WP Multisite - Primary Site vs Subsites

(Rob) #1

Regarding Multisite setup I keep seeing reference to Domain Root Site (I think this is also referred to as Primary Site) and Subsites.

So there’s really 3 identities it seems like.

  1. Network Admin
  2. Domain Root Site
  3. Subsites

Can anyone explain the difference between Domain Root Site and Subdomains. Especially when it comes to managing and installing plugins.

Here’s an example of instructions for bbPress, it talks about installing it on the Root Site vs Subdomains. Guess I just don’t understand why there must be a Root Site, why aren’t all the sites just Subsites?

(Ben) #2

There’s a master site for WordPress multi site. This is the site that would be the main site if you switched off multi site.

I think WordPress multi site was built with website networks in mind. Services like wordpress.com. So the main site would be the site that is promoting the service.

This setup doesn’t make so much sense if you’re setting up WordPress to run multiple internal websites, but essentially it all works out to the same thing.

Just upload everything (plugins and themes) through the network admin and treat the root site like any other site and you’ll be fine I think.

(Rob) #3

I hear what you’re saying but noticed that the primary site acts a little different. For example some plugins will show up only on the primary site and not the subsites. I mean I activate the plugin via Network Activate so they are activated on all the sites. BUT the settings page for certain plugins will only show up on the primary site.

idk, maybe some plugins just need one settings page and the settings get passed down to the plugins on the other subsites. Just a theory.

(Ben) #4

I’ve not seen that happen I’m afraid. In my experience if the settings are site wide then they appear in the network admin or on every site. Never seen it happen just on one site - unless the plugin has only been activated on one site and not network wide?

(Leland Fiegel) #5

Depends on how you look at it. As far as front-facing identities go, there is just the “domain root site” and “subsites” beneath it. The other stuff just relates to the admin side of things.

Let’s say we have a multisite install setup at example.com.

  • The marketing site is located at example.com, and users can sign up for accounts and subsites and such there (i.e. the domain root site)

  • The content for the marketing site can be managed at example.com/wp-admin/ (i.e. the domain root site’s admin)

  • The user creates a subsite, manages it at subsite.example.com/wp-admin/ (i.e. the subsite’s admin)

  • The network admin can do network-wide stuff like add sites, delete sites, activate network-wide plugins, etc at example.com/wp-admin/network/ (i.e. the network admin)

So basically, two front-facing identities (domain root and subsite), and three back-end identities (admins of domain root, subsites, and network).