in .htaccess with

        # BEGIN WordPress

        RewriteEngine On
        RewriteBase /
        RewriteRule ^index.php$ – [L]

        # uploaded files
        RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?files/(.+) wp-includes/ms-files.php?file=$2 [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

  • leo
    Posted at 10:17h, 12 July Reply

    ok I found the solution. It was the AllowOveride thingy… The problem is that I did not declare it for the folder htdocs. I had declared it for everything else. 🙁

  • Christopher J
    Posted at 11:06h, 13 July Reply

    Hi Andrea and everybody:

    I am really pleased to say that I have performed several wp 3.0 installs using the subfolder option. Now I was wondering if it is possible to try something else?

    My hosting allows me to create subdomains, like subname.mydomain.com and I only have so many mysql databases to go around , so …

    Can I use the subfolder install option with these subdomains that I create? I tried it a couple of times, but, so many variables.

    This would certainly be the icing on the cake as I could really maximize my free hosting to it’s full potential.

    Thank you very much.

  • debbie lawrence
    Posted at 09:12h, 19 July Reply

    Andrea, your articles are always so helpful and maybe I’m simply missing the boat, trying to wrap my head around the domain mapping thing..
    I’ve installed 3.0 multisite with no issues, at example.com installed new blog newblog.example.com and the domain mapping plugin with all the caveats.. now to map the domain

    The domain I wish to map is a live domain (exists already) there are 4 others that are live all wp3.0 that I wish to add as well.. do I need to make those parkeddomains or add on domains to the multisite domain..I’m doing circles chasing my tail on this one i know its got to be the easiest fix ever..just need some black and white direction as to what to do now… halp;-)

    • Ron
      Posted at 18:26h, 19 July Reply

      Yep, that’s what you do – If you have cPanel you park the additional domains onto your WordPress install. In Plesk it’s called a domain alias.

  • debbie lawrence
    Posted at 21:16h, 19 July Reply

    Ron, these are live sites…already in existence, that won’t cause them to go pfffffft???? can’t wrap my head around this…

  • revster
    Posted at 11:20h, 26 July Reply

    Hi. I am in the “Help I chose the wrong one” category. I genuinely wanted to use subdomains but found that Fasthosts don’t support wildcard subs. Doh.
    When you stated “Caveat #1 – you have to sacrifice any sites you already made” doeas this relate also to the main site set-up in the htdocs menu or only to sub-sites?

  • Liz
    Posted at 06:29h, 27 July Reply

    Hello Andrea,

    I have followed all the steps here and for the most part I seem to have gotten this 1/2 working.

    Here is what I had to do: I tried the install at the main domain name, but like one other person posted here my domains are all set as add- on domains to my main Main Domain for this hosting site.

    On that main Domain I have wordpress installed there.

    So I thought I would have been able to put another wordpress into my other ADD on domain and still be able to use the subdirectory method and NOT the subdomain method. However it would give me the option to pick a subdirectory to install the multi blogs into as it said my wordpress install was too old?? Which I found that as well to be odd because I had just installed that wordpress before altering out the config.php file.

    So I had no choice but to let it install as a subdomain name type set up, then I went back into the config and did the alter out code from true to false.

    So I then thought ok it looks like it worked, went on to create the 2nd blog Butt now new issues—- If you go here to this 2nd blog that I created at this URL:


    You can see that KNOW theme is pulling in for this 2nd blog nor even the 1st blog?

    So if you have run into this issue before can you please further advice as to what I am missing here and how to get this sorted?

    Also if you have another way then how I did it all above to make it allow me the choice to chose between subdomain or subdirectory install methods so I do Not break the permalinks issue by having to do the so called hack of turning the subdomain install feature from true to false I again sure would appreciate it.

    I have wanted to use wordpress for this purpose for years but could never get my head around the MU setup and now with this upgrade it seemed almost possible now to do.

    Thanks soo much to Andrea or to anyone else here that can help me shed some light on getting this all working soon


    • andrea
      Posted at 11:29h, 27 July Reply

      The second blog doesn’t show right becasue either the .htaccess file is not in the right folder, it doesn’t have the right commands in it, or the server is not reading it.

