Deploy your Bitnami WordPress Multisite Stack on Microsoft Azure now! Launch Now

Bitnami WordPress Multisite for Microsoft Azure

IMPORTANT: WordPress Multisite requires that you use different domain names for each site. In order to make it works, we configure a transparent xip.io domain to the current IP address. Without this, you may get a "Cookies are blocked or not supported by your browser. You must enable cookies to use WordPress" error message. In any case, it is highly advisable to use domain names instead of IP addresses when connecting to the application through a browser. Learn how to configure WordPress Multisite domains.

Description

Wordpress is the world's most popular blogging and content management platform. With WordPress Multisite, conserve resources by managing multiple blogs and websites from the same server and interface.

First steps with the Bitnami WordPress Multisite Stack

Welcome to your new Bitnami application running on Microsoft Azure! Here are a few questions (and answers!) you might need when first starting with your application.

What credentials do I need?

You need two sets of credentials:

  • The application credentials that allow you to log in to your new Bitnami application. These credentials consist of a username and password.
  • The server credentials that allow you to log in to your Microsoft Azure server using an SSH client and execute commands on the server using the command line. These credentials consist of an SSH username and key.

What is the administrator username set for me to log in to the application for the first time?

Username: user

What SSH username should I use for secure shell access to my application?

SSH username: bitnami

What are the default ports?

A port is an endpoint of communication in an operating system that identifies a specific process or a type of service. Bitnami stacks include several services or servers that require a port.

IMPORTANT: Making this application's network ports public is a significant security risk. You are strongly advised to only allow access to those ports from trusted networks. If, for development purposes, you need to access from outside of a trusted network, please do not allow access to those ports via a public IP address. Instead, use a secure channel such as a VPN or an SSH tunnel. Follow these instructions to remotely connect safely and reliably.

Port 22 is the default port for SSH connections.

Bitnami opens some ports for the main servers. These are the ports opened by default: 80, 443.

How to start or stop the services?

Each Bitnami stack includes a control script that lets you easily stop, start and restart services. The script is located at /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh. Call it without any service name arguments to start all services:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh start

Or use it to restart a single service, such as Apache only, by passing the service name as argument:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh restart apache

Use this script to stop all services:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh stop

Restart the services by running the script without any arguments:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh restart

Obtain a list of available services and operations by running the script without any arguments:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh

How to access the administration panel?

Access the administration panel by browsing to http://SERVER-IP/wp-admin/.

How to configure outbound email settings?

You can install or enable the "WP Mail SMTP" plugin from the WordPress administration page. Follow these steps to activate this plugin.

  • Log in to the WordPress administration panel.
  • Navigate to "Plugins" and click the "Activate" option for the "WP-Mail-SMTP" plugin.

    Activate WP-Mail-SMTP

  • Go to the "Settings -> WP Mail SMTP" panel and the "Settings" tab to configure the SMTP settings of your email provider. Select "Other SMTP" as the mailer.

    Mailer selection

  • Here is an example of configuring WordPress to use a Gmail account. Replace USERNAME and PASSWORD with your Gmail account username and password respectively.
    • SMTP Host: smtp.gmail.com
    • SMTP Port: 587
    • Encryption: Use TLS encryption.
    • Authentication: On
    • SMTP Username: USERNAME@gmail.com
    • SMTP Password: PASSWORD

      WordPress SMTP Options

    If you are using a different provider, remember to replace these values with the valid data for your SMTP provider.

  • Click "Save Settings" to save the changes.
  • Send a test email using the "Email Test" tab to ensure that everything is working smoothly.

To configure the application to use other third-party SMTP services for outgoing email, such as SendGrid or Mandrill, refer to the FAQ.

NOTE: If you are using Gmail as the outbound email server and have experienced issues trying to send emails correctly, check the How to troubleshoot Gmail SMTP issues to learn the causes of these issues and how to solve them.

How to create a full backup of WordPress Multisite?

Backup

The Bitnami WordPress Multisite Stack is self-contained and the simplest option for performing a backup is to copy or compress the Bitnami stack installation directory. To do so in a safe manner, you will need to stop all servers, so this method may not be appropriate if you have people accessing the application continuously.

