A Collection Of The Best WordPress Multisite Plugins

Posted on May 29, 2014 by in Resources | 42 comments

A Collection Of The Best WordPress Multisite Plugins

WordPress multisite is a fantastic feature that allows you to create a network of virtual sites using one WordPress installation. It is used to power many large websites and blog networks such as BBC America and b5media.

In my last article, I showed you how to install and uninstall WordPress multisite. In this article, I would like to share with you a range of plugins that will help you manage your website network. These plugins enhance your network and extend the functionality available to you and site admin.

* Unless otherwise stated, all plugins listed in this article are free to download.

User Role Editor

I have referenced User Role Editor in many of my articles in the past. It is an essential plugin for me as I need to allow contributors to upload images to articles.

As I noted in my last article, User Role Editor also supports multisite. It can be used to grant users permission to manage your network, install themes, and install plugins. Be sure to test permissions of site administrators so that they do not have access to features they are not supposed to have.

Manage Network Options

User Role Editor allows multisite users to give more control to site admin.

Multisite Plugin Manager

Multisite Plugin Manager expands multisite’s native plugin management functionality. It can be used to automatically activate plugins for new sites in your network.

Network plugins can be activated or deactivated for your whole network at the click of a button. You can also customize the permissions of network plugins.

Multisite Plugin Manager

Multisite Plugin Manager will help you manage plugins within your network.


Menus is a multisite plugin that lets you control what menus and menu items are displayed to users. It is great for restricting what site users can do.


Menus gives you control over what site administrators can do.

User Switching

User Switching allows you to quickly switch to a user’s dashboard and see what they see. It simplifies the process of testing user permissions.

The plugin works with regular WordPress installations and WordPress multisite.

User Switching

User Switching lets you test permissions at the click of a button.

Network Shared Media

The default set up of WordPress multisite does allow users to access media that has been uploaded to other sites in the network. Network Shared Media addresses this problem by allowing you to access images that have been uploaded on other network sites.

Network Shared Media

Network Shared Media is a practical solution for companies who use WordPress multisite.

Multisite User Management

Multisite User Management allows new users to be automatically assigned specific roles on your network sites. For example, you could assign users to your network websites so that they can comment on one blog and publish posts in another.

Multisite User Management

Multisite User Management lets you assign users to multiple network sites.

Pro Sites ($19)

WPMU’s Pro Sites plugin can be used to create your very own premium blog network; just like WordPress.com. It allows you to charge users for additional services such as using premium themes and premium plugins, extra storage, domain mapping, and advertising.

It integrates with BuddyPress and there is an option to disable a blog until the customer has paid. Think of Pro Sites as a membership plugin that was created specifically for WordPress multisite.

Pro Sites

Pro Sites can be used to build a profitable blog network.

Recent Network Posts

Another useful plugin from WPMU. Recent Network Posts lets you display a list of the latest posts from your network on your main site.

The plugin lets you choose how many posts to display, the size of avatars, and the number of characters to display for post titles.

Recent Network Posts

Recent Network Posts is a great tool for showing the latest activity from your network.

Multisite Global Search

Multisite Global Search lets visitors search through your whole network via a search widget. You can search by post title, post content, or post author.

Search results are displayed on a dedicated page using the shortcode [multisite_search_result] and the style for the widget and results page can be customized.

Multisite Global Search

Multisite Global Search allows visitors to search your whole network.

WP Security Audit Log

WP Security Audit Log is a great security plugin that works on regular WordPress installations and on multisite websites. It keeps a log of every action across your network such as when someone uploads a file, when someone logs in, when someone deletes a comment, and when someone fails to login.

All of this information can be used to track suspicious activity. Alerts can also be set up to warn you of specific events.

WP Security Audit Log

WP Security Audit Log will help you monitor activity across your network.

The Best of the Rest…

Here are some more multisite plugins that you may find useful:

  • Multisite Enhancements – Enhances your network with additional functionality such as additional menu links and the option to show which sites plugins and themes are using.
  • Disable Comments – Lets you disable comments for all posts or post types in a network.
  • Multisite Admin Bar Tweaks – A basic plugin that adds additional links to your admin menu.
  • Organizational Message Notifier – Allows you to send messages to network site owners. Admin will see your messages until they mark them as read.
  • Multisite Plugin Stats – Shows you what plugins are activated across your network.

Be sure to check whether the plugins you use regularly on your normal WordPress website offer support for multisite. Many plugins do, such as W3 Total Cache, Jetpack by WordPress.com, Gravity Forms, and Simplified Social Sharing.

Do you know of any great multisite plugins that did not make this list? If so, please feel free to share them in the comment area.

Article thumbnail image by Bloom Design / shutterstock.com

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  1. I’ve always been a fan of using the Role Editor plugin because it allows me to let people add content to client sites securely. The user switching plugin looks like it has the potential to be a huge time-saver. Ill have to check it out.

