In the world of “best plugin lists”, there’s plenty of love for regular WordPress plugins. But when it comes to our compadres running WordPress Multisite, it’s easy for Multisite network admins to get left out in the cold.
Let’s change that with some of the best WordPress plugins for WordPress Multisite networks. These plugins will span a variety of different categories with one overriding goal uniting them:
Making your WordPress Multisite network better, both in terms of ease of management and functionality.
Let’s dive right in.
1. WordPress MU Domain Mapping
I’m going to start with somewhat of a specific use. But while it’s a specific use, it’s an incredibly important one. See, by default, WordPress Multisite allows you to create new sites as either subdomains or subfolders of your main domain.
But what if you want to be able to create a network of sites with their own unique top-level domain names, ala WordPress.com? That’s what this plugin helps you do. It helps you “map” standalone domain names to sites in your Multisite network.
Domain mapping is something a lot of Multisite network admins struggle with. This plugin tries to make it a whole heckuva lot easier.
2. Multisite Cloner
By default, Multisite Network Admin dashboard lets you configure basic details about content on each new site on your network. You can set the default first post, comment, etc.
But what if you want to take things further and actually have each site be a clone of an existing site?
It’s super helpful if you’re using Multisite to create a network of company or university sites. And even if you’re not, you can use it to give your users a head start on their first network site.
Multisite Cloner basically lets you set up one “master site” that new sites are exact copies of. You can make this “master site” any one of your network sites - it doesn’t need to be your default domain.
3. Multisite Post Duplicator
On a smaller scale than Multisite Cloner, Multisite Post Duplicator lets you copy individual posts, custom post types, custom fields, and lots more to different sites in your network.
If you just need to duplicate a specific part of your Multisite network, it’s a good option.
4. Dropdown multisite selector
Want to make it easy for visitors to pop around between different sites on your Multisite network? Dropdown Multisite selector is simple - it lets you create a dropdown that lists either specific sites or every site in your network.
What’s helpful is that you can customize the label for this dropdown. So you could make it say:
- Select branch
- Choose country
Or anything else that fits your Multisite network! This one is simple - but helpful if you’re using Multisite to create a connected network of sites.
5. User Switching
User Switching helps you figure out how your network sites and interfaces appear to users with different permissions than your admin. You can quickly switch to any other account in your network to see how things look from that account’s perspective.
That’s cool, but it’s probably ringing some security alarm bells in your hand. Thankfully, the plugin has thought of those issues and mitigates them by:
- The only users that are allowed to switch accounts are those that already have the permission to edit accounts.
- No passwords are revealed at any point in the process.
6. Gravity Forms User Registration
Gravity Forms on a Multisite plugins list? What is this wizardry?
Well, Gravity Forms’ overall flexibility actually makes it possible for you to customize your Multisite signup forms with the User Registration add-on.
This allows you to:
- Show your sign up form wherever you’d like.
- Rearrange or restyle your sign up form.
- Create custom fields to collect additional data when users register for your Multisite network.
It’s not free - but if you’re planning to accept public registrations on your network, it’s a great way to make your site a bit more professional and unique.
Get Gravity Forms User Registration Add-on - only available in the $199 Developer version of Gravity Forms
7. WP Security Audit Log
Want to keep track of everything that’s happening on your Multisite network? WP Security Audit Log is a helpful plugin that keeps a log of actions taken by every user on your site (as well as some actions taken by anonymous visitors - like login attempts).
It’s not specific to Multisite, but it does specifically integrate with Multisite.
While there are a few plugins that help you monitor activity on your WordPress site, WP Security Audit Log is my personal recommendation.
It can help you see what users are doing and identify potential security risks before they become a problem. Best of all, it’s also free.
8. The WPMU Dev Membership
While WPMU Dev’s membership contains a bunch of separate WordPress Multisite-focused plugins, I’m including them under one category because they’re all part of the same membership package.
Here are some of the highlights of the WPMU DEV membership:
- Pro Sites - offer paid upgrades to network site owners like WordPress.com does.
- Anti-Splog - helps stop spam site registrations if your Multisite network is public.
- Cloner - one-click staging and duplicating of Multisite installs.
- Multisite Content Copier - copy posts, pages, users, and plugins across different Multisite.
- Autoblog - automatically post content from RSS feeds to Multisite.
- Domain Mapping - give each Multisite network site its own unique domain.
Plus lots more Multisite-specific plugins, as well as a whole bunch of regular WordPress plugins as well. Seriously - there’s a lot in the membership.
Your first month is free. After that, it’s $49 per month (the not free part). You can continue using the plugins even if you don’t continue with the paid membership, though. You just won’t get updates.
9. Multisite Directory
Want to showcase all of the sites in your Multisite network? Multisite Directory lets you create a network-wide site directory listing all the sites in your Multisite network. You can categorize sites, add descriptions and featured images, and more.
You can also add real geographic locations to sites for purposes of the directory (as showcased in the above screenshot).
I think this plugin is especially useful for using Multisite for corporate websites or universities. But there are certainly some other niche uses as well.
10. Multisite Plugin Manager
By default, you can choose which plugins to make available in the Network Site Admin interface. But what if you want to go a bit further and gain more control over the plugins used across your network?
Multisite Plugin Manager lets you do a few helpful things.
First off, you can choose specific plugins to auto-activate for all new sites in your network.
You can also mass activate (or deactivate) specific plugins for all sites in your Multisite network, which can definitely come in handy if you need to quickly add or remove a plugin from your network.
Beyond that, you can also set custom plugin access privileges for specific sites in your network. Again, a quite handy feature for certain situations.
11. Network Shared Media
Normally, any media that your network site users upload stays unique to that network site. But what if you want you, or others, to be able to access media library content from other sites in the network?
What’s nice about the plugin is that it doesn’t mix content. That is, the default media library is still unique to each network site. The plugin just adds a new Network Shared Media tab that you can click on to access media content from other network sites.
Best of all, it’s 100% free.
Wrapping Things Up
And that wraps up my list of some of my favorite WordPress Multisite plugins. I’m sure I probably missed some good ones, though.
So if there’s a great Multisite plugin that you think other network admins need to know about, I’d love if you left a comment so others can benefit from your Multisite knowledge!