How To Install & Setup A WordPress Multi-Network on XAMPP

Obviously you’re going to be wondering, what is the difference between a WordPress Multisite and a WordPress Multi-Network. The best way to explain it would be with the use of an analogy. A single WordPress installation is like a home, you own it, you make all the decisions about it; A multisite is like a town home or an apartment building, you have neighbors and a landlord, you still get most of the features of a home, but you get a few more, like better security, reduced cost, but a few tradeoffs might be you can’t go out and remodel your apartment without getting permission from the landlord; A multi-network, is like the entire town, so you’re the mayor, you control everything that goes on, and you might have several apartments or town homes in your network.

Suffice it to say, a multi-network install takes a lot of resources, but don’t start fretting, it’s not that much. Like I said in the last tutorial, be sure to ask yourself if you in fact even need something like this, if the answer is yes then proceed.

If you have installed a multisite, then you have completed the majority of this tutorial already, and I will be going on the basis that you have a multisite installed on your test bench.

Step 1. Prepare your multisite

Like I said in the last tutorial back up your files, database and plugins, and your posts. Once all that is done let’s get cracking.

Step 2. Setting up Multi-Network

For this tutorial I used the WP Multi-Network plugin, now before you go ad download the plugin you should note… the plugin that is up on wordpress.org DOES NOT WORK. Instead go here and download the plugin


That would give you the fixed version created by Alan Tait

Step 3. Installing the Plugin

You have to do this step manually as you would just get errors any other way.

  • Navigate to your WordPress multisite folder and go into wp-content.
  • Now create a new folder called mu-plugins
  • Take the WP Multi-Network.php file you downloaded and paste it into the folder.

Explanations the mu-plugins folder, has a special attribute to it, as any plugin that is placed into the folder would run automatically, no matter what, you can’t activate or deactivate the plugin either.

Step 4. Setting up A Network

The plugin’s dialogue box should show up, somewhere in the admin panel (I can’t remember where exactly, but it will say “networks”)

Once you find it, you will be presented with a screen to enter a few details (network name, site name, URL) that sort of thing.

Now the important thing there is the URL, it should point to the same folder as your WordPress multisite install, if it isn’t prepare for stress as it isn’t going to work and you’re not going to know why.

Step 5. Finishing up

Once you have created your network successfully, you can navigate to the new network. By default, you would have to sign in to the new network, but nothing would change, same username and password.

The admin interface is exactly the same as a WordPress multisite, but all of your networks show up as well.

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3 thoughts on “How To Install & Setup A WordPress Multi-Network on XAMPP”

  1. Hi Delano

    I have a rather amibitious project and I’m wondering whether wordpress multi network might be what’s needed for it. Here’s an overview below…

    Overall Goal:
    To creàte a country-wide communities facility where people can chat, blog, get information and post information, join forums, vote on local issues, etc.

    Subsites taxonomy:
    Country (main site)
    – State/Region (subsite)
    — City (subsite)


    USA (main site)
    – California (state site)
    – – San Francisco (city site)
    – – San Diego (city site)
    – Colorado (state site)
    – – Denver (city site)

    There might even be a layer of subsite below City, but I’m not sure about that. Probably not necessary except in the larger cities.

    Tricky Bits:
    A subsite for every city/town under the structure above and a person is responsible for each subsite. Also each subsite has users sign up in their city. They enter their local data (events, news, business listings, classifieds, etc).

    A person browsing the website can choose to look at All USA where they see information from everywhere. Or they can filter to California where they see the information from San Diego and San Francisco, or down to San Diego itself, etc.

    You get the idea.

    Data is entered at the local level and is seen or not seen depending on the regional selector.

    However some data is entered on the main site (USA) and that information is seen on ALL subsites. E.g. contact us, staff members, magazine items, announcements, whatever.

    Structure I thought I’d need:

    Whilst not totally new to WordPress, I am quite new to multisite, BuddyPress and custom post types, etc, and am at a loss as to how to best put this backbone structure in place. A structure where people can enter data and it becomes available at the right levels above. I’m happy to learn about working the system, but am keen to be going in the right direction first 🙂

    A browser to the site would use a menu system to select USA, or drill down to one of the States, and then further if desired to one of the cities, and find information (posts) that are relevant for that filter.

    Similarly, a person from San Diego might enter a “for sale item” for instance and that would need to be tagged to (and seen by users browsing):

    San Diego

    so that those drilling down for information could see that data where it is supposed to be geographically.

    Is that as clear as mud? 🙁

    Any assistance you might be able to give as to the best networking/multisite structure that would allow for subsites of subsites etc, for this would be greatly appreciated thank you.


    1. Thanks for the comment and yes your problem was very clear.

      I personally have never configured a multinetwork / multisite which required different levels, it’s hard to say. Theoretically it can be done, but the only problem I could warn you about is that buddypress would behave strangely / misbehave for that matter, because buddypress in a simple multisite blankets the installation, but in a multinetwork, each network has its own data, so when you start creating levels, I don’t know how it would take such a setup. Remember that each site created with the multinetwork plugin, is essentially a completely separate WordPress blog, but it shares user information across the installation just as if it was just a regular multisite setup.

      Other than that issue, It should work, but do test it extensively, and if you happen to get buddypress working, be sure to post your findings, I will take a look at it and see how it goes.

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