  2. Awesome list guys! I love the Pro Sites idea.

  3. Does Recent Network Posts will work with Divi blog (grid) module? I would like to know before buy Divi. It’s very important to me. Please anwser.

  4. Kevin,

    Having many sites doesn’t necessarily mean you can have a single sign-in. Any plugins you’d recommend to make membership throughout multisite transparent?

      • No, that’s not the case. Consider the sites that use multi-site and you can see where having that as the default would be problematic. There are, or have been plugins to help resolve the issue, and I believe one or two of the membership plugins also accomplish this, but it can be tricky and generally requires you (at least it used to) to set a default, and at that, the user needs to sign in at the primary site, so the default login for all of the multi sites needs to be the main site. It can be quirky as to where you end up after loggin in, or at least it was. Been a while since I’ve used Multi, mostly because of the absence of a comprehensive login. I was hoping this has changed but I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest it has.

        • I assumed it would be more of a cookie issue as regardless of where someone signs in, they are all accessing the same database. So a cookie would ensure the user would not have to login again.

  5. Excellent post, specially like Network Shared Media, Prosites, multisite global search and WP Security Audit Log. Thanks for share Kevin

  6. Thanks so much so far.

    Would it be possible to say some things to buddy-press functionality as well and if or which elegant themes are compatible with multisite and/or buddy-press?

    I would very much appreciate that as I do appreciate the great series of informative articles here on this blog already!

    • We could definitely do some BuddyPress tutorials in the future. Most designs do not support BuddyPress natively, so you need to modify templates etc. Though there are a growing number of designs that do offer BuddyPress capabilities.

      • By the way, since BuddyPress revamped their platform, they purport compatibility with all themes. I have been able to use BuddyPress on all of the new themes. I think BuddyPress still has a ways to go before coming up to the graphic standards set by ET, so it may take some CSS modification to make it visually compatible.

        • I didn’t realise they had revamped it. I have written some articles on it over the years. It was originally quite buggy, but they improved it a lot.

        • I agree with you Bob, using ET themes to power buddypress will require some middle to advance skills in WordPress however, ET support got your back to flex that.

  7. Elegant Themes Staff:

    I know this is not the usual place to handle this, but I’ve received NO response to my three separate messages to you, so I have no choice but to reach out to you here:

    I emailed a subscription cancellation and REFUND request on 05/27/2014 Tue to both:
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    I signed up for the Personal Plan on 05/06/2014, so it’s well within your 30-day refund period. Your refund policy specifically states:

    “We offer no-questions-asked refunds to all customers within 30 days of your purchase. If you are not satisfied with our product, then simply send us an email and we will refund your purchase right away. Our goal has always been to create a happy, thriving community. If you are not thrilled with the product or are not enjoying the experience, then we have no interest in forcing you to stay an unhappy member.”

    It’s now 05/29/2014 and I have NOT received ANY email letting me know my $69 refund has been processed or is going to get done soon. I appreciate that you might be busy, but I would really like an indication that you agree to refund me and that it’s going to get done.

    Please let me know: Is my $69 refund request being processed?

    AGAIN – I’ve tried to reach you three different times – via email, in the support forum, and on your Web site contact form – and have received NO replies regarding my refund request. So I hope I can reach you here and PLEASE respond and refund me.


    • I see you requested your refund a little over 1 day ago (May 27, 2014 05:01 PM PDT), and your request will be answered in the order received. We are just catching up on emails from the holiday weekend.

      • Nick – Thanks for your reply. I wasn’t trying to unduly pester you or your staff. I didn’t get any acknowledgment and was starting to feel my refund request was being ignored – that’s all.

        Thanks for your reply.

  8. The ET blog is fast becoming my go-to point for many questions I have about WordPress due to fantastic articles such as these. I find the topics cover all (and then some) of my questions.

  9. Perhaps this is a very basic question, how do I get the highest cash from multisite website.
    thank you

    • I have no idea what you are talking about Hidayat πŸ™‚

      Sorry, can you clarify your question for me πŸ™‚

      • Sorry, the question is less clear πŸ™‚

        I just wanted to ask, how do I get money from a website multisite

  10. Great information Kevin, atleast two of them will help me immediately.

    Thanks πŸ™‚

  11. Hey Kevin, Nice information, thanks for sharing

  12. Another great article, thank you. I used already used “Network Shared Media” but it has the disadvantage of not sharing the images featured. Also on multisite, there is an excellent tool for languages​​ is “Multisite Language Switcher”. This plugin is very good alternative for multilingual sites. It is a true multi language, free, leveraged for SEO if you use hreflang in functions.php.

  13. Hi,
    Great post really loved it. I have been looking around web on how to make my networks sub-site admins to login to their dashboard from my networks home domain.
    Like having global Login on parent domain like wordpress.com does..

    Help will be appreciated.


