I've inherited a Wordpress multisite install. I'm in the process of redesigning several of the subsites and I've noticed that Wordpress is not displaying the admin bar in the front-end, even as an admin.

Initially I thought it was a theme error so I went ahead and changed to a stock Wordpress theme such as twenty fifteen. This didn't work.

Then I thought it could be a plugin issue so I disabled all plugins as well. This didn't work either.

Then I also check if in the user profile I had the show toolbar option enabled, and it is.

Wordpress, themes and plugins are up to date.

I'm 100% sure it's not a plugin or theme problem, because I am not able to see the admin bar in any of the subsites. Thing is I've ran out of ideas regarding what it could be.

Any ideas what could be wrong?

1 Answer 1


This has to do with the core WordPress functionality when you're working with Multisite and the basic functionality of browser cookies - it's a security issue.

The WP core team made the decision to set user login cookies for the admin area to be based on the main multisite install. If you want to be logged in on the sub-sites, then you'll need to log in to each of them individually.

It kinda sucks, but it's a bit of a security concern, since WP doesn't know how your multisite is set up, and if they make an assumption about it, then it could be the wrong assumption and therefore opens up a security hole.

  • Yeah I noticed this on a blank Multisite install so basically it is what you say.
    – Johann
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 3:13

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