How to set up a WordPress Network

Currently I am building a developer’s blank WordPress theme and I will need some demo content to make sure the theme displays everything properly. The problem is I do not want to use my website’s content to showcase the theme and setting up another WordPress install just for this is a bit too much and a waste of space if you ask me. The solution I found? A WordPress Network.

A WordPress Network allows you to handle multiple websites on the same WordPress installation and will use the same database. That means you can create a whole new site complete with posts, menus, widgets, custom posts, pages and various views to show all of the functionality of the theme. And even though you’re using the same WordPress install and database, it will be completely separated from your own website. It is the perfect solution to showcase a WordPress theme.

Of course, you can use this network for many other things, just use your imagination.

The official tutorial is excellent and tells you in great detail how to do this. Below you will find a simplified but complete version of it. But if you get stuck you should definitely consult it.

Step 1 – Prepare WordPress

Make sure you have WordPress 3.0 installed in your root directory. This is important as the WordPress Network will not run otherwise.

You need an administrator account and FTP access to your host. Before continuing, back-up your themes, plugins, all the content, wp-config.php and .htcaccess files.

Step 2 – Create Network

Add this line in your wp-config.php file:

define('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);

Make sure you add it somewhere above the first line that begins with require or include. Refresh your dashboard and you will see a new menu item under Administration > Tools called Network Setup. Click it.

Step 3 – Enable Network

WordPress is very helpful when it comes to customise your install and this is no different. Go to Network Setup and add all the information it requires to create your network.

  • Create a directory for media file uploads
  • Add the specified lines to your wp-config.php and .htaccess files.

And done! Login again and you will notice the new Network Admin dashboard. Set up your sites and you’re good to go J

Easy as pie right?

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