      When you set up the network, there was a step to put htaccess code in the file. Did you do that? It will be right next to where that install’s wp-config.php file is.

  • Liz
    Posted at 01:21h, 28 July Reply

    Hello Andrea,

    This is the code that I put in to the Ht Access file:

    # BEGIN WordPress

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteRule ^index.php$ – [L]

    # uploaded files
    RewriteRule ^files/(.+) wp-includes/ms-files.php?file=$1 [L]

    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
    RewriteRule ^ – [L]
    RewriteRule . index.php [L]

    # END WordPress

    I only have the wordpress installed under the add on domain name listed above. And the wordpress install is at the main domain name itself.

    I even went ahead and Re FTP’ed it over to see if it would update but it did not change anything?

    Can you please further help me as to what I might be missing here.

    This is installed on a ADD-On domain and as I said I had to do your hack there to change it from a sub-domain name over to a subdirectory but I have not done anything with the permalinks either could this be a a issue as well for this?

    Thanks alot Andrea and I will await your reply back I hope soon as to what else I can try


    • Ron
      Posted at 21:38h, 28 July Reply

      You need mod rewrite enabled on that addon domain. See my comment below,

  • Derrick
    Posted at 10:37h, 28 July Reply

    I have an established site that is not a blog. I want the ability to add a multiple blog section for different types of news/blog articles. I know I can’t use the multisite option if WP is installed in a subfolder. Can I install WP in a subdomain, then allow the new blogs to be a subdirectory (blog.my-site.com/blog1 and blog.my-site.com/blog2)?

    • Ron
      Posted at 21:37h, 28 July Reply

      Yes, you can install in a subdomain & have your sites/blogs as folders in the subdomain.

  • James
    Posted at 12:04h, 28 July Reply

    I’m having some trouble with SUBFOLDERS .

    I’ve created a new Multi Blog Site – and everything installed correctly, BUT….

    When I make a new “site” like:

    I get a 404. I can’t see the backend for that user, can’t view the blog…NOTHIN’

    What do I do? I followed all steps, and now it just does not work! Help please!

    – JC

    • Ron
      Posted at 21:36h, 28 July Reply

      You need to have mod rewrite (an apache module) set up on your webserver.

  • Liz
    Posted at 22:36h, 28 July Reply

    Hello Ron,

    Ok I have contacted my host and they have confirmed that I have both the mod rewrite (an apache module) set up on your webserver

    As well as active WILD CARD creation access.

    This is what they had given me back on this matter— I will put XXXXX where that is my main domain name set up so that hopefully you can further assist me with Why the above site here which is a created site still is giving me the same issues as what I first posted ok here goes what the hosting site gave me back:

    I can see that the ‘mod_rewrite’ feature is enabled in the server and I have also confirmed that the mod_rewrite is compiled into Apache. Please verify the below snippet for your reference.
    root@cs10 [/home/My Hosting Account Name not Actually my Main DOMAIN NAME/public_html/universalarticledirectory.com]# /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -l | grep rewrite
    root@cs10 [/home/My Hosting Account Name not Actually my Main DOMAIN NAME/public_html/universalarticledirectory.com]# /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -D DUMP_MODULES | grep rewrite
    rewrite_module (static)
    Syntax OK

    Next Reply They Gave Me On The WILDCARD DOMAIN SET UP PART:

    I can see that the wildcard entries are there for the domain “universalarticledirectory.com” in the apache configuration file. Please see the below snippet for your reference.
    root@cs10 [/home/XXXX-My CPANEL HOSTING LOGIN NAME/public_html]# cat /usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf | grep *.universalarticledirectory.com
    ServerName *.universalarticledirectory.com
    ServerAlias *.universalarticledirectory.com
    root@cs10 [/home/My CPANEL HOSTING LOGIN NAME/public_html]#

    So based now on what my Hosting provider here has given me back please can you Joe or Andrea or anyone with this steps that I would need further help me to get this solved.

