There’s lots of great documentation on the web showing how to create your WordPress Multisite network, but there’s also lots of different ways you might want to set up that network, and so this guide is designed to help you configure Plesk to work best with the options you want.

This guide assumes that the domain(s) you will be using for your multisite network are already registered and pointing to your hosting with us. If that’s not already the case, take care of that now.

Note: pointing the domain to your hosting is required for the primary domain you’ll be using for multisite, but you could wait on this for addon domains.

Do you need a Multisite Network?

The WordPress folks strongly recommend that you ask this question first, and we agree. Check out WordPress’s article that helps you choose whether multisite is for you, along with whether your multisite network will use:

  • Using separate domains: websavers.ca, anothersite.com, thissite.net
  • Using subdomains: websavers.ca, site1.websavers.ca, site2.websavers.ca
  • Using paths: websavers.ca/site1 websavers.ca/site2 websavers.ca/site3

Tip: if you’ll be using separate domains, WordPress doesn’t fully recognize this during install, so you can pick subdomains here.

How to Configure WordPress for Multisite

How to configure Plesk for WordPress multisite using paths

Nothing to do here! The WordPress config above will take care of this for you. Woohoo!

How to configure Plesk for WordPress multisite using subdomains

Reminder: subdomains are literal sub-names of your main domain and not what many refer to as addon domains. Addon domains are regular ol’ domains hosted within a hosting plan that hosts multiple domains, like our Titanium hosting plan, whereas subdomains all use the same main domain. See the examples above for more details.

This one’s a pretty easy one!

  1. Add your subdomain site to WordPress.
  2. Log in to Plesk
  3. Choose the “DNS Settings” button under the domain where you’ve installed your WordPress multisite network.
  4. Look for your root record (the A record with no subdomain specified) and make note of the IP it’s pointing to.
  5. Add a new A record, setting the subdomain/domain field to * (wildcard) and the host/IP to the same IP as the root record
  6. Wait a bit for the DNS to catch up globally. It often takes only a couple hours, but could be as long as 48 hours.

Now try your subdomain in the browser: it should be working!

How to configure Plesk for WordPress multisite using domains

This one’s the more complex one.

WordPress configuration:

  1. Create your sites by going into My Sites > Network Admin > Sites > Add New.
  2. WordPress is expecting subdomains here, so if your main domain is websavers.ca, you would create site1.websavers.ca, site2.websavers.ca, etc.
  3. Edit each of the sites you just added, and now you’ll find you can replace the entire domain (not just the subdomain) to make them each domains of their own.

Tip: you can wait on changing the domain until after it has completed development, but don’t forget to both change the domain here, and configure it at the registrar to point to your hosting.

Hosting configuration:

  1. Log in to Plesk
  2. If you will be hosting mail externally, this is a cleaner option: choose the Add Domain Alias button and configure as follows:
    1. Domain alias name: enter the new domain
    2. For the domain: choose the domain where you’ve installed WordPress multisite
    3. Uncheck the options for DNS and Mail sync and uncheck “Redirect with the HTTP 301 code” such that the only box checked is “Web service”
  3. If you plan to host mail locally, this is your only option: choose the Add Domain button and configure as follows:
    1. Domain name: enter the new domain
    2. Hosting type: Website Hosting
    3. If DNS and Mail will be hosted locally within this account, keep those boxes checked. If not, it’s important to uncheck them now. You can always enable them later.
    4. Document Root (Important): change this to the same value as the domain with the multisite install. For example, for your primary domain this is likely httpdocs.
    5. If you haven’t pointed the domain to your hosting yet, uncheck the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate option as it will fail until the DNS is active.
    6. Leave everything else at defaults and press OK

Now try your domain in the browser: it should be working! If you recently changed the domain’s DNS, you may need to wait up to 24 hours.

About Jordan Schelew

Jordan has been working with computers, security, and network systems since the 90s and is a managing partner at Websavers Inc. As a founder of the company, he's been in the web tech space for over 15 years.

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