Moving a WordPress Multisite Network

WordPress Multisite is a very powerful tool. It allows you to manage multiple WordPress sites from a single admin panel.

Pages and posts on each site are still managed separately, but themes, plugins, backups and security are managed centrally. This makes it much easier to manage a group of related websites.

In addition to the basic Multisite capabilities, I highly recommend a few plugins that extend the multisite paradigm:

  • Network Shared Media – allows you to share media files across your websites.
  • Multisite Plugin Manager – improves plugin management; allows you to mass activate/deactivate plugins across your network of sites.
  • Multisite User Sync – synchronizes users across your network of sites.

The downside of WordPress Multisite is that moving a multisite network from one hosting server to another can be difficult.

I recently moved a network of websites ( and 18 associated sites) from BlueHost to SiteGround. I found a pretty painless, step-but-step process for making the move, which I describe below.

  1. Go to your current Multisite dashboard. Install and activate the UpdraftPlus Premium plugin. This is a paid plugin… but believe me, it’s worth it!
  2. Do a complete backup of your website, and download all the files to your desktop computer.
  3. Go to your new host. Add the domain for the root (or original) site of your multisite network.
  4. Change the DNS pointers to your root site to point to the new hosting server, and wait for the changes to propagate.
  5. Go to the control panel for your new host. Install WordPress, and be sure to check the “enable multisite” checkbox.
  6. Install and activate the UpdraftPlus Premium plugin on the new host.
  7. Upload the backup files from your desktop computer, and run a restore.
  8. Verify that the root site is working correctly on your new server.
  9. For each of the additional sites in your multisite network:
    • Add the domains on your new server; point them to the base domain directory.
    • Change the DNS pointers for each of the additional domains.
  10. Don’t forget that, if you have email accounts associated with the domains in your network, you’ll need to move the email accounts to your new hosting service as well.