Follow these steps:

  • Change to the directory in which you wish to save your backup:

      $ cd /your/directory
    
  • Stop all servers:

      $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh stop
    
  • Create a compressed file with the stack contents:

      $ sudo tar -pczvf application-backup.tar.gz /opt/bitnami
    
  • Restart all servers:

      $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh start
    

You should now download or transfer the application-backup.tar.gz file to a safe location.

Restore

Follow these steps:

  • Change to the directory containing your backup:

      $ cd /your/directory
    
  • Stop all servers:

      $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh stop
    
  • Move the current stack to a different location:

      $ sudo mv /opt/bitnami /tmp/bitnami-backup
    
  • Uncompress the backup file to the original directoryv

      $ sudo tar -pxzvf application-backup.tar.gz -C /
    
  • Start all servers:

      $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh start
    

If you want to create only a database backup, refer to these instructions for MySQL and PostgreSQL.

How to generate and install a Let's Encrypt SSL certificate for a Bitnami application?

If you wish to use a Let's Encrypt certificate with WordPress, you will find detailed instructions in our Let's Encrypt guide.

How to create an SSL certificate?

OpenSSL is required to create an SSL certificate. A certificate request can then be sent to a certificate authority (CA) to get it signed into a certificate, or if you have your own certificate authority, you may sign it yourself, or you can use a self-signed certificate (because you just want a test certificate or because you are setting up your own CA).

Follow the steps below:

  • Generate a new private key:

     $ sudo openssl genrsa -out /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key 2048
    
  • Create a certificate:

     $ sudo openssl req -new -key /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key -out /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/cert.csr
    
    IMPORTANT: Enter the server domain name when the above command asks for the "Common Name".
  • Send cert.csr to the certificate authority. When the certificate authority completes their checks (and probably received payment from you), they will hand over your new certificate to you.

  • Until the certificate is received, create a temporary self-signed certificate:

     $ sudo openssl x509 -in /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/cert.csr -out /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.crt -req -signkey /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key -days 365
    
  • Back up your private key in a safe location after generating a password-protected version as follows:

     $ sudo openssl rsa -des3 -in /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key -out privkey.pem
    

    Note that if you use this encrypted key in the Apache configuration file, it will be necessary to enter the password manually every time Apache starts. Regenerate the key without password protection from this file as follows:

     $ sudo openssl rsa -in privkey.pem -out /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key
    

Find more information about certificates at http://www.openssl.org.

How to enable HTTPS support with SSL certificates?

TIP: If you wish to use a Let's Encrypt certificate, you will find specific instructions for enabling HTTPS support with Let's Encrypt SSL certificates in our Let's Encrypt guide.
NOTE: The steps below assume that you are using a custom domain name and that you have already configured the custom domain name to point to your cloud server.

Bitnami images come with SSL support already pre-configured and with a dummy certificate in place. Although this dummy certificate is fine for testing and development purposes, you will usually want to use a valid SSL certificate for production use. You can either generate this on your own (explained here) or you can purchase one from a commercial certificate authority.

Once you obtain the certificate and certificate key files, you will need to update your server to use them. Follow these steps to activate SSL support:

  • Use the table below to identify the correct locations for your certificate and configuration files.

    Variable Value
    Current application URL https://[custom-domain]/
      Example: https://my-domain.com/ or https://my-domain.com/appname
    Apache configuration file /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/bitnami/bitnami.conf
    Certificate file /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.crt
    Certificate key file /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key
    CA certificate bundle file (if present) /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server-ca.crt
  • Copy your SSL certificate and certificate key file to the specified locations.

    NOTE: If you use different names for your certificate and key files, you should reconfigure the SSLCertificateFile and SSLCertificateKeyFile directives in the corresponding Apache configuration file to reflect the correct file names.
  • If your certificate authority has also provided you with a PEM-encoded Certificate Authority (CA) bundle, you must copy it to the correct location in the previous table. Then, modify the Apache configuration file to include the following line below the SSLCertificateKeyFile directive. Choose the correct directive based on your scenario and Apache version:

    Variable Value
    Apache configuration file /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/bitnami/bitnami.conf
    Directive to include (Apache v2.4.8+) SSLCACertificateFile "/opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server-ca.crt"
    Directive to include (Apache < v2.4.8) SSLCertificateChainFile "/opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server-ca.crt"
    NOTE: If you use a different name for your CA certificate bundle, you should reconfigure the SSLCertificateChainFile or SSLCACertificateFile directives in the corresponding Apache configuration file to reflect the correct file name.
  • Once you have copied all the server certificate files, you may make them readable by the root user only with the following commands:

     $ sudo chown root:root /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server*
    
     $ sudo chmod 600 /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server*
    
  • Open port 443 in the server firewall. Refer to the FAQ for more information.