    I Do not understand why I needed to do the hack then that Andrea layed out here to change to install or force the install to read from the sub-directory method instead of the subdomain method then???

    I have uninstalled the wordpress and reinstalled it several times now into the main ADD- ON Domain Name of: http://universalarticledirectory.com and the main blog showes, but then when you go to visit the Next created Blog as I have listed here above of:http://universalarticledirectory.com/healthyrecipes/

    you can see the error I am speaking of and something similar tht James is describing as well above,but the only difference here with my set up is that I installed the WORDPRESS on the Main ADD on domain then when it came time to pick my set up of subdomain names or subdirectory it says my Blog install is over a MONTH Old??? How can that be if I just installed it fresh??

    and then I do the rest of the steps and come to the end results that I have first posted here on this matter.

    I hope I have given enough info so that someone here can please please give me in simple to understand terms and steps what I am missing to get this done the right way?

    Also how do I set up this mod rewrite (
    an apache module)?? Is there somewhere in my Cpanel then that I need to be hunting to activate it for this ADD on DOMAIN NAME my end now that my Hosting Provider has confirmed that it is Active on there end???

    Or could it be that I have the paths issue wrong somewhere along the install and lines here??

    Sorry for so many questions in one go but hopefully someone here can further assist me I really want to give this set up a go as I have wanted to do this for ages and before it was only possible to do with B2eveolution but even they are complicated to set up– but I accomplished that steps easy enought, But I love wordpress and wish to use this platform instead.

    I will await a much needed reply back into this long post of mine soon I hope

    thanks all


  • Liz
    Posted at 22:46h, 28 July Reply

    To add onto the above post, I wanted to further mention that my Main Domain name has a wordpress install on it but it is not set up as the multi set up.

    Also I have several other ADD on DoMain Names and they also have the WordPress installed on there main Add on type Domain name here it is possible that they are conflicting??

    I would have thought not since these are All domain Names of there own — Not created subdomains— But they are ADD- ON Domain Names I wanted to further mention this

    Ok I will once again hopefully here back soon on this matter to proceed with this.

    Thanks all


  • Steve Fernino
    Posted at 20:56h, 29 July Reply

    On a related note…
    With using a multi-site setup (either for multiple websites on 1 install OR for subsections of a larger website) How do you determine which plugins to get activated only on the main site, to be network activated, or to be individual activated on multiple network sites?

    What I am referring to is not where other users are involved (I am the only admin) and not plugins that would be exclusive to one site for whatever niche reason… I mean more like security plugins, sitemap plugins, etc. Things that I would want working throughout the entire network for convenience.

    Am I safe to assume that security type plugins should be installed to the main site only, as the others are “virtual” in nature? I would then also assume something like akismet would have to be installed on multiple sites cause that is dealing with post comments, something that should be individual per network site?

    OR would the security plugins still need to protected each virtual site individually? or network activated?

    This has been pretty unclear to me.

    AND is there any time a Must Use plugin option comes in? Meaning something that doesn’t specifically say it needs to be dropped in MU-plugins, but would have better sitewide functionality, ie. not having to manage settings seperately on each and every network site?

    I hope I was clear enough in what I was asking. I am sure others can benefit from the confusion as well, as not to many plugins are documented about network-activated and MU-plugin use.

    Thank you very much in advance

    • andrea
      Posted at 14:18h, 31 July Reply

      I emailed separately to answer specifics, but generally speaking, read the plugin’s readme file. It will always say. It’s not the mu-plugins folder or the network activate button that does the magic – it’s the plugin itself.

      • Steve Fernino
        Posted at 10:53h, 09 August Reply

        Thanks for taking the time to respond Andrea. It is appreciated.

        I have noticed that some plugin developers haven’t been so quick to update the readme files to reflect how the plugins reacts to MS operation. The real good ones have.

        It would be useful if all plugin developers would directly address that in the future meaning, not only if it works in MS, but if it won’t work well in MS or needs special considerations or if it behaves any differently.

        I think it’s just a matter of those who considered MU in the past vs those that didn’t. Now that MS is a merged feature, I think more will have to address the differences between Single and MS activation with their plugins. Thanks Again!