  14. Some of the plugins are new for me. Thanks for sharing the list.

  15. You’re welcome guys. Glad you found the post useful πŸ™‚

  16. I use Manager which allows me to access all my sites from a single dahlia Rd and do across the board updates. Very user friendly.

  17. That self corrected. I meant ManageWP

  18. I’m not quite understanding the functionality of the “Network Shared Media” plugin. Above, you mention that the default WP setup does allow users to access media across the network, and that this plugin then does the same thing? Is this a typo, or am I misunderstanding how this plugin works?
    Basically, what is the WordPress multisite default for media sharing across sites, and what does this plugin do specifically?

  19. Thanks for the informative post.

    I’ve spent the past 5 months setting up a multisite (on hostgator). Though, just as I was about to launch it, I discovered that I needed a dedicated IP address. In order to get a dedicated IP address on Hostgator you need to purchase a Wildcard SSL which on my reseller account costs $425 per year (plus $2 a month for the dedicated IP address) which was an unexpected cost.

    I then found out that Hostgator customers who have the “Baby Hosting Plan” which costs $6.36 a month get the Wildcard SSL for $159 a year. So, myself as a reseller customer who pays $24.95 a month, which is 4 times more than Baby Hosting, has to pay $266 a year more than Baby Hosting customers. I’ve been with hostgator for years but this “unfair pricing” made me look elsewhere for hosting.

    I’ve been looking at Godaddy’s Ultimate hosting package (Β£4.99 a month) which includes the Wildcard SSL for free. After speaking with the really nice support person at Godaddy, I’m very tempted to transfer over to them. I’m initially a little worried because their reputation wasn’t good a few years back, but they seem to have improved.

    If anyone has had any experience with Godaddy, please let me know your opinions. Do you think they are a good choice for a multisite? I don’t need a reseller account because I have under 40 clients and none of them have ever asked for their cPanel details. I provide WP sites for very small businesses (mostly yoga teachers).

    • Are you sure that it is a requirement of wordpress multisite or is it just a HostGator requirement? A dedicated IP? I dont have one on mine, just seems like an odd requirement. Probably because they only allow one domain on their hatchling – I stopped using HostGator after they started cheating me out of affiliate commissions.

    • Hi, I know this comment is from a while back so you’ve likely already found a solution, but I wanted to clarify for anyone who may be coming across this.

      WordPress MultiSite itself doesn’t require a dedicated IP address. It’s only if you want to use a domain mapping plugin so that sub-sites can have their own domain name that you need a dedicated IP address.

      To get a dedicated IP address, most hosts require you to get an SSL certificate because of the shortage of IP addresses today. An SSL certificate is usually the only justification for having a dedicated IP address, even if you don’t need an SSL.

      However, you don’t need a wildcard SSL if you’re only getting it to get a dedicated IP. If you don’t need SSL on your sub-sites then that’s a waste of money. In fact, in most cases you can get a really basic SSL from a third-party service and just have your host install it and that will satisfy this requirement. I did this recently and the SSL was somewhere around $11 (I used NameCheap).

      Keep in mind, this is for a site where I don’t need SSL. I’m not taking credit card payments or other sensitive information. I don’t have any links that are https://. The only reason I needed an SSL certificate was so I could get a dedicated IP address so I can use domain mapping. That being the case, I went the cheapest route possible.

      If you actually need SSL for something, then this route likely isn’t best for you. But you don’t need wildcard SSL if the sub-sites don’t need to process sensitive information.

  20. Hi,
    Some great plugin recommendations here. Do you happen to know of a plugin that would allow you to manage widgets across a multi-site WP install? I have about 20 sub sites and it’s so tedious updating widgets.


  21. Hi Kevin,

    Great list you have compiled here, I’ve installed some of them to try them out on my new multisite network.

    I don’t suppose you, or anyone, would know of a plugin that would force sites in my network to display ads without the site owner being able to remove them?

  22. I would love to know what plug ins sites like NT Times Blogs uses to streamline everything. I just want a network of streamlined blogs – everyone the same with the exception of blog name and logo – im open to suggestions from anyone!

  23. Hello guys! Does anybody know about a plugin to send email notifications to every user in a multisite? The great Network Mass Email and Organizational Message Notifier does not work anymore with WP>3.9 πŸ™

  24. Hi Kevin,

    Great article, very useful. Wondering what your thoughts on network activated plugins is? I find I dont have much controle over which of my sites enables which plugin. Im finding every plugin I upload appears in every sites dashboard which leads to excess clutter. Correct me if Im wrong but wouldnt this also lead to slower sites? As in dont someplugins automatically add Javascript/some form of code which could lead to bloated sites?

    Also what are some reccomendations for a secure multisite install? Its pretty stressfull knowing one vulnerability and your whole network is down, especially considering many plugins are the cause of vulnerabilities.

    Sorry for the wall of text, your article was genuinely awesome haha

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