  • Restart the Apache server.

You should now be able to access your application using an HTTPS URL.

How to force HTTPS redirection with Apache?

Add the following lines in the default Apache virtual host configuration file at /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/bitnami/bitnami.conf, inside the default VirtualHost directive, so that it looks like this:

<VirtualHost _default_:80>
  DocumentRoot "/opt/bitnami/apache2/htdocs"
  RewriteEngine On
  RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
  RewriteRule ^/(.*) https://%{SERVER_NAME}/$1 [R,L]
  ...
</VirtualHost>

After modifying the Apache configuration files:

  • Open port 443 in the server firewall. Refer to the FAQ for more information.

  • Restart Apache to apply the changes.

How to debug Apache errors?

Once Apache starts, it will create two log files at /opt/bitnami/apache2/logs/access_log and /opt/bitnami/apache2/logs/error_log respectively.

  • The access_log file is used to track client requests. When a client requests a document from the server, Apache records several parameters associated with the request in this file, such as: the IP address of the client, the document requested, the HTTP status code, and the current time.

  • The error_log file is used to record important events. This file includes error messages, startup messages, and any other significant events in the life cycle of the server. This is the first place to look when you run into a problem when using Apache.

If no error is found, you will see a message similar to:

Syntax OK

How to create a Virtual Network peering?

To connect two instances internally you can enable a Virtual Network (VNet) peering from the Azure Portal. Depending if the instances were launched in the same or in different resource groups, there are two methods for performing a internal connection: sharing a virtual network or enabling a virtual network peering.

How to find the MySQL database credentials?

How to connect to the MySQL database?

You can connect to the MySQL database from the same computer where it is installed with the mysql client tool.

$ mysql -u root -p

You will be prompted to enter the root user password. This is the same as the application password.

How to debug errors in your database?

The main log file is created at /opt/bitnami/mysql/data/mysqld.log on the MySQL database server host.

How to change the MySQL root password?

You can modify the MySQL password using the following command at the shell prompt. Replace the NEW_PASSWORD placeholder with the actual password you wish to set.

$ /opt/bitnami/mysql/bin/mysqladmin -p -u root password NEW_PASSWORD

How to reset the MySQL root password?

If you don't remember your MySQL root password, you can follow the steps below to reset it to a new value:

  • Create a file in /home/bitnami/mysql-init with the content shown below (replace NEW_PASSWORD with the password you wish to use):

     UPDATE mysql.user SET Password=PASSWORD('NEW_PASSWORD') WHERE User='root';
     FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
    

    If your stack ships MySQL v5.7.x, use the following content instead of that shown above:

     UPDATE mysql.user SET authentication_string=PASSWORD('NEW_PASSWORD') WHERE User='root';
     FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
    
    TIP: Check the MySQL version with the command /opt/bitnami/mysql/bin/mysqladmin --version or /opt/bitnami/mysql/bin/mysqld --version.
  • Stop the MySQL server:

     $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh stop mysql
    
  • Start MySQL with the following command:

     $ sudo /opt/bitnami/mysql/bin/mysqld_safe --pid-file=/opt/bitnami/mysql/data/mysqld.pid --datadir=/opt/bitnami/mysql/data --init-file=/home/bitnami/mysql-init 2> /dev/null &
    
  • Restart the MySQL server:

     $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh restart mysql
    
  • Remove the script:

     $ rm /home/bitnami/mysql-init
    

How to access phpMyAdmin?

For security reasons, phpMyAdmin is accessible only when using 127.0.0.1 as the hostname. To access it from a remote system, you must create an SSH tunnel that routes requests to the Web server from 127.0.0.1. This implies that you must be able to connect to your server over SSH in order to access these applications remotely.

