Thanks to WordPress’ multisite option, you can create a network of sites using a single WordPress installation. It’s a fantastic feature that powers some of the biggest sites in the world, including WordPress.com, Reuters blogs, and BBC America.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the best WordPress multisite plugins that you can use to take your network to the next level. To select these tools, we’ve considered their use cases, feature sets, ratings and reviews, support options, and update histories.
Let’s get to it!
1. User Role Editor
Custom user roles play a significant role in many WordPress websites. If you have one site on your network that serves as a store and another designed for blogging, you’re going to want different user roles for each project. Entering each site to manage individual roles can take up a lot of time, however, particularly as your user base grows.
With User Role Editor, you can create custom roles and tweak permissions and capabilities for existing ones. This plugin also enables you to configure the default roles for new users across the entire network:
If you use the premium version of User Role Editor, you’ll be able to edit user roles for the network from your multisite admin dashboard. You can also export and import user roles from one website to another within the network.
- Add custom user roles to your WordPress installations
- Tweak the permissions and capabilities for existing user roles
- Set a default user role for sites within the multisite network
- Edit user roles across the entire network
- Import and export user data across websites
User Role Editor is for you if…
…your multisite network includes a broad variety of website types, and you’re looking to use a wide range of user roles.
Price: Free, with premium licenses starting at $29 per year | More Information
2. User Switching
User Switching can be a lifesaver if you have a lot of registered users across multiple websites. With this plugin, you’ll be able to switch to other user accounts with a single click of a button from the Users tab in your dashboard. The plugin works with multisite, which means you can use it to switch to user accounts throughout your entire network from the admin area.
This plugin can help immensely when it comes to troubleshooting errors for specific users. You can also switch to other accounts to test new features on your website, and make sure everything is working correctly.
It’s worth noting that only administrators or super administrators have the option to switch to other user accounts. This plugin lets you change back to your original account at any time, and it doesn’t reveal passwords (so it doesn’t interfere with users’ privacy).
- Switch to other user accounts within your multisite network
- Only enable administrators or super administrators to access other user accounts
User Switching is for you if…
…you want to troubleshoot errors or bugs across your entire multisite network. In many cases, errors will only appear for specific user roles, which makes User Switching an invaluable tool. You can also use this WordPress multisite plugin to determine whether specific features are working correctly on one of your sites.
Price: Free | More Information
3. Multisite Language Switcher
If you want to run a multisite network that includes multilingual websites, Multisite Language Switcher will come in handy. This WordPress multisite plugin enables you to set default front end and admin languages for each site. You can also display a language switcher widget or block that visitors can use if the content they’re seeing is available in more than one language.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to translate content on your own for the language switcher to work. Moreover, the plugin doesn’t offer configuration options within the multisite admin area. Instead, you can decide which languages to use and how to display the switcher on a site-by-site basis.
- Enable multilingual support for all the sites within your network
- Add a language switcher to each website using blocks or widgets
- Set default front and admin languages for each website
- Create different versions of each page or post in multiple languages
Multisite Language Switcher is for you if…
…you want to add multilingual support for all of the sites in your network. The plugin is also perfect if you want to use different languages for each site, as it gives you full control over each project’s settings.
Price: Free | More Information
4. LiteSpeed Cache
Leveraging browser caching is a key step to optimizing WordPress sites. However, not all WordPress caching solutions offer multisite support. LiteSpeed Cache is one of the few plugins that do, and it provides you with a broad range of network-wide options for WordPress optimization.
With this plugin, you can enable browser caching across your entire network with a click. LiteSpeed Cache also lets you configure the cache to purge when you update plugins, themes, or WordPress itself across the network:
You’ll also get access to a variety of other useful features. That includes tools to “clean” each site’s database within your network. You can also use the plugin to automatically convert images to the .webp format as you upload them, which can help lower loading times even further. However, not all browsers are compatible with .webp, so we recommend using that setting on a site-by-site basis.
- Enable caching for all the sites in your network
- Configure cache purging options for your multisite network
- Convert new images to the .webp format after uploading them
- Clean the databases for each site in your network
LiteSpeed Cache is for you if…
…you want to enable browser caching across your multisite network using a plugin. You can also do so manually, but that means configuring settings for each site individually.
Price: Free, with premium plans starting at $10 per month | More Information
5. All-in-One WP Migration
Let’s start by saying that there are no free options when it comes to migrating multisite networks with plugins. You can always migrate a network or export individual sites manually. However, WordPress migration plugins such as All-in-One WP Migration only offer multisite support as a paid add-on.
With All-in-One WP Migration’s multisite extension, you’ll be able to move your network from one web host to another. The plugin also lets you export individual or multiple sites in one go. The same system can be used to import sites from one network to another.
All-in-One WP Migration also includes a cloning feature that lets you duplicate sites within a network, which can come in handy for staging purposes. If you use that extension as part of a network, it offers support for unlimited sites.
- Migrate multisite networks from one web host to another
- Import and export individual or multiple sites from a network
- Clone websites within a network
All-in-One WP Migration is for you if…
…you don’t want to migrate your network manually, and your new web hosting provider doesn’t offer that service. If you need to use a migration plugin for multisite networks, this is the best option available.
Price: All-in-One WP Migration’s Multisite Extension starts at $199 | More Information
6. WP Activity Log
This WordPress multisite plugin helps you keep track of everything that happens on your network. WP Activity Log sets up a log that keeps records of events such as new sites on your network, when users register, when you change their user roles, when plugins are updated, and much more:
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that few things get past WP Activity Log. You can even use it to monitor attempts to log into your website, which can help you figure out if someone is trying to force their way through the WordPress login page.
- Monitor activity within your multisite network (as well as individual sites)
- Track almost any event that happens on each website, from plugin activations to new user registrations and logins
WP Activity Log is for you if…
…you want to know everything that happens on your network and you don’t mind navigating logs. If you run a multisite network without user registrations or too many sites, you might not need an activity log, but it’s still not a bad idea to have one in place.
Price: Free, with premium licenses starting at $99 per year | More Information
WordPress multisite already offers a powerful tool set on its own. Using it, you’ll be able to set up an entire network of websites with just a single WordPress installation. However, running a lot of sites at once brings its own set of challenges, which is where WordPress multisite plugins come in.
Thanks to solutions such as User Role Editor and User Switching, you’ll be able to manage users across your network more effectively. With LiteSpeed Cache, you can leverage browser caching for multiple sites and optimize their databases. What’s more, a tool like WP Activity Log helps you keep track of everything that happens on your network.
Do you have any questions about how to manage a WordPress multisite network? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Featured Image via filborg / shutterstock.com
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