How to Migrate a Single Site into a Multisite Network Wordpress

WordPress Multisite Network (launched with version 3.0) provides you with a "network" of websites, manageable from one place. This feature proves to be a boon when you wish to make similar changes to multiple sites. Thus, setting up a blog is no more a mess. Was web hosting and management ever this effortless?

Though the Multisite feature drastically reduces your efforts, getting your site ready for the same is not an easy job. The procedure is a bit complex, but we are here to bridge the gap with our step by step tutorial. Do follow us throughout, and we guarantee a hassle-free movement of your website into the Multisite.

Before performing any migration task, do ensure that you make a backup of your site. You may use any backup plugin you wish to, but do remember to keep a backup of your site to secure your website content in case you accidentally deleted it or modify it.


You will need the following beforehand to be able to follow our tutorial properly:

  1. WordPress (installed) with a running site
  2. A Multisite network administered by you
  3. An FTP client, PHPMyAdmin and a code editor (for manual tasks)

Method 1: Moving your site into Multisite using a plugin

Multisite Network WordPress plugins

Plugins, as we all know, facilitate any task with their "plug-and-play" feature. Having said this, you can use plugins to migrate your website if and only if you have not tweaked your site too much. This seems to be the only limitation of using a plugin since when you relocate, none of your customizations will accompany, and your efforts will go in vain.

Now that you are aware of when to use a plugin let us start with exporting our website. Follow the procedure as stated:

  1. First of all, let us learn how to export the content from your old site:
    1. Open your website(admin screen) and head to Tools -> Export
    2. Select "All Content" and click on "Download Export File" and save the XML file on your system.
  2. Set up a new site ( as you do it)
  3. Install the same themes and other plugins before importing the content on the new site.
  4. Now finally, follow these steps to import the content on your site:
    1. Delete the dummy content ( in Posts and Page listings) and widgets. You need an empty website.
    2. Install " WordPress Importer" from your Plugins screen.
    3. Visit Tools->Import in the admin screen of your new site. Scroll through until you see WordPress. Click "Run Importer."
    4. Tap on "Choose File" and select the XML file you saved earlier. Click "Upload file and import."
    5. Assign the content to existing authors or import the old authors, as per your convenience.
    6. Select "Download and import file attachments." Then, click "Submit." All your media and contents will get copied.
    7. The "All Done" notification confirms the import of the content.

There are multiple plugins available on WordPress to easily move your site to a multisite network.

If you have too much customization on your site then avoid using any plugins for migration.
In such a case, use manual migration to move your site, it will give you larger flexibility and retain your customization.

Method 2: Manual Migration of site into Multisite

You will need to copy the following three components from the old site:

  1. theme and plugin files
  2. database tables
  3. uploads

Following are the steps to manually move your website into a Multisite:

  1. Build a new website. Make sure to empty it by removing any default text or widgets.
  2. Every site in a Multisite has a unique ID. This ID is useful in finding its location in the site’s directory. You can know your site’s ID by visiting Network Admin -> Sites, followed by "Edit" for the website you just created. The URL will look like "XX" is the ID you need. This ID will be the folder name containing all the site files, and a prefix for its database table names.
  3. The next step is to upload files to the new site. Before uploading any data, install the theme and plugins you wish to use on your new website. Visit "wp-admin/uploads" of your old site. Copy the files and trace the "wp-admin/uploads" directory of your new website’s ID.
  4. Now you need to export tables of your old site. Follow these steps for the same:
    1. Visit the "PHPMyAdmin" of your former website and click on the "Structure" tab. Leaving "wp_users" and "wp_metadata", select all of the tables. In the "With Selected" dropdown box, select "Export" and click on "Go." Download the SQL file and save it on your system.
  5. Set up the users on your new website. The users must be the same as you had in your old one.
  6. Edit the links and table references and resave the SQL file.
  7. In phpMyAdmin, drop the tables which have your site ID as the prefix. These are the duplicate tables that WordPress has added to your new site. Once done, Click on: Import -> Choose File -> "The SQL file you saved" -> Go. A message will affirm you regarding the uploading status of your database.
  8. Lastly, do clear your Browser’s cache. It helps to avoid any errors that may arise from the cached data saved from your old site.
  9. Now login to your WordPressadmin(for your new site). Go to the "Permalinks" screen and turn on pretty permalinks.

Set-Up Domain Mapping:

Domain Mapping for Multisite Network WordPress

The Domain Mapping plugin enables you to keep the same domain name even for the new site. All you need to do is:
Install the plugin and then follow the instructions to set it up.


These were the steps on "How you move your website in a Multisite Network WordPress." Setting up a blog and web hosting is supposed to be a tricky task when you are required to manage several websites. It is however simplified using the Multisite feature of WordPress.

The Multisite feature is like a central authority that governs more than one constituency at once. The feature is of great help to blog writers who wish to upload similar content on more than one website. However, it is not that simple to move your site to a Multisite network as things might get complicated at times. All you need to keep in mind is to keep a "Backup" of your data in case any error turns up. This is why we came up with this tutorial, as many people had a query regarding this. Drop your comments if you get stuck anywhere.

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Kiera Hayes is a passionate Blogger and a Digital marketing executive at WebPrecious. She just loves to write and always on the lookout for top blogs to contribute.

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    February 16, 2022 at 4:56 am

    I have installed plugin but i can’t get the admin panel in the dashboard anymore !! any ideas?

      February 16, 2022 at 6:46 am

      Would you please contact with the plugins authors

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