I want to offer my clients WordPress websites, but want to use WP multisite. I've read multiple articles on using a plugin, not using a plugin, etc.

My clients own their own domain names and want me to host/manage their sites. So I'll be using my main website as the install abc.com.

When you visit one of their sites like client1.com or client2.com, I don't want the domain name to be a subsite client1.abc.com. I need them to stay on client1.com or client2.com.

I did find a lot of tutorials, but most are with a plugin and some are reporting buggy behavior.

I've tried messing with the DNS as well, but the site still isn't redirecting. So I guess I'm just looking for the best way to do this.

Any and all help is appreciated.


2 Answers 2


To keep your options open with an open architecture you can create a multisite Network installation with multiple Networks. This means for each separate client you would give them a new Network. The advantage of this is that you can offer the scalability to Clients and keep your options open. Clients can easily have more sites (sub-domains) added to their Network.

structure would be

Network1 > abc.com (main site for the whole Wordpress Multi-Network install)
Network2 > client1.com
Network3 > client2.com
Network4 > client3.com
Network4 > client3.com/shop

this shows,

  • Client1&2 have only one main site.
  • Client3 has a main site "client3.com" and also one "client3.com/shop" subsite/sub-domain.

To make all this happen you need to install the plugin wp-multi-network. Follow the install guidance for setup within wp-config.php for the plugin and also add this to your wp-config.php file..

define( 'WP_HOME',    '//' . $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] );
define( 'WP_SITEURL', '//' . $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] );

Be sure when you create your Wordpress Multi Network installation select "subfolder" install and not "subdomain" installation (refer to the codex codex.wordpress.org/Create_A_Network) and configure your sites for wordpress pretty permalinks (ref codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks)

  • Hi Justin, sorry for the delay. I like this idea. I already do have a multisite install up and running. However, I'm still a little confused. Am I installing WordPress on each of those sites or folders? The way I understand multisite, WP creates a new DB table and that's it. No extra install.
    – lz430
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 16:30
  • yes your are exactly right you only need one WordPress install and this must be installed in the root folder. Then to get the url / permalink like client3.com/shop to work as one of the sites you need to install the WordPress as subfolders (e.g. client3.com/shop) and not subdomains (e.g. shop.client3.com) during the install.
    – Justin
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:48

To do this, set the sites URL option to client1.com and it will handle traffic for client1.com. It's as simple as that. You can do this by editing the site in the network admin. No additional configuration changes should be necessary, and it doesn't matter if you chose a subdirectory or a subdomain install.

Don't forget to update your host/server/DNS. Just because WordPress knows to handle traffic for that domain, doesn't mean requests to that domain will be routed to WordPress.

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