I was searching the Net and also playing around Wordpress to achieve my desired multisite installation, but I wasn't successful yet. What I want to do is to have the network admin site installed on a sub-domain like www.example.com (not example.com) and other sites in the network on sub-domains like client.example.com (not client.www.example.com).

Is there any way to make it possible!?

Important Note: I want to map example.com to a different server with different IP than www.example.com and the rest of sites. Also, I don't want to map each sub site address by hand. I want it to be automatic.

Server specification: I use nginx + php-fpm + fastcgi + centos 5.9.

3 Answers 3


Yes. Here are the instructions:

  1. Install and configure WP for www.example.com
  2. Configure multisite - can use either sub-domain or sub-directory
  3. Install WP Domain Mapping plugin - http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-mu-domain-mapping/
  4. Create new site, e.g. site1
  5. Using Domain Mapping plugin, map site (site1.www.example.com or www.example.com/site1) to preferred sitename (site1.example.com)

I actually have two separate WP sites setup as above, one is sub-domain and another sub-directory. One of the sites is hosting 200 different hostnames. The other is in development and only setup for two hostnames.

  • THanks. Is there any way to make this automatic? I want users to get their correct address immediately, and I don't want to do it by hand. Dec 8, 2013 at 20:34
  • 1
    To automate this process you would have to create your own plugin that would do the Domain Mapping plugin setting whenever a new site is created. Not hard, but you need to know how to create plugins.
    – user42826
    Dec 9, 2013 at 14:54

Currently I work always with Apache, but maybe you should set the constant COOKIE_DOMAIN to a empty value. Otherwise WordPress will always set it to your network’s $current_site->domain and you won’t be able to login into any of the other sites.

define('COOKIE_DOMAIN', '');

the www on the domain is like a subdomain, confused and not helpful. Maybe you set the installation to the domain without www or add a rule to the .htaccess of the installation, that all address will work with the www, like the source below.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [L,R=301]

Also a hint to the configuration of nginx for subdomain on WordPress. But I have not tested, only find in this post.

server {
        ##DM - uncomment following line for domain mapping  
        #listen 80 default_server;
    server_name example.com *.example.com ;
    ##DM - uncomment following line for domain mapping
    #server_name_in_redirect off;

    access_log   /var/log/nginx/example.com.access.log;
    error_log    /var/log/nginx/example.com.error.log;

    root /var/www/example.com/htdocs;
    index index.php;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args ;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        try_files $uri /index.php;
        include fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock;

    location ~* ^.+\.(ogg|ogv|svg|svgz|eot|otf|woff|mp4|ttf|rss|atom|jpg|jpeg|gif|png|ico|zip|tgz|gz|rar|bz2|doc|xls|exe|ppt|tar|mid|midi|wav|bmp|rtf)$ {
        access_log off; log_not_found off; expires max;

    location = /robots.txt { access_log off; log_not_found off; }
    location ~ /\. { deny  all; access_log off; log_not_found off; }
  • Well, I have no problem setting multisite network on 'example.com'. I want to install it on 'www.example.com' and point 'example.com' to a different IP. Dec 8, 2013 at 21:52
  • Why do you will a difference between with www and without www? Is the same content, only a subdomain and often a problem on a webspace to see a difference with and without www.
    – bueltge
    Dec 8, 2013 at 22:34
  • I want to hide my site IP address using CloudFlare. The real IP address of example.com can be found using http://www.cloudflare-watch.org/cfs.html but any subdomain is immune. Dec 9, 2013 at 6:29

You could achieve it changing your nginx configuration. I use Apache, so I'm not able to tell you how to do it. You may find your answer here. If you don't you may better ask on Serverfault

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