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A theoretical question here. When I set up one multisite network for one website, how would I go about when I want to use different subdirectories per site then? From what I can see, you define one specific subdirectory per site in the Wordpress network settings.

I'm imagining the multiste to look like this:

Site 1 - Primary Site - Region Europe

  • example.com/de/
  • example.com/fr/

Site 2 - Region North America

  • example.com/us/
  • example.com/mx/

Site 3 - Region Asia

  • example.com/jp/
  • example.com/cn/

Site 4 - Region Pacific

  • example.com/au/
  • example.com/nz/
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  • Are those all separate sites? e.g. is /au and /nz the same site or 2 sites? Or by "Site" do you actually mean separate WP install folders? Aka 4 multisites? IIf it's the latter then this is actually an Nginx/Apache question, you don't need to map everything under / to a folder, you can remap subfolders into different document roots. at the Nginx/Apache level via Nginx configs/rules or Apache VHosts etc
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 13:55
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    Just to clarify , so /au and /nz are the same site but served available from 2 URLs? With the same content etc? With no differences?
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 13:22
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    So it all boils down to "how do I allow a single site to be served from 2 subdir URL in a multisite". Note that if you do introduce plugins such as WPML, the answer may no longer apply. It's super important that you're very specific here, being generic or ambiguous in order to foster theoretical discussion is harmful. Remember, this is not a discussion forum, you need to ask a question that someone can write a definitive canonically correct answer with objective facts, where everybody can look at it and say "that is the answer for all people with this question", not just the best opinion
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented Sep 6, 2021 at 14:39
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    Also note that once you get what you want, expect SEO penalties for duplicated content. They can be fixed with canonical tags but that just means one of the sites would reign supreme over the other and WP and search engines will redirect you or prefer it over the other, defeating the entire scheme
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented Sep 6, 2021 at 14:43
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    Also most domain mapping plugins are geared towards domain alias', not subdirectory alias'. Have you considered it would be easier to create sites such as /asia or /pacific? All of this is going to fall apart the moment someone requests a banner for /au but not /nz
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented Sep 6, 2021 at 14:49

1 Answer 1

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Short answer is - this is possible and easily achievable by using JJJ's plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-multi-network/.

Long answer is - WordPress allows for such structures to be created, but does require some hacking in order to make it right if you decide to do it manually. The original database structure of a multisite website is prepared for meeting such requirements, but the administrator interface lacks the controls. My guess is that it was limited in order to avoid what could be a great mess done by less experienced users, as multisite by itself is a complex concept and quite often misused.

Here's an article that explains how you can use the forementioned plugin, but also shows where in the database you could check the results of your configuration, which could be a hint for you how to do the whole thing manually without a plugin: https://wpmudev.com/blog/wordpress-multi-network/

P.S. I would advise you to consider using multilingual plugins if you haven't done so already, as in plenty of the cases these could save you time and efforts when setting up a whole multisite network. Also beware that some services and plugins have limitation when it comes to multisite, so things like backing up or migrating the site might become slightly more complex (or costly), if you are used to plugins line Duplicator or services like Blogvault.

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    Can you explain a little how multi network would fix this? I think this answer assumes some things about the question that aren't clear ( that all the sites are in a single multisite install )
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 13:56
  • I would gladly explain once I see more details from @photogenic regarding his theoretical case. If they are not going after a network of networks, then my answer is irrelevant whatsoever. But if they need to have separate sites for each of the regions, and then separate sites for each countries with the given URL structure, my suggestion would be the answer.
    – vlood
    Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 18:37
  • @vlood Thank you for your extensive reply. I believe it is a noteworthy possibility but it is, after some contemplation, not the definite way for the setup that I'm imagining. Tom was right to question my phrasing. I want separate sites per region which then are supervising information for a certain set of countries. So the Pacific is one region, thus one site, and controls Australia /au and New Zealand /nz. With the wpml plugin I can control language/currency per region-site but how do I manage the subdirectories in this multinetwork?
    – photogenic
    Commented Sep 6, 2021 at 7:55
  • @photogenic, in a multinetwork environment you could have pacific.site.com main site with subsites in directories like pacific.site.com/nz and pacific.site.com/au. Each of these would be a separate instance with the same code base and central userbase, yet users could be controlled by a network administrator. I am not sure exactly what you mean by "Region supervising information for a set of contries", but I believe a region super-admin could set user roles for controlling each of the country subsites. I haven't tried this, though, so it might be slightly more complex than this.
    – vlood
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 13:57

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