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How to Manage Sites in a WordPress Multisite Network – Vebely

After installing WordPress Multisite Network, It is important to understand how to use the network and understand all functions.

There are two ways to control the network.

  1. From the Backend (As admin)
  2. From the Frontend (As user)

Adding a Site via the WordPress Admin

From the network admin dashboard, click on My Sites link in the left-hand menu. This will display a list of the sites in your network. When you first start, it’ll be empty.

To create a new site Click on Add New button to go to the Add New Site screen:

Fill in the details of the new site and click the Add Site button. When you go back to the Sites screen, your new site will be displayed.

  • Edit– to edit site settings
  • Dashboard– to visit the site dashboard.
  • Deactivate– to deactivate the site so no one can visit it.
  • Archive– make the site inaccessible to visitors and site admins but don’t delete it.
  • Spam– mark as spam, so that the user who created that site can’t create any more.
  • Delete– delete the site and all its data.
  • Visit– visit the front end of the site.

Click on Edit to see the site editing screens.

Here’s an example from an existing site on the network:

Change the main settings for the site, such as its domain name and title. Access the Themes to specify which themes will be enabled for this site.


Adding a Site from the FrontEnd

To all users to create a site from the frontend you can accept the user registration, they can register from the /wp-signup.php screen on the main site.

It allows user to either log in with an existing user account and create a site, or to create both a site and a user account at the same time.

To create sites via the admin screens, disable signups. From Network Admin > Network Settings > Select the Registration as a disabled radio button.

If the admin creates a site then, an admin will have privileges for it. It will be showcased in the “My Sites” dropdown menu. If a user creates the site, the admin won’t have site admin privileges and it won’t be in that list.

Understanding Plugins and Themes in WordPress Multisite

Major Storage Saving is one of the biggest benefit of using WordPress Multisite Network. Because for every subsite and admin site only now the core of plugin is required and it is used as into several database entries so the structure of site becomes more lightweight and easy to manage.


How Plugins and Themes are Stored

Themes and plugins are stored in the wp-content directory of your WordPress installation same as the standard site. Each plugin and theme is only stored once with a different database table.


Installing and Activating Plugins

Only the network administrator can install themes; site admins don’t have the privileges. Depending on how the network is configured, plugins and themes may be restricted to activate and deactivate, by adjusting settings in the Network Settings screen.

To install a plugin, go to Plugins > Add New in the network admin and install it in the usual way. After that choose to network activate it. If not chosen as network activation, it will be available for individual site admins to activate it on their site.

Plugins that are network activated will work on all sites. But no one can deactivate it except for super admin.


Installing and Enabling Themes

You can only install a theme via the network admin screens. To do so, go to the Themes screen in the network admin, and install it in the same way you would for a normal site.

When it comes to enabling themes, WordPress Multisite works differently. You can either enable a theme for the entire network, or for individual sites.


Note: Super admin can only make an available theme for a subsite, It is not possible to activate a specific theme.

Note 2: Do not delete Default Twenty20 theme from super admin dashboard or main site, Because every new user will be default activated with that theme. If it is deleted then be registered sites may crash.

To network enable a theme, go to the Themes screen in the network admin, find the theme, and click the Network Enable link beneath it.

To enable a theme for an individual site, go to the Sites screen and click the Edit link for the relevant site. Click on the Themes tab and click the Enable link under the theme’s name.


Installing and Activating Plugins

Only the network administrator (Super admin) can install plugins. admins don’t have the privileges to add/remove plugins. By configuring settings from the super admin dashboard you can prevent site admins from activating plugins too, by selecting the last plugin allowing an option in settings.

To install a plugin as a super admin simply go to Plugins > Add New in the network admin and install it. If your network activate it then it will be forced to all sites, otherwise, the site admin will have privileges to activate the plugin or not

The difference between activating plugin and theme is:

  • Network activated plugin will work on all sites and users will not be able to deactivate it. A network-enabled theme will be available for site admins to activate if they choose to.
  • If the plugin is not network activated then admins will have a choice whether to activate it or not in their dashboard. A theme that isn’t network-enabled will only be available to a site if it’s been enabled for that site. Themes that haven’t been network enabled or enabled for a site will be invisible to that site admin.

Working With Users in WordPress Multisite

WordPress Multisite and Normal WordPress Install are similar in all ways except for some, which are stated here.

Users can be created and managed by site admins and the network admin. The difference is that a site admin can only remove user privileges for their site: they can’t remove the user from the network.