IMPORTANT: Before following the steps below, ensure that your Web and database servers are running.
NOTE: The steps below suggest using port 8888 for the SSH tunnel. If this port is already in use by another application on your local machine, replace it with any other port number greater than 1024 and modify the steps below accordingly. Similarly, if you have enabled Varnish, your stack's Web server might be running on port 81. In this case, modify the steps below to use port 81 instead of port 80 for the tunnel endpoint.

Accessing phpMyAdmin on Windows

Watch the following video to access phpMyAdmin on Windows through an SSH tunnel using a private key:

TIP: Refer to these instructions to learn how to obtain your private key.

In order to access phpMyAdmin via SSH tunnel you need an SSH client. In the instructions below we have selected PuTTY, a free SSH client for Windows and UNIX platforms. The first step is having PuTTY configured. Please, check how to configure it in the section how to connect to the server through SSH using an SSH client on Windows.

Once you have your SSH client correctly configured and you tested that you can successfully access to your instance via SSH, you need to create an SSH tunnel in order to access phpMyAdmin. For doing so, follow these steps:

  • In the "Connection -> SSH -> Tunnels" section, add a new forwarded port by introducing the following values:

    • Source port: 8888
    • Destination: localhost:80

    This will create a secure tunnel by forwarding a port (the "destination port") on the remote server to a port (the "source port") on the local host (127.0.0.1 or localhost).

  • Click the "Add" button to add the secure tunnel configuration to the session. (You'll see the added port in the list of "Forwarded ports").

    PuTTY configuration

  • In the "Session" section, save your changes by clicking the "Save" button.
  • Click the "Open" button to open an SSH session to the server. The SSH session will now include a secure SSH tunnel between the two specified ports.
  • Access the phpMyAdmin console through the secure SSH tunnel you created, by browsing to http://127.0.0.1:8888/phpmyadmin.
  • Log in to phpMyAdmin by using the following credentials:

    • Username: root
    • Password: application password. (Refer to our FAQ to learn how to find your application credentials).

Here is an example of what you should see:

Access phpMyAdmin

If you are unable to access phpMyAdmin, verify that the SSH tunnel was created by checking the PuTTY event log (accessible via the "Event Log" menu):

PuTTY configuration

Accessing phpMyAdmin on Linux and Mac OS X

To access the application using your Web browser, create an SSH tunnel, as described below.

  • Open a new terminal window on your local system (for example, using "Finder -> Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal" in Mac OS X or the Dash in Ubuntu).
  • You have two options to configure the SSH tunnel: connect to the server using a private key (recommended) or connect to the server using a SSH password. Follow the instructions below per each option:

    • Option 1: Connect to the server using a private key

      • Make sure that you have your SSH credentials (.pem key file) in hand.
      • Run the following command to configure the SSH tunnel. Remember to replace KEYFILE with the path to your private key and SERVER-IP with the public IP address or hostname of your server:

          $ ssh -N -L 8888:127.0.0.1:80 -i KEYFILE bitnami@SERVER-IP
        
    • Option 2: Connect to the server using a SSH password

      • Run the following command, remembering to replace SERVER-IP with the public IP address or hostname of your server. Enter your SSH password when prompted.

         $ ssh -N -L 8888:127.0.0.1:80 bitnami@SERVER-IP
        
NOTE: If successful, the above commands will create an SSH tunnel but will not display any output on the server console.
  • Access the phpMyAdmin console through the secure SSH tunnel you created, by browsing to http://127.0.0.1:8888/phpmyadmin.
  • Log in to phpMyAdmin by using the following credentials:

    • Username: root
    • Password: application password. (Refer to our FAQ to learn how to find your application credentials).

Here is an example of what you should see:

Access phpMyAdmin

How to modify PHP settings for Apache?

The PHP configuration file allows you to configure the modules enabled, the email settings or the size of the upload files. It is located at /opt/bitnami/php/etc/php.ini.

For example, to modify the default upload limit for PHP, update the PHP configuration file following these instructions.

After modifying the PHP configuration file, restart both Apache and PHP-FPM for the changes to take effect:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh restart apache
$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh restart php-fpm

How to modify the allowed limit for uploaded files in Apache?

Modify the following options in the /opt/bitnami/php/etc/php.ini file to increase the allowed size for uploads:

; Maximum size of POST data that PHP will accept.
post_max_size = 16M

; Maximum allowed size for uploaded files.
upload_max_filesize = 16M

Restart PHP-FPM and Apache for the changes to take effect.

