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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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