An illustration of WooCommerce Multisite, which is built upon WordPress Multisite.

WordPress Multisite is an excellent way to make light work of managing multiple WordPress websites. Similarly, you can effortlessly manage multiple online stores with WooCommerce Multisite.

But, both of them aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions. There are situations where they’re useful and outside that, you may not need them.

Below are more details on WordPress Multisite as well as WooCommerce Multisite including what they are and when to use them.

What is WordPress Multisite?

To understand WordPress Multisite, it’s imperative to know what WordPress is, first. It’s a free program you can install on a web server to create a single, standalone website or blog.

WordPress Multisite is a built-in option that you can install to extend the inherent capabilities of WordPress. It has been around since version 3.0 of WordPress.

With WordPress Multisite you can:

  • Create a network of websites or blogs under the umbrella of one installation of WordPress, including using one database and one web hosting account
  • Manage all sites in the network at one time, rather than as separate websites
  • Create multiple sites using the same domain name
  • Share themes and plugins across all the sites in the network while being able to select different settings for each website
  • Use the WordPress Multisite super administrator user role to manage the network under one account without logging into each site separately
  • Limit a regular admin to just one or more sites in the network, as needed

With a WordPress Multisite network, the original site you had after first installing WordPress becomes your main site. All other websites you create within the network are organised as subsites.

But, that doesn’t mean each sub-site has to have the exact same or similar content as the main site. They can be as unique or similar as you want. That’s just how additional sites or blogs are organised within a WordPress Multisite installation.

Subdomains or Subdirectories?

As mentioned earlier, the main site of a WordPress Multisite network uses a single domain.

Each subsite also uses the same domain. But, it’s appended differently depending on whether the subdomain or subdirectories option is chosen at setup.

If the subdirectories setting is selected, subsites have their domains set in this format: your-domain.com/sub-site1, your-domain.com/sub-site2 and so on.

On the other hand, if you choose subdomains, subsites’ URLs will look similar to this format: sub-site1.yourdomain.com, sub-site2.yourdomain.com and so forth.

The WordPress Multisite setup page
The network setup page for WordPress Multisite with an example domain.

Practical Ways to Use WordPress Multisite

If you’re running a business, there are several instances where WordPress Multisite can be beneficial such as in the setups explained below:

  • You need a website for multiple regions or languages where some of the content is slightly different.
  • It’s necessary for you to separate your main website from landing pages, which you want to be able to manage independently.
  • You would like to let users sign up to create their own blog or site on a subscription-basis.
  • Your main site should be separated from your support, ticketing system or documentation pages.
  • You want to create an internal network for your business where each department has its own site, capabilities, settings, content or users.
  • It’s important for you to be able to manage multiple sites at one time. This includes updating all your sites’ themes, plugins and WordPress Multisite version in a few clicks.
  • You want to be able to log in once as an administrator, but have access to all your sites instead of having to log into each one separately, especially for testing purposes.
  • In an ideal situation, you want to create a staging site to test and update content.

These are all common ways that users make use of WordPress Multisite. But, you’re by no means limited to any of them. If you think of other ways to use WordPress Multisite, then by all means go for it.

What is WooCommerce Multisite?

WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin, which is a bit of software that extends the functionality of WordPress. If you wanted to use WooCommerce on a WordPress Multisite, it would then be referred to as a WooCommerce Multisite.

You can use the WooCommerce plugin to create a WooCommerce Multisite network.
WooCommerce is a free eCommerce plugin for WordPress.

Does WooCommerce Work on WordPress Multisite?

Yes, WooCommerce is compatible with WordPress Multisite. That means you can certainly create a WooCommerce Multisite where each site in the network can be an online store.

It may be important to note that once WooCommerce Multisite is set up, it works on the network-level.

That means that once you have accessed the plugins page for the network and activated WooCommerce, it’s available across the entire network of sites. Then, you can choose which subsites you want to turn into an online store in one click.

While you can make one, a few or all of your sites an online store within a WooCommerce Multisite setup, each online store is managed independently.

So, if you were hoping to have settings or content synced across all online stores within a WooCommerce Multisite, you will need to find or develop a plugin or WooCommerce extension to achieve this functionality.

Why Use WooCommerce Multisite?

WooCommerce Multisite has similar benefits to WordPress Multisite except you’re able to create a network of online stores.

This means you can create seperate online stores such as for different countries and currencies. If you also want to manage them through one (super) admin account, then WooCommerce Multisite may be the right fit for you.

Practical Ways to Use WooCommerce Multisite

Outside of having multiple online stores for each currency you want to sell in, there may be other ways you may find WooCommerce Multisite useful including the examples below:

  • Create an online mall similar to Amazon with stores that carry different types of products, but are connected to help customers search and find items faster.
  • You could build a WooCommerce Multisite network where users can sign up on the main site to create their own online store to sell items similar to Etsy.
  • If you want to sell different products to distinctly separate audiences, WooCommerce Multisite may be worth considering.
  • Your business may encompass several different brands and you may want to have separate online stores for each of them. For example, if you’re a film studio that wants to sell merchandise for the various films you have created while giving customers a uniquely branded store, then WooCommerce Multisite could be a great option for that.
  • You have so many products and separating them into categories just isn’t enough for your particular needs.
  • You’re a developer and want to create a WooCommerce Multisite so you can manage your clients’ online stores in one place.

These are only some of the ways WooCommerce Multisite may be useful. You’re certainly not limited to these suggestions.

Please note: Each sub-store in a WooCommerce Multisite network would all share the same database. This may pose a security risk. Be sure to take appropriate security precautions if you do decide that WooCommerce Multisite is the right fit for your needs.

How to Install WordPress Multisite and WooCommerce Multisite

Now that you’re more familiar with WordPress Multisite and WooCommerce Multisite, and you decided it’s what you need, it’s time to install them.

While it’s beyond the scope of this article, stay tuned. We’ll be publishing a guide to installing and updating WordPress Multisite and WooCommerce Multisite networks.

In Summary

A WordPress Multisite or WooCommerce Multisite network may not be for everyone. But, when you need it, it’s incredibly beneficial since it can increase your workflow’s efficiency. Ultimately, it can save you tonnes of time.

If you have any questions or you would like help from certified WooCommerce experts to set up your own WooCommerce Multisite network, feel free to contact us.

Do you want to create a WordPress Multisite or WooCommerce Multisite network? Are you unsure of whether you should build one or do you have unanswered questions? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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