How to Setup WordPress Multisite Domain Mapping
According to the latest statistics provided by Hosting Tribunal, more than 400 million users visit WordPress websites every day. Today, WP digital platforms power 40% of the Internet environment. WordPress is notable for its high-level functionality and a great choice of plugins for even more convenience. One of the popular WP options is Multisite.
This option is essential for big corporations, web developers, and marketers to upload, update, change, and customize content on several websites faster and easier. A single network is created for WP theme and plugin sharing. All the manipulations take place through the site administrator’s panel. The web developers and content managers should focus on the functionality of Multisite because they can use it together with this option Blog Replicator, Autoblog, Multi-Domains, Content Copier, and Domain Mapping to copy and update content between the sites in the network.
What Is Domain Mapping?
Domain mapping is an essential process that allows site owners and web developers to link any necessary URLs to relevant websites. It means that you will be able to redirect consumers to a custom domain for subsites and the main digital platform all at once, avoiding the need to deal with different hosts. Domain mapping is highly recommended for WordPress sites with the Multisite feature.
The Multisite feature allows controlling and managing several WordPress sites at once. You will have a network that can contain as few as 2-3 sites up to thousands. Among other benefits of the Multisite WP feature are:
- Single WordPress installation;
- Quick and comprehensive site management;
- Faster theme and plugin sharing;
- Streamlined improvements in several clicks.
To implement the full functionality of the Multisite option, there are obligatory steps to complete if you would like to map your domain. First, pick sites with the most optimal WordPress pricing plan that include the Multisite option. There are four of them to choose from.
Additionally, do not forget about a subscription required for domain mapping. The names of your servers should be updated as well. If you skip this procedure, you can face poor mapping performance. Note that according to the WP instructions, there are two available options for this purpose:
- Manual updates (when you log into your WordPress account and change server names yourself).
- Updates through the domain registrar (when the site owner contacts the customer support/help center for planned changes).
WordPress Domain Mapping in Usage
There are several reasons to use domain mapping for your WordPress websites:
- Suppose you have a website and are planning to transition from any CMS to WP. This way, you will not lose URL(s) and business reputation. Domain mapping is a wonderful option for keeping existing Internet addresses but switching to WordPress with more helpful functions and ways to customize your website.
- You aim to tie all the purchased domains together and point them to a single hosting account. This is a top deal when you have decided to overcome any Internet search misspellings and help your potential customers find your primary site without any problems.
- Your existing website contains hot-topic content, and you would like to redirect users to the applicable pages for your business purposes. Map your domain to be sure that your customers will see updated information timely.
- You are searching for a unique domain that meets your brand and business needs. WordPress Multisite mapping will provide you an opportunity to find the one you need without any complications and challenges and host the website on a single account.
- If you would like to switch from an outdated mapping plugin to the new domain mapping for multisite WP networks (WordPress 5.8). It is easier to manage all the sites and subsites. Additionally, this is the way to update WordPress blogs without using the mapping plugin.
- You would like to create a special-purpose blog network with numerous websites at once. With the help of domain mapping, you can offer individuals (publishers) the best terms for blogging. You will get more customers because contributors will be able to attend your network and run their blogs for free.
- Free-standing digital platforms can be linked together despite the fact they are served via different hosting providers. If you are the owner of these sites, your web developers, marketers, and (finally) customers will not lose both your blogs, commercial websites, etc.
Let’s take a look at real case examples that show how WordPress Multisite and domain mapping can change your tech side for the better, improve your user experience, and even increase leads, conversions, and sales.
WordPress Multisite Domain Mapping Business Case Examples
A free-standing network is created. It may contain teacher and student portals, blogs, and other websites.
Edublogs runs the education blog with content management options provided for thousands of educational websites using WordPress Multisite. Today, there are about 36 million sites hosted by Edublogs at once with the help of domain mapping.
Digital media can be shared and managed through many channels with the help of a single WP dashboard and the Multisite option. It is possible to provide regional audiences with local news, and information. The language, content type, and other aspects are well-managed and set up this way.
BBC America is a set of media houses managed by a single WordPress dashboard. Each program and service obtains its own website, and the network is operated through the Multisite option. This way, BBC America has an opportunity to host in-house departments and provide updated data on its local sites.
