WordPress Multisite - Setting up Default Content, Theme, and Plugins

Adding New Sites to Your WordPress Multisite Network

To add a new site to your WordPress multisite network, simply click on ‘Sites’ under My Sites » Network Admin menu in the admin toolbar.

This will show you a list of sites on your current multisite installation. By default, you have your primary site listed as the only site in your WordPress multisite network.

To add a new site, click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top.

On the ‘Add New Site’ page, you need to provide the site’s address. You don’t need to type the full address, just the part you want to use as subdomain or sub-directory.

Next, you need to add a site title, and enter the site admin’s email address.

You can add an admin email address other than the one that you are currently using to manage your multisite network.

If the email address is not currently in use by another user, then WordPress will create a new user and send the username and password to the email address you enter.

Once you are done, click on the ‘Add Site’ button.

A new site will be added to your WordPress multisite network. As the network admin, you will receive a new site registration email as well.

If you created a new user, then that user will receive an email with instructions to set a new password and login.

Adding Themes and Plugins to Your Multisite Network

By default, individual site administrators in a multisite network cannot install themes and plugins on their own.

As the network admin, you can install the respective plugins and themes, so it’s available for all sites on your network.

Installing themes for your multisite network

To add themes, go to My Sites » Network Admin » Themes page.

On this page, you will see a list of currently installed themes on your WordPress multisite.

You can make a theme available to other sites by clicking on ‘Network Enable’ option under that theme. You can also disable a theme by clicking on ‘Network Disable’ link under the theme. Note: Network Disable option will only appear when the theme is enabled.

To add a new theme, you need to click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of your screen and then install a WordPress theme as you would normally do.

Once the new theme is installed, you will be able to make it available to other sites on your network with the ‘Network Enable’ option.

Setting a default theme for your Multisite Network

After you have added a couple of themes, WordPress will still activate the default WordPress theme for each new site.

If you want to make another theme to be the default theme for new sites, then you need to add the following code to your wp-config.php file.

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Replace your-theme with the name of your theme. You will need to use the name of the theme’s folder, which you can find out by looking at the /wp-content/themes/ folder.

Installing plugins for your multisite network

Similarly, you can visit My Sites » Network Admin » Plugins page to install plugins and click on the ‘Network Activate’ link below each plugin to activate them on your multisite network.

Following are a few essential WordPress plugins that we recommend for every website:

  • WPForms – It is the best WordPress contact form plugin and allows you to quickly create beautiful forms using simple drag and drop form builder.
  • Yoast SEO – It is the most comprehensive WordPress SEO plugin on the market and will help you get more visitors from search engines.
  • SeedProd – Site admins may want to see a coming soon page as they work on their sites. SeedProd allows them to add beautiful coming soon and maintainence mode landing pages
  • WP Mail SMTP – WP Mail SMTP helps you fix WordPress not sending email issue by using SMTP server to send crucial multisite registration and notification emails.

For more plugin recommendations, see our list of the essential WordPress plugins for all websites.

Note: If you have enabled the Plugins Menu option for site admins in the ‘Network Settings’ previously, then the site administrators can activate or deactivate installed plugins on their own. Site admins cannot delete or install a new plugin on their own.

Adding Default Content to Multisite Sites

By default, WordPress allows you to edit some default content for each site on your multisite network. You can go to Settings » Network Settings page and add them under the section ‘New site settings’.

You can edit the content for the default post, page, and comment. We recommend replacing the default content with something more useful for your site admins.

What if you wanted additional default content to be added to each new site?

By default, WordPress does not give you an option to create additional default content for new sites. If you want to do that, then you will need to add custom code to your WordPress multisite.

In this example, we are going to add a new default page to be created for each new site.

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You can use the same code with little modifications to create default posts for new sites. Check out the following code:

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