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I've done some searching but couldn't find this issue elsewhere, apologies if this has already been discussed elsewhere.

I've set up a Multisite install; and am trying to set up domain mapping for sub-sites. The main site has wildcard SSL enabled and WP Admin forced to SSL.

The issue is that the mapped domains do not have SSL, links in WP Admin to the frontend show as https:// even when the home URL is defined without SSL.

e.g.

Site URL https://sub.multisite.com/ Home URL: http://sub.com/ (but shows in WP Admin as https://sub.com/ e.g. the "Visit Site" link)

I've tried using the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin and Mercator to achieve this, both without success.

WordPress.com has a similar setup but does appear to work (mapped domains don't need SSL and the links from WP Admin are correct); I presume this is a custom solution.

Is there a solution that addresses the issue of SSL with mapped domains?

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3 Answers 3

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You may try free WordOps - High performance WordPress stack with a few keystrokes installs WP multisite with free Letsencrypt certificates.

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The problem you're having is common when configuring multisite domain mapping with SSL. When wildcard SSL is enabled on the main site and the WP Admin is forced to SSL, the mapped domains do not have SSL, and links to the frontend in the WP Admin show as HTTPS even when the home URL is defined without SSL. This problem can be seen when using the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin in conjunction with Mercator.

One possible solution is to use a plugin that addresses the issue of SSL with mapped domains specifically. There are several plugins available to assist with this, including WordPress HTTPS (SSL) and Really Simple SSL.

Another option is to configure the SSL certificate for the mapped domains manually. This can be accomplished by purchasing and configuring an SSL certificate for each domain.

Finally, there are several solutions to the SSL with mapped domains issue in a multisite setup, including using a plugin or manually configuring the SSL certificate for each domain.

Here are two examples of how to configure SSL for mapped domains in a multisite setup:

Using a plugin: One popular plugin for configuring SSL for mapped domains is WordPress HTTPS (SSL). This plugin automatically detects and configures SSL for your website, including mapped domains. To use this plugin, simply install and activate it, then go to the plugin settings and enable SSL for the entire website or specific pages.

Manually configuring SSL: Another option is to manually configure an SSL certificate for each mapped domain. This involves purchasing an SSL certificate for each domain and then configuring it on your web server. The exact steps for configuring the SSL certificate will depend on the web server software you are using, but the process typically involves generating a certificate signing request (CSR), purchasing the SSL certificate, and then installing the certificate on your server. You will also need to configure your server to redirect all HTTP traffic to HTTPS.

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A Multi-Domain (UCC) SSL certificate will allow your users to choose their own domain to display.

It may be important for you to know that many Certificate Authorities have a limit to the number of certificates that can be issued for a single IP address so if you are running a large network of over 100 people, another solution may be necessary.

In such cases, adding another virtual host with SNI can help you to achieve this result.

Domain mapping with SSL certificates and sub-directories. Every site in your network can enjoy the privilege once reserved for single installs. A Standard SSL certificate can be used for Multisite installs with subdirectory paths such as www.your-site.com/site1/ and www.your-site.com/site2.

Standard certificates typically cost less, which is also a bonus.

On the other hand, if your Multisite is set up with subdomains, then a Wildcard SSL certificate will let your customers enjoy domains such as

You can also choose an Extended Validation (EV) certificate which would work well for subdirectory installs, but with an added layer of security. It also includes visible validation for your users to see your site has gone through a more rigorous screening process to ensure your site is safe.

Once you have decided on the kind of SSL certificate you need for your Multisite, it’s time to purchase and set one up for your main network’s domain. If you would like more information on SSL certificates and how to use them in WordPress, check out our post How to Use SSL and HTTPS with WordPress.

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