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh restart apache
$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh restart php-fpm    

How to upload files to the server with SFTP?

Although you can use any SFTP/SCP client to transfer files to your server, the link below explains how to configure FileZilla (Windows, Linux and Mac OS X), WinSCP (Windows) and Cyberduck (Mac OS X). It is required to use your server's private SSH key to configure the SFTP client properly. Choose your preferred application and follow the steps in the link below to connect to the server through SFTP.

How to upload files to the server

Accessing WordPress Multisite using an IP address

WordPress Multisite needs to configure a domain to work properly. Bitnami WordPress Multisite stack is configured to be accessible using an IP address. In order to make it works, we have associated a transparent xip.io domain to the current IP address.

Troubleshooting

If you are using an IP address to access to your stack, and you get into troubles, check if 'xip.io' is alive; if the site is down, you must configure a domain as explained in the corresponding section.

How to add more than one user to the Apache authentication file?

Follow these steps:

  • Create a group file. This group file associates a group name with a list of persons in that group and has the following syntax.

     GroupName: bitnami user admin user2
    
  • Add the user(s) to your password file:

     $ htpasswd /path/to/your/password/file user2
    
  • Modify the Apache configuration as below:

     AuthType Basic
     AuthName "By Invitation Only"
     # Optional line:
     AuthBasicProvider file
     AuthUserFile /path/to/your/password/file
     AuthGroupFile /path/to/your/groups/file
     Require group GroupName
    
  • Restart the Apache server.

How to configure WordPress Multisite?

Common usage scenarios

  • SCENARIO 1: You want multiple websites/blogs at subdomains of your primary domain eg. your primary domain is our-planets.com and you have separate websites/blogs at mercury.our-planets.com, mars.our-planets.com and earth.our-planets.com.

  • SCENARIO 2: You want multiple websites/blogs at different domains eg. a website at our-planets.com and another at space-is-awesome.com.

  • SCENARIO 3: You want a combination of the two previous scenarios eg. a primary domain at our-planets.com with separate blogs for Earth and Mars at earth.our-planets.com and mars.our-planets.com, another blog at space-is-awesome.com, and yet another blog at photos.space-is-awesome.com.

The following sections will guide you through configuring WordPress Multisite to handle these different scenarios.

How to configure the domain for the WordPress Multisite main blog?

NOTE: This is a mandatory step regardless of how you plan to use WordPress Multisite.

This section assumes that:

  • You have a working WordPress Multisite installation.
  • Your server has a static IP address.
  • You are able to log in to your server console using a tool like PuTTY (Windows) or SSH (Linux and Mac OS X).
  • You own at least one custom domain name for which you can configure DNS settings.

The first step is to define the primary domain for your WordPress Multisite instance. To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Log in to your server console.
  • Change to the /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress directory.
  • Execute the following command to update the domain name. In this example, let's assume the primary domain is our-planets.com.

     $ sudo ./bnconfig --machine_hostname our-planets.com
    
  • The bnconfig tool runs automatically every time the server starts to reset the machine hostname to its IP address. Obviously this is undesirable when using a custom domain name, so you must also execute the following command to disable the bnconfig tool for subsequent restarts.

     $ sudo mv bnconfig bnconfig.disabled
    
  • Update your domain's DNS settings, specifically adding an A record that points your domain to the static IP address of your cloud server. If you're in a hurry, or just testing things out, you can instead modify your local hosts file to map your domain to your server's IP address. For more information on both these options, refer to the section on testing your installation.

Following these changes, entering your custom domain name into the browser address bar should take you to the WordPress Multisite default blog, as shown below:

WordPress Multisite configuration

You should also be able to log in to the WordPress dashboard by visiting http://SERVER-IP/wp-login.php.

Troubleshooting

If you have problems with redirection when you log in to the WordPress dashboard, check that the domain was successfully updated in these database tables:

  • wp_options table: siteurl and home options
  • wp_blogs table: domain option

An easy way to check these database tables is with phpMyAdmin.

Then, clear your browser cache and try to log in again to the application. Remember that if you are using an IP address instead of a domain name, you will have problems with some browsers; it is advisable to use the custom domain name only.

You can now choose from the following sections based on your requirements.

