Here are the basic steps for setting up WordPress Multisite.

1) Install WordPress standalone (one click install or manually)

2) Add this line to the root wp-config.php and upload:

define(‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true);

3) Login to the back end of the site, and go to Tools > Network Setup (plugins must be disabled)

4) Select Subdomain or Subdirectory, your title and email then click install! Either will work without any domain tinkering. The subdomains will work as a result of the htaccess – no domain forwarding required.

5) OBEY. The next step has you create a blogs.dir directory in wp-content and add some more code to wp-config as well as htaccess.

6) Login again (there’s a link).

7) You’re now in the Dashboard of the Primary network site. If you are setting up either sub.domain.com or domain.com/sub style multisites, this Dashboard is for the base domain.com.

If you want to go to the Multisite dashboard click on your name from the top right and select Network Admin.

8) Once you’re in the Network Admin the back end is a bit different. From here you can manage the various aspects of the network.

  • Sites – Each new site gets its own set of 9 tables in the database, each with their own prefix. This makes each sub site faster than if it was one monster database.
  • Users – the users table is one of the only shared across all sites.
  • Updates - all the updates happen from here!
  • Plugins – You install plugins here and can either force activate for the network, or simply allow them to be used by sub sites.
  • Themes – Themes can be enabled for use by the network, or from Sites > Edit you can set one for a subsite.
9) To add a site go Sites > Add new – very much like all other WordPress content. You’re now running multisite!