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I just installed WordPress Multi-Site for the first time, and it took me about 24 hours to figure out, ugh :/ But I finally did, yay!

Amongst the many errors and frustrations that occurred along the way:

  1. New WordPress installs would show a 404 page or a blank page
  2. How to connect external domains
  3. Whether an external domain mapping plugin was needed
  4. Whether I could get each site in the list to all be numerically in order or alphabetical (you can try, but it’s more hassle than it’s worth)

The server I installed it on is HostGator shared server. HostGator Support told me that WordPress Multi-Site is not supported, nor recommended, but I got it to work ūüėČ

  1. Getting subdomain installs to work: In CPanel > Simple DNS Zone Editor > find¬†the webdisk.[yourdomain].[tld] entry, and Delete it. Then you’ll be able to add the wildcard subdomain: *.[yourdomain].[tld], which is necessary to let WordPress Multi-Site handle subdomains for which there’s no fixed entry. That’s right, remove any fixed subdomains for which you want to use WordPress Multi-Site for (all others connected to a non-Wordpress Multi-Site WordPress install you can leave of course, just ensure there’s no subdomain or folder common names used with WordPress Multi-Site), otherwise the URL will route to that folder, rather than the root folder /public_html which is where WordPress Multi-Site should be.
  2. Connecting an external domain to a WordPress Multi-Site subdomain: this one took a long while too to figure out. First, install WordPress MU Domain Mapping, then add a site by the ID (mouse over Edit in the site list to see the ID) and add the domain. Then click Edit for a WordPress Multi-Site site, then click the Settings tab, then change both the siteurl and home URL to the external domain. Ensure the external domain’s A record is pointed at your server IP.¬†Then in CPanel, go to Parked¬†Domains, to quickly add the domain and point it to the root. Note, some of these changes can take a minute to kick in, so don’t give up and think it doesn’t work if it doesn’t work right away, it can take a minute¬†for the server to update.
  3. Site IDs and alphabetical order: Some people¬†feel off when things aren’t in order (me included), and want their site IDs to be in numerical order without a gap, and alphabetical order. It’s not worth the struggle with WordPress Multi-Site, but I can tell you one quick trick, if things get out of order… simply edit each site, give the subdomain a number in order from top to bottom, then go back through the list and enter your subdomain names in alphabetical order. Yeah it takes a little work, but that’s the quickest way to do it. Keep in mind in the future, if you add or delete one, and have built sites on these domains, it¬†won’t work, and you’ll just have to let go of trying to keep it organized and use search instead.

Hope that helps someone out there in Internet land!