How to Setup WordPress Multisite Domain Mapping (Step by Step)

How to Setup WordPress Multisite Domain Mapping (Step by Step). Are you looking to manage several WordPress sites as part of a single network, with each site having a domain of its own? WordPress Multisite domain mapping is just what the doctor ordered.
In this article, we’ll share the step by step process to help you set up domain mapping on the latest version of WordPress Multisite.

Let’s start with How to Setup WordPress Multisite Domain Mapping (Step by Step).

What is WordPress Multisite Domain Mapping?

First of all, WordPress is relatively easy to use. Especially when you’re managing a single site. But things can get sticky when you want to manage multiple sites. Luckily, WordPress Multisite makes the process of managing multiple WordPress websites (subsites) from a single installation easier. While each subsite is independent from the rest, you get to manage all the subsites from one main WordPress installation.

Normally, you would use subdomains and subdirectories to name the subsites in your network. For example, if your domain is “”, the subdomain might look like “”. If you’re using subdirectories, your subsite address might be located at “”.

Now, what if you wanted to give your subsites custom domain names? You can do this through WordPress Multisite domain mapping. This is the process by which you allocate a custom domain name (e.g. to your subsites. 

Advantages of WordPress MultiSite Domain Mapping

  • Make your web addresses easy to remember: Using subdomains and subdirectories may not be ideal if you want a memorable and brandable name. 
  • Protect your brand from competitors. With domain mapping, you can buy and use several related domains to stop your competitors from snapping them up.
  • Makes it easier to manage several separate domains. As a result, you can push updates to all your websites simultaneously. 
  • A great solution for local businesses with several websites managed by separate teams. 
  • Ideal for organizations with multiple branches. 
  • You can use it to build a website as a service platform such as Users can create their own websites or blogs for free under custom domains. 
  • You can install plugins and themes and share them across all sites within the network. As a result, you reduce overheads and save time. 

Disadvantages of WordPress MultiSite Domain Mapping

  • Subsite admins can’t install themes and plugins and have to rely on the network admin.
  • Making custom changes to the theme of the main website affects all other websites in the network. 
  • Cost of hosting the entire Multi Site network can be high. 
  • Migrating or removing a website from the multisite network is challenging. 
  • Security vulnerabilities on one subsite in the network can spill over to the rest of the sites. 

Up next is How to Setup WordPress Multisite Domain Mapping (Step by Step).

Setting Up WordPress MultiSite Domain Mapping

Now let’s go over the step by step process of setting up WordPress Multisite domain mapping. 


Before you set up WordPress Multisite domain mapping you’ll need the following:

  • A WordPress host that supports WordPress multisite and multiple domains. 
  • Purchase the domain names you’ll use for the subsites.

Install a WordPress Multisite Network

We’ve previously covered how to set up a WordPress multisite network in detail, so we’ll give a basic overview of the process.

Step 1: Start by installing WordPress, if you don’t have it installed already. For this, you can use the WordPress one-click installer provided by most hosting providers. 

Step 2: Enable the WordPress multisite functionality by editing the wp-config.php file. You can do this using an FTP client like FileZilla or the File Manager app in your hosting control panel.

Step 3: In the wp-config.php file, define the multisite function by adding the following code immediately above the last line, which reads “/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */”

					define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true );

Save the changes to proceed.

Step 4: In the WordPress dashboard, go to Tools > Network Setup to configure the multisite network. Choose between subdomains and subdirectories as the addresses for your subsites.  

Step 5: You’ll be provided with two code snippets to add to the wp-config.php file and .htaccess file. 

Note: Back up your wp-config.php file and .htaccess file before proceeding with this step.

In the wp-config.php file, add the provided code above the “/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */”. That’s not all; you’ll also need to add this line of code to ensure users can login to each subsite in your network:

					define('COOKIE_DOMAIN', $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] );

Finally, replace the content of the .htaccess file with the content provided. If you can’t find a .htaccess access file, you’ll need to create one. Save changes to enable your multisite network. Now when you login to your WordPress admin dashboard, you’ll see a new menu item on the admin bar called “My Sites”.

Step 6: Finally, navigate to the Network Admin dashboard and go Sites > Add New to add subsites to the Multisite network. 

Create a New Site With a Custom Domain

Once the multisite network is up and running, it’s now time to create your first site.

Step 1: Go to your multisite network’s admin panel and click on Sites > Add New. 

Step 2: Enter the new site’s address, title, language, and email address. For the site address, enter any address for now. You’ll change it in the next step. Click ‘Add Site’ to complete the setup process. 

Step 3: Navigate to Sites > All Sites and select “Edit” below the site you created in step 2. Now add the custom domain you want to use on the “Site Address” field. Click on “Save Changes” to complete the process. 

You can add more sites by repeating this process. 

Add a Custom Domain to Your Hosting Account

Image Source – Flaticon

Most hosts allow you to add multiple domains to your hosting account. For every domain you use, you must have a DNS entry pointing to your server. To achieve this, you need to change your domain’s DNS settings by adding an A record that points to the static IP address of your server.

Unfortunately, there’s no cookie-cutter process for changing your domain’s DNS settings. The process varies from one hosting provider/domain registrar to another. Here are some detailed guides to help you edit domain settings for some popular providers:

Note that any changes you make will take up to 48 hours to propagate across the DNS servers. After the process is complete, you’ll be able to see your multi site’s subsite for each domain. 

Manage and Login into WordPress Multisite on Custom Domains

To perform any administrative tasks on your custom domains, you must log in into the dashboard of your root site.

Step 1: Navigate to Network Admin >Sites > All Sites to select an individual site to work on. 

Step 2: You’ll be redirected to the subsite’s admin panel. You may have to enter your login details to proceed. 

Step 3: Once you’re in, you can now manage the subsite as you would a normal WordPress site. You can create blog posts, add pages, and manage any other aspects of the site. 

Configuring WordPress Network Settings

You can start using WordPress Multisite as soon as it’s active. But you want to configure the network settings the right way. Here’s how to go about it:

Step 1: Go to your network admin dashboard and navigate to Settings > Network Settings.

Step 2: Under Registration Settings, you can allow admins to create users and add new sites. Also, you can turn on alerts so the super admin can receive an email whenever subsite admins make any changes. 

Step 3: Under Upload Settings, you can limit the size and type of attachments users can upload to the multisite network. Limiting file upload sizes is a great way to prevent network overload if your hosting plan has limited resources. 

Thank you for reading How to Setup WordPress Multisite Domain Mapping (Step by Step). We shall conclude. 

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How to Setup WordPress Multisite Domain Mapping Conclusion

In this WordPress Multisite article, we’ve explored multisite domain mapping. We’ve listed its pros and cons, and discussed the types of websites and users who would benefit from it. Also, we’ve gone over the step by step process to get you up and running. You’re now equipped to run multiple websites from a single WordPress installation.

Avatar for Richard Kanyoro
Richard Kanyoro

The world’s biggest problems can be solved by progressively solving the little ones. I write to help people solve the “little” tech problems they face.

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