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- Optimizing the hosting environment for Multisite
- Enabling the Network feature
- Troubleshooting network configurations
- Creating your first site
- Installing and enabling themes on a per-site basis
- Defining a default theme sitewide
- Controlling access to sites
- Enabling features for site administrators
- Displaying a list of networked sites
- Broadcasting news across all sites
- Gathering and using comments network-wide
- Mapping domains and mapping to certain sites
- Installing and configuring BackupBuddy
- Migrating a stand-alone site into a network
Skill Level Advanced
Now that we have the Multisite feature enabled inside of our WordPress Installation, it's time to go through and actually complete the installation. Simply enabling the feature doesn't actually turn anything on, so in order to do that we need to go back into our cPanel and do some leg work. So I'm going to jump back over to my cPanel, and the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to come down to the Domains section. Once I find the Domains section, I'm going to click on Subdomains. This is where I can enable the subdomains for my web site. Now, it should be noted that your hosting platform has to support something called Wildcard DNS.
If your host does not support Wildcard DNS, it will be impossible for you to do a subdomain install of WordPress Multisite. If you are unsure if your host supports this or not, my suggestion would be to read through the support documentation or contact them directly to make sure that they do. In order to enable Wildcard subdomains on your domain that you choose to use for WordPress Multisite, simply find the domain in the list of domains here in the right, and then in the Subdomain portion simply enter in an asterisk. Once you have that asterisk done, simply click the Create button.
Once you have done that, you'll notice that it tells me the subdomain *.my domain.com has been created. Once I've done that, I'm going to go back. I then need to go and create a new folder inside of my wp-content folder. So I'm going to do this by going Home and then scrolling down to something called the File Manager. You could do this inside of your web FTP program or also inside of your code editing application if you chose to. Since I'm already in the cPanel, it just makes sense for me to stay here. I'll go to File Manager. In this case it's going to ask me what domain I want to use.
I'll pick the domain where I'm installing Multisite, and then I'm just going to hit Go. It's going to open up with the File Manager and I can navigate to my wp-content folder. Inside of wp-content you have to add a folder called blogs.dir. This is a directory that you are creating where your blog sites will actually be delivered from. You are not actually creating content in this folder necessarily, but all of your sites will be served up dynamically through your database via this folder.
So let's go ahead and create that now. I'll go up and choose New Folder, and it's going to ask me what I want to call it. I'm just going to call it blogs.dir, and then I'll click Create New Folder. In some cases, it may give you an error like I'm getting here, but that's no big deal. This is just a simple AJAX error that occurs sometimes. Go ahead and hit OK. You will notice that it creates the blogs.dir folder without any problem. Okay, so now I've got my subdomains and my blogs.dir directory created. I'm ready to go.
So I'll go back to the WordPress Dashboard. Once I get inside the WordPress Dashboard, I can go over here to tools and choose Network Setup. Inside of the Network Setup I'll be able to choose sub-domain versus sub-directory. In this case, it's telling me that I can only use sub-domains and that's because my install is not what they call New; in this case it means the installation is older than 30 days. If your installation is newer than 30 days you will be able to pick between sub-domain and sub-directory. Unfortunately, if it's older than 30 days you are stuck with sub-domains.
It will actually tell you that your install is not new and that your WordPress site network must use sub-domains. You also have to choose the Network Title. In this case I'm just using mydomain.com and the word Sites. You also need to input an email address for the admin. Once you've got this information entered, all you have to do is click the Install button. Once you click the Install button, you are going to notice that WordPress comes up with several lines of code. You don't even have to know what these mean. All you have to do is copy and paste these into the proper locations.
The best part is WordPress walks you through exactly what you need to do here. WordPress tells you that you need to create a blogs.dir directory inside of this particular folder, the wp-content folder. And it tells you this directory is used to store uploaded media for your additional sites and it must be writeable by the web server. It should be noted here that the permissions on this particular directory should be 755. Also, it tells you you need access to your wp-config and your .htaccess files. You can access those by connecting to your host via remote FTP and opening them up inside of a code editing application.
Let's go do that now. I'll jump over into my Code Editor, and as you can see, I've already got wp-config.php open and .htaccess open as well. If you are unable to see the .htaccess file, you simply need to enable Show Invisible Files inside of whatever code editing application you might be using. Once you have both of these files open, you are ready to cut and paste. So go back to your WordPress Installation, and you will notice here that it tells me to add the following to my wp- config file and it also gives me exactly what line to put it on.
It tells me put it above the line that reads, That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. So I'll go ahead and select this code. I'll copy it to my clipboard, jump back into my code editing application, and right above that line that says, That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging, I'll hit Return to add some space and then simply paste in the code. Then I'll save and re-upload that file and I'll go back over into WordPress. Inside of WordPress, I'll scroll down so I can see this, and I need to select this code as well.
It tells me to add the following code to my .htaccess file and it also tells me to replace any other WordPress rules that might be in there already. Now if I go back into my .htaccess file you will notice that I don't have any WordPress rules inside of there yet. So I'm just going to go down and I'm going to create an area for my WordPress files. Once I've created some space at the bottom of my .htaccess file, I'm ready to input some text for my WordPress rules. You may already see some code in here that looks something like this, # Begin WordPress, and then something in between, and at the end, # End WordPress.
Anything you see inside of this area here you need to replace with the rules that are inside of the WordPress Dashboard. So again, copy this code inside of this window and then inside of your .htaccess file simply paste that information right in between those two tags. Once you've pasted it, save it and then navigate back to your Dashboard. In your Dashboard you should see a link at the bottom that says once you've completed these steps, your network is enabled and theoretically configured. You will need to log in again. So you click the Log In link and it takes you here.
Once you're at this screen, simply click Log In using your admin username and password, and it should take you right back into the WordPress Dashboard. If you want to make sure that everything has been installed and configured correctly, you need to make sure that you see something in your Admin bar that says My Sites. Once you hover over My Sites, you should be able to see Network Admin and links to things like your Network Admin Dashboard, Sites, Users, and also Visit Network. If you see all these, that means your network is up and running and you are ready to go.