Multisite on VIP Go

VIP Go platform specific

This document is for sites running on VIP Go.

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Overview #

As well as single site WordPress installations on VIP Go, we also support multisite (also known as WordPress Networks). A WordPress multisite allows you to run multiple WordPress sites from the same WordPress installation, using the same set of user accounts. One common use case for a WordPress multisite is to support multiple languages, using the Multilingual Press plugin from Inpsyde, one of our VIP Featured Partner Agencies.

Specifics of how WordPress multisites work are available in the WordPress Codex article on WordPress Networks, but here are some key features:

  • A multisite can use any combination of domains, subdomains, and subdirectories.
  • All subsites share the same database.
  • Several tables are shared by the entire multisite:
    • wp_blogs
    • wp_blog_versions
    • wp_registration_log
    • wp_signups
    • wp_site
    • wp_sitemeta
    • wp_users
    • wp_usermeta
  • In addition, each subsite has its own set of the following tables that, after the first subsite, are prefixed by site ID (e.g. wp_ for tables for site ID 1; wp_2_ for tables for site ID 2; et al):
    • wp_commentmeta
    • wp_comments
    • wp_links
    • wp_options
    • wp_postmeta
    • wp_posts
    • wp_term_relationships
    • wp_term_taxonomy
    • wp_terms
  • While the users table is shared, users can have unique roles (or none at all) on a per-subsite basis.
  • Subsites all deploy from the same repo and the same branch.
  • Plugins and themes can be made available on a per-subsite basis.

There are many advantages to using a WordPress multisite:

  • Themes and plugins need to be updated only once for the entire network, instead of once per site.
  • Editors and administrators who have access to multiple sites can easily navigate between them.
  • Administrators can create new subsites quickly and easily.

Reasons not to use a multisite may include if you have different development teams per site who should not share access to the same repo.

If you have an existing single site and would like it converted to a multisite, please contact support.

VIP support is required to launch a subsite within a multisite. Read our Launch Day Playbook for more information on preparing for and scheduling a launch.

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Should I use a subdomain or subdirectory multisite? #

Formally, VIP Go supports only subdirectory multisites, but this still allows for all the scenarios you need to cover:

  • A pure subdirectory multisite, with sites addresses like example.com/one and example.com/two
  • A site using custom domains, with site addresses like example-another.com and example-further.com
  • A site using a mix of both, with site addresses like example.com, example.com/oneexample-another.com, and example-another.com/two

To achieve the same effect as a subdomain multisite, you could map a number of custom (sub)domains, e.g. one.example.com, two.example.com, etc.

We allow up to two segments in a subdirectory multisite path, so example.com/one (a “one segment” path) and example.com/one/two (a “two segment” path) are supported, but example.com/one/two/three (a “three segment” path) will not work, nor will adding further segments. Configuring a WordPress multisite to allow paths with two segments requires a small amount of code, see below for more details.

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Configuring a custom domain, including SSL certificate #

Configuring a custom domain requires a few steps, and the site using the custom domain will not be accessible at that domain until all have been completed:

Step 1: VIP support is required to launch a subsite within a multisite. Following the guidelines in the Launch Day Playbook, please open a ticket at least 5 business days in advance to discuss your plans.

Step 2: Add the site in the multisite using a temporary path, then edit the site to change the path to / (or up to a two segment path), and to change the domain to your desired custom domain.

Step 3: If you’re using more than one domain per site, set up your vip-config.php file to handle redirecting secondary domains to the desired primary domain for each subsite. Note that for multisite, redirects between non-www domains and www variants need to be specified in vip-config.php. More on multisite domain mapping.

Step 4: From the VIP Dashboard, map the domain.

Step 5: Configure the DNS to point to your site. See the documentation on Managing Domains and DNS for more details.

Step 6: Install an SSL Certificate.  There are two options:

  • A Let’s Encrypt SSL can be activated directly from the VIP Dashboard as soon as the DNS is pointed to our infrastructure and mapped to your application (see steps 1 & 2 above).  This is the most preferable option, as all updates are automated and your team doesn’t need to worry about renewing the certificate.
  • A custom SSL certificate can be procured, please read the SSL documentation for further information.

Step 7: Following launch, we will activate the Jetpack connection and optionally, VaultPress connection for the new site.

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Subdirectory multisites with two segment paths #

VIP Go supports a subdirectory site with a single segment path, e.g. example.com/one, with no additional effort.

With a small amount of additional code, VIP Go can support two path segments, e.g. example.com/one/two (in this configuration it will support both one and two segment paths, as well as custom domains).

To enable paths with two segments, add the following code to /vip-config/client-sunrise.php:

function my_filter_site_by_path_segments_count( $num_segments ) {
        $num_segments = 3;
        return $num_segments;
}
add_filter( 'site_by_path_segments_count', 'my_filter_site_by_path_segments_count', 99 );

If you do not need paths with two segments, there is no need to add the above code.

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Which subsite should I launch first? #

Subsite 1 is the first site in a multisite network and will be listed first in the Network Admin > Sites listing. A non-convenience URL (something other than *.go-vip.net) must have its DNS pointing to this subsite before any other subsite can launch.

This first subsite can be used for administrative purposes only: it can use a default theme, have no content, and have access restricted by Maintenance Mode. But all new subsites in a multisite network will initially exist as subdirectories of subsite 1’s domain. It can therefore be useful to have a custom domain in subsite 1 for branding purposes, such as admin.example.com or vip.example.com.

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Data sync considerations #

Note that before performing a data sync between multisite environments, a domain mapping file must be created. Further details about data sync on VIP Go.

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Plugin access #

While plugins are installed via GitHub and are activated at the network level, by default, subsite administrators cannot enable or disable plugins. A network administrator can make this functionality available by checking the appropriate box at the bottom of /wp-admin/network/settings.php.

Enable administration menus: Plugins

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