  • revster
    Posted at 10:13h, 30 July Reply

    Hi Andrea.

    I am in the “Help I chose the wrong one” category. I genuinely wanted to use subdomains but found that Fasthosts don’t support wildcard subs. Doh.

    When you stated “Caveat #1 – you have to sacrifice any sites you already made” doeas this relate also to the main site set-up in the htdocs menu or only to sub-sites?


    • andrea
      Posted at 13:49h, 31 July Reply

      It only means the subsites. The main one is unchanged, other than it will have the /blog/ stuffed in the permalink.

  • Jordan
    Posted at 20:00h, 31 July Reply

    I don’t think I’m following. So this feature can’t be used to manage a network of sites on different domains? What do you mean it is just virtual?

  • Liz
    Posted at 02:36h, 01 August Reply

    Hello again,

    After going back and forth with my web hosting, I tried to install this on my add on domain name of see below:
    it worked as this is the URL for the first Blog: http://universalarticledirectory.com/wordpress/

    this is the URL for the 2nd blog:

    Trouble is when you now type in the Add On Domain Name itself

    you get only a index of page??

    So my next question is: how can I get this back to working in the main site of:

    and have the set up as subfolder directories and NOT subdomain names?

    so it would pull in like this:


    As I stated my host says that apache and the wildcards and the whole lot are all active on my hosting site?

    So please what step do I seem to be missing to get this installed onto the main site for all the blogs networks?

    Also if I was to rename that WORDPRESS Folder to another name would it break this install as well?

    Please forgive me for being such a pest but I really am stumped here again after still trying to get this to work still

    thanks Andrea, Ron or anyone else for that matter who can please provide me with the newbie steps I need once more.


  • Rob
    Posted at 11:37h, 01 September Reply

    I have successfully enabled multisite, installed MU Domain Mapping and added a second site mapped to a new domain. Everything is working fine, but I have a question about privacy:

    My original site is my business site and the new site is entirely personal, and supposed to be anonymous. However, when you watch the browser’s (firefox) path to the new site while it loads (in the address bar at the bottom), you can see it hit the original site address just before the plugin maps it to the new site domain. Occasionally when the servers are busy you can see “waiting for originalsite.com” before it gets mapped.

    Is there any way to keep visitors to the new site from ever seeing the address of the original site?

  • Norma
    Posted at 16:20h, 07 September Reply

    Weird question here!

    Enabled WP 3.0 multisite and installed my network using subfolders.

    Used the domain mapping plugin, domains are showing as mapped, and I can log into the backend of each separate blog as well as log into the main domain.

    Here’s where the weird starts:

    The main domain shows up fine when you click on “View”, showing the title of the site and the default twenty ten theme.

    However, the blogs installed as subfolders show up as
    “Index of/subfoldername”
    when “View” is selected.

    Underneath “Index of” shows “Parent Directory” which is hyperlinked back to the main domain.

    What can I do to make the subfolders show up correctly? It almost appears that WordPress only partially was installed on the subfolders if that makes any sense (which it probably doesn’t!)

    Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

    • andrea
      Posted at 17:03h, 07 September Reply

      You;ve got physical folders on the server that do not need to be there. the blogs are virtual, remember? 🙂 remove the folder.

      • Norma
        Posted at 17:08h, 07 September Reply

        Thank you so much! That fixed it instantly.

      • Ken
        Posted at 01:25h, 27 September Reply

        Thanks so much Andrea – that was the exact fix needed to my “Index of /” problem as well! Looking at different forums, you seem to be the #1 most prolific & helpful WordPress user on the net – it’s greatly appreciated

  • AJ
    Posted at 14:39h, 08 September Reply

    In wpmu, users can create their own blogs/sites (userblog.myexample.com) directly off the parent site (myexample.com)without direct admin/superadmin involvement (with activation of course). Is this still possible with multisite? have looked around and not finding a comparable option.


  • AJ
    Posted at 15:04h, 08 September Reply

    Never mind, the ‘register’ link off the login page takes them there – Thanks for all the tips.