Development Studios & Enterprises
Development studios/agencies and enterprises have an opportunity to run various sub-websites for better online performance. This way different domains and subdomains are tied together and create one network for improved user navigation.
The top manufacturer of iOS devices, Apple has a network of websites to provide customers with better experience and navigation. With the help of domain mapping, the main website, apple.com, is hosted with other sub-websites related to iOS products like ipad.com., macbook.com, etc.
Ecommerce projects can run together with the main website and any number of subsites. They create one network to update information faster and easier. A single administration is required for comprehensive management.
Wayfair has the main website wayfair.com linked together with the subsite aboutwayfair.com containing information about careers, teams, and locations. This way, the eCommerce network is created via the WordPress Multisite option. The data on inventory, administrative updates, and so on is well-managed on both the primary and subsites.
WordPress Multisite domain mapping is a solution for multinational hotels to manage the main site together with all the subsites at once. Combining local information with special offers and corporate news is updated in a few clicks.
Rosewood Hotel Group provides its services worldwide. There are several subsites for users to take into account (rosewoodhotels.com., carlyleandco.com.). All the regional websites are managed by the administrative board of the primary hotel site rosewoodhotelgroup.com.
It is worth noting that WordPress multisite domain mapping is necessary for SEO. Search engine optimization depends on high-level redirection through the main website, its pages, and subsites.
Preparing a WordPress Multisite: Step-by-Step Guide
If you have decided to create a WP Multisite network, follow these six steps to complete the procedure. But first, you need to login into the WordPress Network Administrator. Find My Sites icon on the top bar. The drop-down menu will contain the Network button. Enter it and follow the below-mentioned steps.
Step 1 – Add Domains to DNS
Go to the Network section and find the DNS page. You need to add a site as a subdomain or subdirectory. Check network details to continue (server address, network title, network admin email). Click the Install button.
Step 2 – Configure Custom Domain DNS Records
DNS configuration requires setting up info maps and hosting service options for the custom domain. Use the domain registrar for this purpose. If you are going to undertake this step through the Nameservers, go to the DNS section and select the option Use Custom Nameservers and edit the configurations.
One more way to configure a custom domain’s DNS records is to visit the Custom Domain’s page. Specify all the updates according to the available settings (verification ID, binding, etc.).
If you encounter a verification error, check your configuration and repeat the procedure. Be sure not to miss any steps.
Step 3 – Edit the wp-config.php File
While enabling the network, the system will recommend editing both wp-config.php and the .htaccess files. Follow the WP instructions to complete this step:
- Open your File Manager in WordPress. Scroll to the bottom to find the file.
- Find the file you are going to edit. Click edit on the wp-config.php file.
- When the editor window opens, add the wp-config.php file to the specified form.
- Optionally, you might need to configure MySQL settings and authentication keys.
Step 4 – Create New Subsite Installs
Open the Network Admin on the WP dashboard to add the subsite. Select the Sites menu and create new subsite installs.
Then you will see the button Click New. It will be located at the top. Note that you need to fill out all the required fields:
- Site address;
- Site Title;
- Admin Email.
Step 5 – Map Domains to New Subsite Installs
Open the Settings section to find your domain modification options. Specify the site ID and the domain information to map it to the new subsite installs. Save this association.
Step 6 – Generate an SSL Certificate & Changes to HTTPS
For this purpose, open the Domain Management menu. To generate the SSL certificate, save changes for the additional domain. Different domains and their subdomains should be propagated.
Note that you need to check website health regularly for SSL vulnerabilities and HTTPS errors. You may check site security, performance, and SEO in separate tools like SSL Server Test, Google Pagespeed, Silktide, and others, or use all-in-one SEO tools like SE Ranking to auditing your site for multiple website indicators and comparing the results of previous audits.
The website checkup must include:
- Pages Crawled;
- Health Score;
- URLs Found;
- Issues by Category;
- Core Web Vitals.
Use a reliable audit tool to overcome any failures.
If you are looking forward to managing all your websites through a single dashboard, you require domain mapping for your customized network. WordPress Multisite is almost impossible without domain mapping because your visitors will be isolated to one domain without any redirects to unknown or third-party hosts.
Alina Tytarenko is part of the marketing team at SE Ranking. She shares her experience in marketing techniques, link building, content marketing, and SEO with readers.
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