How to add several WordPress Multisite blogs with subdomains?

This section assumes that:

  • You have a working WordPress Multisite installation.
  • Your server has a static IP address.
  • You are able to log in to your server console using a tool like PuTTY (Windows) or SSH (Linux and Mac OS X).
  • You own at least one custom domain name for which you can configure DNS settings.
  • You have defined your primary domain and blog as described in the previous section and you are able to log in to the WordPress Multisite dashboard.

WordPress Multisite is designed for subdomains, so it's easy to add a separate blog for each subdomain of your primary domain (Scenario 1). In this example, let's assume we're adding two blogs: earth.our-planet.com and mars.our-planet.com.

Follow these steps to associate a new blog with a subdomain:

  • In the WordPress Multisite dashboard, select the "My Sites -> Network Admin -> Sites" option.

    WordPress Multisite configuration

  • Select "Add New" to add a new blog.
  • Enter the subdomain name (the primary domain will already be filled in), together with a site title and administrator email address.

    WordPress Multisite configuration

  • Click "Add Site" to create the new blog or website.

Repeat the above steps for all the subdomains and blogs you wish to create. Once you're done, you can see a list by selecting the "My Sites -> Network Admin -> Sites" option.

WordPress Multisite configuration

At this point, you also need to update your domain's DNS settings, specifically adding A records for your subdomains that point to the static IP address of your cloud server. If you're in a hurry, or just testing things out, you can instead modify your local hosts file to map each subdomains to your server's IP address. For more information on both these options, refer to the section on testing your installation.

Following these changes, entering the subdomain name into the browser address bar should take you to the blog for that subdomain, as shown below:

WordPress Multisite configuration

How to add several WordPress Multisite blogs with different domains?

This section assumes that:

  • You have a working WordPress Multisite installation
  • Your server has a static IP address
  • You are able to log in to your server console using a tool like PuTTY (Windows) or SSH (Linux and Mac OS X)
  • You own at least one custom domain name for which you can configure DNS settings
  • You have defined your primary domain and blog as described in the previous section and you are able to log in to the WordPress Multisite dashboard.

The WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin allows users of a WordPress Multisite installation to map their blogs or websites to other domains or subdomains (Scenarios 2 and 3). This plugin is already installed in your Bitnami WordPress Multisite stack since v3.5.1-1. If you're using an older version, you must manually install the plugin using the plugin installation guide.

First, you must activate and configure the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin as follows:

  • In the WordPress Multisite dashboard, select the "My Sites -> Network Admin -> Plugins" option.
  • Find the plugin named "WordPress MU Domain Mapping" and select "Network Activate" to activate it.

    WordPress Multisite configuration

  • In the same dashboard, select the "Settings -> Domain Mapping" option. Enable the "Permanent redirect" option. This makes your blogs redirect to their mapped domains.

    WordPress Multisite configuration

In this example, let's assume we're adding a blog for the domain space-is-awesome.com. Create and associate a new blog for the domain as follows:

  • In the WordPress Multisite dashboard, select the "My Sites -> Network Admin -> Sites" option.
  • Select "Add New" to add a new blog.
  • Enter the new domain name (ignore the primary domain which will appear as a suffix), together with a site title and administrator email address.

    WordPress Multisite configuration

  • Click "Add Site" to create the new blog.
  • Select the "My Sites -> Network Admin -> Sites" option and you should see the new blog in the list.
  • Hover over the new blog's name in the list, you will see that the URL for the blog includes a numeric site ID. Make a note of the site ID, as you will need it in the next step.

    WordPress Multisite configuration

NOTE: You can also obtain the numeric site ID from the wp_blogs table in the database. An easy way to check this database table is with phpMyAdmin.
  • In the WordPress Multisite dashboard, select the "Settings -> Domains" option.
  • Associate the new blog with the domain by entering the new blog's site ID together with the domain name in the fields provided.

    WordPress Multisite configuration

  • Save the association by clicking "Save".

Repeat these steps for each domain or subdomain you wish to associate with a separate blog. Once you're done, select the "My Sites -> Network Admin -> Sites" option and verify the domain mapping for each blog.

WordPress Multisite configuration

At this point, you also need to update each domain or subdomain's DNS settings, specifically adding A records that point them to the static IP address of your cloud server. If you're in a hurry, or just testing things out, you can instead modify your local hosts file to map each domain or subdomain to your server's IP address. For more information on both these options, refer to the section on testing your installation.