    • andrea
      Posted at 15:24h, 08 September Reply

      For future reference, it is always yourdomain.com/wp-signup.php.

      Same as it was in mu.

  • Brittany
    Posted at 17:17h, 08 September Reply

    Is it possible to manage create/manage multiple blogs with WP multisite features while the blogs should look like being on their own domain?

    In other words can I manage domain1.tld, domain2.tld … domainn.tld from a single WP3.0 install?

    Will search engine see that actually all the domains are on the same server?

    Many thanks,

    • andrea
      Posted at 17:26h, 08 September Reply

      Yes, use the domain mapping plugin.

      The search engines won’t care they are on the same server. Just like they don’t care about any domain being on a shared server.

      this blog you’re reading is a mapped domain in a network.

      • Brittany
        Posted at 13:27h, 09 September Reply


        My concern is related to search engine optimization. If all the domains will look originate from the same IP or somekind of a redirect (even 301) search engine will not take into account the link juice when I will interlink the blogs.

        Since you mentioned that this domain name is mapped, I looked at the http header response and I saw that actually all of them are 200 OK and there is no 301 redirect involved, which seems ok. But I just want to confirm that with you. 🙂


        • Ron
          Posted at 20:15h, 09 September Reply

          If you do a lot of interlinking, you will be penalized for the interlinking whether or not the sites are on the same IP.

          Shared hosts have up to 600 shared accounts on the same IP and large blog hosts like wordpress.com, blogger, typepad, etc have millions of sites on a few IPs. The search engines will not penalize for a reasonable number of links between sites on the same IP.

  • RKS
    Posted at 09:32h, 28 September Reply

    Hi Andrea,

    You have been very helpful both in the wordpress place and your blog here. Now I am looking for help. I installed wp with multisite. First I used the directory root, as u mentioned it came up with the /blog/ in my links and permalinks. I wanted to change and saw your post on how to change the SUBDOMAIN TRUE in wp-config. After making the chnages I cannot create subdirectories through the superadmin. It creates the sites, but I cannot update or visit them. It says ” could’t resolve host….” My hosting provider is a nuisance and does not have a clue in helping me out. Need your help.


    • Ron
      Posted at 21:42h, 30 September Reply

      The /blog on the main site is part of a subdirectory install, but is not needed by WordPress in a subdomain install. If you want a subdirectory install, then you are going to have the /blog/ on the main site.

  • Anders Vinther
    Posted at 08:09h, 30 September Reply

    Hello Andrea and Ron.

    Great web site… lots of good content 🙂

    I am setting up a number of light weight web sites, and would love to use MU for ease of administration…

    However I cannot use wildcard DNS, so am forced to go with sub-folders… not a problem…

    However I was wondering if there is a way to map a domain to a sub-folder, so I could get http://www.mydomain.com pointing to http://www.mymuinstall.com/site1 transparantly… I know I can do a redirect, but I don’t want the user to see the http://www.mymuinstall.com/site1

    Thanks for the effort you put in to this site!

    • andrea
      Posted at 10:18h, 01 October Reply

      Did you see the posts about domain mapping? 🙂 Yes, it works with a subfolder setup.

  • chuck scott
    Posted at 01:34h, 30 October Reply

    Hi Andrea – very much appreciate the wealth of info and value you share on this site and in other forums (e.g., recently watched your WordPress Camp NYC video – bravo!) …

    the one thing i haven’t found is a good thread re:how to silo users on Multisite network and not just silo content …

    e.g., after recently getting a multisite network enable, i was a bit bummed to learn that since multisite shares the user tables, if a user is assigned a role of “subsciber” on one of the blogs, that same user has the same permissions on all the other blogs in that network …

    i tried using the MultiSite User Management Plugin -> http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/multisite-user-management/ … but that is limited and really only allows a user to be set to “no role” in a particular blog on network thus is not really an option …

    thanks in advance for any pointers, links to threads and/or ideas you can share on how best to go about silo-ing* user management on multisite blog network … cordially, chuck scott

    *not sure that is word but essentially idea is how best to have certain users allowed into certain sites (semi-private) while keeping out other users in the network …??..