Adding Users as a Network Admin Or Super Admin

To add a user as a network admin, go to Users > Add New in the network admin screens.

Here you fill in the username and email address. The user will receive an email inviting them to set a password and log in.

Once the super admin has added a user, you can edit the user via the Users screen in the same way you would in a standard WordPress installation. There is then a special privilege called “Super Admin” which you can grant to the user.

Adding Users as a Site Admin

Site admins can also add users to their site. They can either add an existing user to the network or a completely new user. To do this from the site admin screens, go to Users > Add New.

Setting Up and Managing User Roles (Site Admin vs Network Admin)

For any site, Both super admin and admin can create users and edit their privileges and information but network admin has more functions to edit.

Super admin can access the editing screen of any user and edit their accessing privileges. To remove or add the user’s privileges, the admin requires to access the editing screen and click on Edit for that site’s Users tab.

From here, the admin can change user roles on the site, remove users, and add new ones.

Site admin can edit the user details for each user on your site or remove them. From the Users screen and click on the user to access their editing screen. From there admin can change their role to the same standard WordPress installation.


Removing Users (Site Admin vs Network Admin)

Network admins can remove users from individual sites and the entire network. Site admins can just remove users from their site.

The network admin can go to the user’s screen and select the checkbox at the user’s records and selects the bulk actions dropdown list above the users to delete the user. Also, the super admin can mark users as spam. Once registered as spam cannot create a website again.

Site admin can remove user’s screens by selecting the checkbox near the username and click on remove in the bulk actions list.

that is how super admin and site admin removes/spam users from the network.


Users and Security

Security is the main aspect because users can create accounts and register a website directly. You can restrict access to emails and enhance security from registration settings.

You can find registration settings from Settings > Network Settings.

  • Allow new registrations: Allows the new user to register and decides whether the site can be made by first time registering users or logged in users. Or admin can close the registration so that only admin can create a registration for the site.
  • Registration: When someone registers an account on-site, it tracks all events and allows the admin to contact a new user.
  • Add New Users: It restricts admin from adding new users to the network, Admins can only allow existing users to become site user on their dashboard.
  • Banned Names: To restrict the names super admin does not want users to have.
  • Limited Email Registrations: List the email domains that can be used for new user accounts. Useful for a company or educational network.
  • Banned Email Domains: Ban fixed email domains to stop spam or malicious accounts.

WordPress Multisite and Domain Mapping

Domain mapping allows the admin to map a domain to a site in your network to make it look like if it’s hosted on that domain.

How To Map a Domain to Site In WordPress Multisite Network?

To map a domain to a site, first, you need to ensure it’s pointing to your network. In the dashboard of your domain add the domain and make it point to your site.

Once the domain is pointing to your network, you’ll need to add the domain name to the site’s settings. In the network admin screens, go to Sites and click Edit under the site you want to map. In the site editing screen, add the domain name.

Click the Save Changes button and that site will now use the new domain instead of the subdomain or subdirectory of your network.


Cloning Sites in a WordPress Multisite Network

To create a clone version of the existing website, you need to add plugins from the WordPress repository to add the function of cloning the website in the WordPress multisite network. By default, there is no such feature for that but Multisite Clone Duplicator can create such functions for your network.

Why Create a Cloned Website in WordPress Multisite?

Creating sites in-network with the same features can take the time of doing the same process over the times, in this case cloning feature might come in handy.

Multisite Clone Duplicator will give network sites a Clone or Duplicate link in the site settings screen. Click on this to make a duplicate of the site.


Deactivating or Deleting Sites in a WordPress Multisite Network

there are 4 categories in which the admin can disable, delete, or block a website. Which are,

  1. Deactivate = Deactivate option disables the site visits but does not remove any file data, It is then only accessible to site admin.
  2. Archive = the archive makes a site inaccessible to visitors as well as admin but the site doesn’t get deleted.
  3. Spam = this option marks user and site as spam, so that site gets deleted and the user gets blocked.
  4. Delete = Deletes website permanently.

These options are accessible from respective sites settings for only super admin.

Why Deleting a site in Network?

Sometimes you’ll need to take a site on your network out of service. Maybe it’s a personal site you aren’t using anymore. Maybe it belongs to a client who’s canceled their hosting plan.

You can start the guide from the menu bar on the left side, From Introduction to End.

or You can follow the below next-previous links.