Following these changes, entering the domain name into the browser address bar should take you to the associated blog, as shown below:

WordPress Multisite configuration

You might find that although you're now able to access the new blog using the domain or subdomain name, you're not able to access the blog's dashboard. Typically, this is because WordPress still considers the new site to be a subdomain of the primary domain and tries to access it using a invalid URL (following the above example, space-is-awesome.our-planets.com). To resolve this, you can either update the DNS records for your primary domain and add an A record for this subdomain, or you can edit the entry for the site in the "My Sites -> Network Admin -> Sites" list and modify the domain URL, as shown below:

WordPress Multisite configuration

How to test WordPress Multisite?

Testing with DNS

As a general rule, every domain or subdomain that you use in WordPress Multisite should have a DNS entry pointing to your server. This requires a change to each domain's DNS settings, specifically the addition of an A record that points the domain to the static IP address of your server.

This change can only be accomplished through your domain name provider; it cannot be made through Bitnami's hosting dashboard or through local commands on your server. You will therefore need to log in to your domain name provider's management console and make the necessary changes. Step-by-step instructions for some popular providers are listed below:

Remember that once you make the necessary changes, it can take up to 48 hours for the change to propagate across other DNS servers. You can verify the new DNS record by using the Global DNS Propagation Checker and entering your domain name into the search field.

Testing with the hosts File

Given that DNS propagation takes some time, you can use a shortcut to test that your WordPress Multisite installation is working correctly. The shortcut involves manually adding entries for your domain(s) and subdomain(s) in your local system's hosts file, which is always checked before a query is sent to a DNS server.

To do this, open the hosts file in a text editor and add a line like the one below to it.

54.224.97.204       our-planets.com

Remember to update the IP address on the left to reflect the IP address of your server, and the domain name on the right to reflect the domain or subdomain you wish to test. If you have multiple domains to test, add a separate line for each domain.

Once done, save the file. This takes care of mapping the our-planets.com domain name to the IP address 54.224.97.204.

If you now open your browser and type in the URL to your domain, such as http://our-planets.com, it should redirect to your server.

How to disable the WordPress Multisite cron script?

The wp-cron.php script will run once a user visits your site. If you get a lot of traffic, this could be a problem. This cron task is really necessary when you make updates in the blog. You can move this cron script to a system cron task to help lower resource usage on the server.

Disable the wp-cron.php script in the /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/htdocs/wp-config.php file. The location is important - add the line below just before the database settings:

 define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true);

Then, add the cron task to the system. There are two options:

  • Create a cron task for each WordPress site and set a different execution interval for each. For example, the cron tasks shown below will run every 15 minutes and 30 minutes respectively. This is fine if there aren't a large number of sites.

     $ sudo crontab -u daemon -e
     */15 * * * * wget -q -O - "http://our-planets.com/wp-cron.php?t=`date +\%s`" > /dev/null 2>&1
     */30 * * * * wget -q -O - "http://earth.com/wp-cron.php?t=`date +\%s`" > /dev/null 2>&1
    
  • Create a unique cron task for all the domains and share the execution interval. This option is better if you have a large number of WordPress sites and all of them share the same tasks.

  • Create the following script at /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/wp-cron-multisite.php:

      <?php
      require('/opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/htdocs/wp-load.php');
      global $wpdb;
    
      $sql = $wpdb->prepare("SELECT domain, path FROM $wpdb->blogs WHERE archived='0' AND deleted ='0' LIMIT 0,300", '');
    
      $blogs = $wpdb->get_results($sql);
    
      foreach($blogs as $blog) {
    
          $command = "http://" . $blog->domain . ($blog->path ? $blog->path : '/') . 'wp-cron.php';
          $ch = curl_init($command);
          $rc = curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, FALSE);
          $rc = curl_exec($ch);
          curl_close($ch);
      }
      ?>
    
    • Set the correct permissions:

      $ cd /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/htdocs/
      $ sudo chown bitnami:daemon wp-cron-multisite.php
      
    • Add the task to the system crontab. For example, this cron task will run the script for each domain every hour. Add it using the following command:

        $ sudo crontab -u daemon -e
        0 * * * * wget -q -O - "http://our-planets.com/wp-cron-multisite.php?t=`date +\%s`" > /dev/null 2>&1
      

    For more information, refer to this blog post.