  • Guides to New Wordpress 3.x
    Posted at 17:15h, 02 November Reply

    […] Creating a network of multiple sites in WordPress 3.0 […]

  • Marion
    Posted at 02:11h, 03 November Reply

    Hi Andrea,

    I’m new to your site but I’m already loving your tips and hacks. I’m just wondering if you can maybe address cross domain logins please? ie. user logs in to primary blog and gets redirected to their own subdomain site

    Also, how to disable from subdomain admins/users from seeing primary blog’s dashboard under My Sites and getting rid of that “Create a New Site” link..

    Thanks and sorry to asking too many requests…

  • traffer
    Posted at 11:15h, 03 February Reply

    Andrea or Ron,

    Am I going to have difficulties installing a second instance of WordPress MU outside of the root in a subfolder? I have bunch of sites running now on Worpress MU with your domain mapping tool all on their own domains. Works great and has saved countless hours. A few weeks ago during a WordPress update, we lost access to all the backends. Eventually we figured out the problem, but I’d like to split off a couple of domains to setup a test network for upgrades, new plugins, etc.

    Any potential problems?

    • Ron
      Posted at 18:40h, 04 February Reply

      You can have multiple installs as long as they are in different folders (which is what you are planning).

  • Nav
    Posted at 01:58h, 14 February Reply

    Hi Andrea,

    I installed wordpress 3.0 on one my websites and then install MU plugin and network is working fine. Now the issue is that the subdomains created gives error: Your server may not be able to connect to sites running on it. Error message: Couldn’t resolve host ”
    you can check khgroup.ca (the web with all the subdomains), pumphousepub.khgroup.ca is a subdomain.
    Please help!!!!


  • Christien
    Posted at 13:30h, 16 February Reply

    Hi Andrea,

    I have an MU site that hosts bands. I’d like for each blog/band to be able to have their own registration form so that their fans can subscribe to their blog/subdomain. It would appear that WPMU 3.0.5 can only have one registration form for the parent site or root domain.

    Please advise,

  • SamV
    Posted at 21:47h, 20 February Reply

    Just a note of caution:

    When we turn on Network setting for multisite, there will be actually 2 lines in the wp-config.php file:

    define( ‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true );
    define( ‘MULTISITE’, true );

    I ignored copying the 2nd line thinking it’s already there, then I ran into “Warning: An existing WordPress network was detected.”

    Once I added the 2nd line, it was all ok. When I visited Tools->Network option, it correctly shows, “Notice: The Network feature is already enabled. …”

    Some sites mix the 2 up and one even try to correct a poster suggesting MULTISITE should be corrected WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE as if they are one. Beware.

    • andrea
      Posted at 13:24h, 21 February Reply

      Yes, I’m well aware that the lines are different. The only thing WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE does is enable the network menu. That is all.

      the other line tells wordpress that multisite is on & active.

  • Rommy
    Posted at 12:33h, 25 March Reply

    Hi, Andrea ..
    I have questions related to wp network installation…

    I need to install WordPress-Network on my server root, and then create a new directory to run other CMS..
    (It’s okay to do the installation this way, Right?)
    In this case, should I choose sub-domain or sub-directory installation?

    Do all new sites which are created by the network share the same database name?
    (with different table-prefix maybe?)


    Many thanks for your time Andrea.
    I do really need suggestions from expert like you,
    to configure a ‘clean’ installation, in case someday I need to move or uninstall my sites.

  • mark
    Posted at 04:36h, 29 April Reply

    If you be kind enought to help. I installed wp in a subdirectory /mysite.com/blogs/ and try to get wp multisite to use subdomains in the format of


    I edited the wp-config.php with

    define( ‘MULTISITE’, true );
    define( ‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true );
    define( ‘SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL’, true );

    how the .htaccess file should look like for a smooth operation. I still get 404s for the subsites. thanks!

    • Ron
      Posted at 15:34h, 02 May Reply

      To use subdomains your install has to be in the root of the website.

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