WordPress multisite in subfolder

If you install wordpress in a subfolder like /home/example/public_html/wordpress instead of the main DocumentRoot ( usually /home/example.com/public_html ) you will not be able to enable multisite functionality but with a few small changes to wordpress code you can make it work.

My goal was to have the main site ( example.com ) with multisite, host blogs on subdomains like dom1.example.com and then use domain mapping so I could map a domain like dom1.com to dom1.example.com.

Here are the steps I took:

  1. Extract wordpress-3.1.3.zip in /home/example.com/public_html/wordpress, go to went to http://example.com/wordpress and install, then login as admin to http://example.com/wordpress/wp-admin
  2. In wp-admin -> Settings both WordPress address (URL) and Site address (URL) were set to http://example.com/wordpress, change Site address (URL) to http://example.com
  3. copy index.php and .htaccess from /home/example.com/public_html/wordpress to /home/example.com/public_html/
  4. open /home/example.com/public_html/index.php in an editor and changed the line:
    require('./wp-blog-header.php'); to require('./wordpress/wp-blog-header.php');
    At this point you have a working wordpress installed in a subfolder accessible at http://example.com
  5. Open wp-config.php and insert the following lines at the top ( can be right after the first line )
    define('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);
  6. Open the file wordpress/wp-admin/network.php in a text editor, look for the line: "function network_step1" and a few lines bellow there should be a line:
    1. if (get_option( 'siteurl' ) != get_option( 'home' ) ) {

    , replace it with

    1. if ( 0 && get_option( 'siteurl' ) != get_option( 'home' ) ) {
  7. Now go to http://example.com/wordpress/wp-admin/network.php and create your network.
  8. After you create the network, WordPress will ask you to add a few lines to wp-config.php but you'll have to modify them a bit. Here's what I added:
    1. define( 'MULTISITE', true );
    2. define( 'SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', true ); // default was false
    3. $base = '/'; // default was /wordpress/
    4. define( 'DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', 'example.com' );
    5. define( 'PATH_CURRENT_SITE', '/wordpress' );
    6. define( 'SITE_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1 );
    7. define( 'BLOG_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1 );

    By default SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL was set to false but you want subdomains, and $base was set to "/wordpress" but this needs to be "/"

    Don't forget to also add the required lines to .htaccess ( the one in the wordpress/ directory )

  9. After the network was created, wordpress messed up a bit with the permalink settings for the main domain. Before, the permalink structure was set to: /%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/ and wordpress changed it to /blog/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/.
    But after I added the above lines to wp-config.php I was able to change the permalink structure back to what it was from Settings->Permalinks
  10. Adding domains

    Go to Network admin ( http://example.com/wordpress/wp-admin/network/ ) -> Sites -> Add new . I added
    an example domain dom1.example.com. This is what I'll use as an example from now on.

    After I added the domain I went to Sites , clicked the Edit link bellow the domain and changed Path from / to /wordpress ( with the option "Update siteurl and home as well" checked ) then go to the Settings tab and change the Home to http://dom1.example.com/
    At this point you have a working wordpress installed in a subfolder with multisite configured with subdomains.

  11. Install the domain mapping plugin with my changes
    1. define( 'SUNRISE', 'on' );

    right after the first line

  12. got to Network Admin -> Tools -> Domain Mapping to configure the plugin and add the mappings
  13. Come back and let me know how it worked in the comments

8 thoughts on “WordPress multisite in subfolder

  1. To answer your problem
    at 6 the code on my page was :
    if ( 0 & & get_option( ‘siteurl’ ) != get_option( ‘home’ ) ) {

    but instead of & it had the html entity for it, ( & amp; )

    the wordpress plugin that I’m using to display code has some bugs 🙂

    1. Yeah, just figure out, thank you. But actually I saw another problem after 4. on example.com I have a blog, but without loading the image and css, just plain text.

  2. Hi there

    As soon as i activate your modified plugin i get a redirection loop on every page on the site in chrome… any ideas?

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