How to manage roles and permissions for different blogs?

By default, all users will have subscriber access to all sites on your network. You can add new users and also assign different roles for each site in the WordPress Multisite dashboard. If you use the "Multisite User Management" plugin, you can set the default role for each site and this plugin applies it.

Administrators cannot install new themes or plugins in their assigned blogs. Only the "Network Admin" role or "Super Admin" role will be able to install and activate them, either per-site or for the entire network.

Is WordPress Multisite right for you?

If you plan to have more than one WordPress-powered website or blog, there are different ways to accomplish this. One option is to install multiple independent WordPress instances on the same server. Another option is to install WordPress Multisite, which lets you create and manage multiple WordPress blogs/websites from a single WordPress instance.

  • WordPress Multisite might be a good option for you if you have multiple websites or blogs focused on the same industry or topic - for example, a network of food or travel blogs. In this scenario, WordPress Multisite lets you manage multiple websites from a common dashboard, and you have the added advantage of being able to share themes and plugins between your WordPress Multisite sites.

  • If, on the other hand, you have multiple websites or blogs, each with a different focus area, it would be better to use a separate WordPress instance for each website. This means, for example, that you would run one WordPress instance for your personal blog, another for your company website and a third for your family's photoblog. This would maximize your flexibility and allow you to configure each WordPress website or blog differently, with independent themes, plugins and settings.

How to configure blogs with different domains with different SSL certificates?

This section assumes:

  • You have a working WordPress Multisite installation
  • Your server has a static IP address
  • You are able to log in to your server console using a tool like PuTTY (Windows) or SSH (Linux and Mac OS X)
  • You own at least one custom domain name for which you can configure DNS settings
  • You have defined your primary domain and blog as described here and you are able to log in to the WordPress Multisite dashboard.
  • You have added one or more WordPress Multisite blogs with different domains as described here .

In order to set different SSL certificates for each new domain, configure each domain as a virtual host. Edit the /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/conf/httpd-vhosts.conf file and add a new virtual host for each new domain. The following code could be taken as an example:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName yourserverdomain.com
    ServerAlias *.yourserverdomain.com
    DocumentRoot "/opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/htdocs"
    Include "/opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/conf/httpd-app.conf"
</VirtualHost>
<VirtualHost *:443>
    ServerName yourserverdomain.com
    ServerAlias *.yourserverdomain.com
    DocumentRoot "/opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/htdocs"
    SSLEngine on
    SSLCertificateFile "/opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/conf/certs/new_server.crt"
    SSLCertificateKeyFile "/opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/conf/certs/new_server.key"
    Include "/opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/conf/httpd-app.conf"
</VirtualHost>

Remember to change the ServerName and ServerAlias directives to the correct values.

To specify a different SSL certificate for each domain, update the paths to the corresponding certificate files in the SSLCertificateFile *and *SSLCertificateKeyFile directives.

How to configure WordPress Multisite to use subdirectories instead of subdomains?

NOTE: These steps should be performed before creating a new site.

Follow the steps below:

  • Edit the /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/htdocs/wp-config.php and modify the definition as shown below:

      define('SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', false);
    
  • Edit the /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/conf/httpd-app.conf file and replace the existing URL rewriting rules so that they look like this:

      RewriteEngine On
      RewriteBase /
      RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
    
      # add a trailing slash to /wp-admin
      RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?wp-admin$ $1wp-admin/ [R=301,L]
    
      RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
      RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
      RewriteRule ^ - [L]
      RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $2 [L]
      RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(.*\.php)$ $2 [L]
      RewriteRule . index.php [L]
    
  • Restart Apache to apply the changes:

      $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh restart apache
    

How to use the WP-CLI command line tool?

WP-CLI is the command-line interface for WordPress. You can update plugins, configure multisite installs and much more, without using a Web browser. It is already included with the Bitnami solution so you can start using it easily. In order to check that everything is working properly, you can run the info command:

$ /opt/bitnami/apps/apps/wordpress/bin/wp cli info
NOTE: The wp utility is also included in the system path so you can run the command without specifying the whole path to the file.
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