Say you have 4 example domains: 1. dogsrule.com 2. dogsrule.cn 3. dogsrulecatsdrool.co.uk 4. dogsrule.au

Currently, each are their own WordPress sites hosted on the same server. Each are only 2 pages, the homepage which includes a form, and a thank you page.

Since they are such small sites and hosted on the same server, would like to consolidate if possible. One option would be to do wordpress multisite setup which may help? Would that be the best option for this scenario or...

Can we have a single normal WordPress install with custom pages for each site that all 4 domains points to respectively?

2 Answers 2


Why not multisite:

  • Multisite installations are difficult to maintain compared to single site installations.

  • Many useful plugins don't work properly on multisite installations.

  • There may be SEO concern for such short web sites with basically just one page (thank you page doesn't count) that looks very similar from the names. Multisite won't solve this probable issue.

I have assumed they have similar content from your example domain names, however, if the content of the four sites are very very different, then form an SEO point of view, having separate sites with a Multisite installation may be better.

Why not single site:

  • Managing multiple languages may not be easy in a single site installation if you haven't done that before.

As @Mark suggested in the comment, if you have different language contents in those sites (again just assumption based on example domain names), merging them into a single site may not be easy. You are encouraged to use plugins such as Polylang to manage multiple languages. There are thousands of multilingual sites out there running perfectly fine with WordPress. However, if it turns out to be difficult, then you may consider setting up Multisite or even keeping it as it is.

Leave them as they are?

If the following conditions are true, then may be it's better to just leave them as they are:

  • Managing these multiple separate installations are not too difficult for you.

  • You may have plugins that are not well tested in multisite installations.

  • You have multilingual content in different sites and you have no experience with WordPress multilingual setup.

Steps for single site installation

If you decide to go for single site installation, or at least want to test it, you may follow the steps below:

  1. Keep any one site (for example dogsrule.com) as the main site.

  2. Then make the other three sites point to the main site's web root directory.

  3. The main site's home page remains as is & then you create three more pages for the other three sites (for example: dogsrule.com/cn, dogsrule.com/dogs-rule-cats-drool and dogsrule.com/au).

  4. Then you may use server rewrite rules to redirect other three domains to the corresponding pages of the main site.

For example, if your web server is Apache, then in your main site's .htaccess file you may use the following CODE (according to the above pages):

# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /

# redirect rules for the other three domains
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^dogsrule\.cn$
RewriteRule .            http://dogsrule.com/cn [R=301,L]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^dogsrulecatsdrool\.co\.uk$
RewriteRule .            http://dogsrule.com/dogs-rule-cats-drool [R=301,L]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^dogsrule\.au$
RewriteRule .            http://dogsrule.com/au [R=301,L]

RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
# END WordPress

After this you'll have just one site with four main pages (including the home page) and four thank you pages and your other domains will correctly redirect to the corresponding pages.

Note: You may remove the other three sites after setting up the above, but don't delete the domains. Even though, effectively you'll only have one site after this, however, if you delete those domains, old bookmarks and back links will not work.

  • 1
    a single simple install (especially with multiple langs) breaks down very quickly once you do even the slightest step out of the trivial. Lets start with having sitemap for google, which plugin are you going to use for that? You also need some code being written to prevent canonical redirect. I don't think there is anything simpler with this setup compared to a multisite Feb 23, 2017 at 18:37
  • Well for me it's easier to maintain compared to all the problem a multisite installation may have, especially because it's just 4 pages. Even handling these manually should not be a big deal. In fact, I'd rather keep 4 separate installations if single site becomes difficult for some reason. I'd go for multisite only if there are many pages on each site and requires a lot of maintenance separately. But I guess that's just personal preference. In fact any answer this question will have, will probably be more based on opinion than fact.
    – Fayaz
    Feb 23, 2017 at 18:44
  • @MarkKaplun updated based on you comment. +1 for mentioning probable multilingual issues.
    – Fayaz
    Feb 23, 2017 at 19:30
  • Another advantage to a single Multisite installation over multiple WordPress installations is a central user base.
    – Pat J
    Feb 23, 2017 at 20:08
  • Thanks for your detailed response. Yes the content on each will be almost identical just translated in different languages. So ultimately a couple paragraphs of text in the respective language and a form to the right of it. Since only a single page for each a paragraph of text or so not to worried about having to paste in the different languages for each. The only plugins will be gravity forms, yoast, and one or two others. Wasn't worried about google site map plugin since they will only be one page each other than thank you. I'll try out the one site method with your htaccess rules first. Feb 23, 2017 at 20:12

You can use WordPress Multisite version 4.5 or higher to map domains to sites: WordPress Multisite Domain Mapping. This is supported natively, without requiring a plugin.

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