If you’re setting up a network of blogging sites, WordPress Multisite can save you a lot of headache, but only if you choose the right host. Although most Web hosts provide the support for multi-site configurations, many of them do not disclose performance adequate .
Also, if you choose to run multiple WordPress sites, it’s best to choose a WordPress-specific hosting plan. Avoid shared hosting plans that don’t offer any WordPress optimization.
I tested the most popular WordPress hosting providers to see which of them offered the best environment for a multisite network. I then came up with a list of the top five based on my results. Read on to find out which of these hosts is best for your needs.
Short while? These are the best web hosts for multisite WordPress hosting:
- Kinsta – Performance and reliability at the highest level
- A2 Hosting – Affordable hosting with unlimited sites and subdomains
- WP Engine : fully managed, but suitable for developers
Click here for 2 more options | Comparative table | FAQ
What we look for in the best multisite hosting for WordPress
Reliability. If your server fails, every single site on your network will no longer be available. Near-perfect uptime is a must for WordPress Multisite, so I’ve picked some of the most trusted hosts around.
Strict security. Security is a concern for a multi-site setup, because if one site is hacked, the entire network could be compromised. I’ve only included hosts who take security seriously.
Optimized WordPress. Optimization is even more important when dealing with a multisite WordPress implementation. The hosts on my list offer blazingly fast load times thanks to advanced caching, file compression, and the best quality server hardware.
Generous resource limits . WordPress Multisite can take a toll on resources, especially if you’re trying to manage large or busy sites. I have chosen hosts that provide a lot of storage and bandwidth at affordable prices.
What is WordPress Multisite?
WordPress Multisite is a built-in WordPress feature that allows you to manage multiple sites from a single dashboard . These sites can be subdomains or subdirectories of a primary domain, or they can be completely separate domains.
As the owner of the network, you are the administrator of each site. You can install, customize and update any theme or plugin. You can choose to manage each website yourself or lighten the workload by granting sub-administrator privileges for a particular site to another user.
1. Kinsta – Fantastic performance and uptime
If you have the budget, Kinsta is one of the best choices for managed WordPress hosting. My performance tests showed some of the fastest load times I’ve ever seen, plus perfect 100% uptime in four months .
Kinsta also offers an impressive hosting dashboard built specifically for WordPress. It offers an automatic installer that allows you to set up and enable WordPress Multisite. You can also access a number of important functions, including backup, caching, and site staging.
WordPress Multisite is only supported with Pro plans and above , neither of which are cheap. In fact, Kinsta costs several times more than just about every other host on this list. However, if you have money to spend, Kinsta is worth the investment.
Kinsta Web Hosting
- 24/7 operation monitoring. Kinsta monitors the health of your website minute by minute. If one of your sites doesn’t work, the support technicians will work immediately to get it back online.
- Automatic resizing. If your sites are receiving more traffic than your plan can serve, your resources will automatically increase so that site performance never drops. This service incurs an additional cost based on overall usage.
- Google Cloud platform. You can access high-end hardware, security, and processing throughput from GCP without having to set up or configure the hosting environment yourself.
- Huge number of data centers. GCP’s 25+ data centers span all major continents, allowing you to serve any geographic audience with Kinsta’s outstanding performance.
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days|
|Data center locations||7 in the United States, 2 in Canada, 7 in Europe, 2 in Australia, 9 in Asia, 1 in South America|
|Starting price||$ 30.00|
2. A2 Hosting – Unlimited low cost sites and subdomain
A2 Hosting’s shared WordPress plans offer flexible multisite solutions at affordable prices. While the entry-level Startup plan only offers one site, the very affordable Drive plan offers unlimited websites and subdomains. There’s also unlimited SSD storage and data transfer, so your site’s network will have plenty of room to grow.
WordPress is fully optimized and configured for you upon installation. While these plans lack managed updates, the performance is impressive – A2 Hosting ranked among the fastest shared hosting providers during my performance tests.
A2 Hosting isn’t just flexible when it comes to resources. While there is a 30 day money back guarantee, refunds outside this period are still entitled to a prorated refund for the remaining time of the contract.
I found a disadvantage: it can take a few hours of waiting in the queue to connect with one of A2 Hosting’s support agents.
A2 Hosting WordPress hosting
- soft. A2 Hosting uses cPanel with the Softaculous app installer, offering one-click installs for hundreds of apps, including WordPress. You can also easily enable Multisite as part of the WordPress installation process.
- Staging of the site. While this is a premium feature with some hosts, A2 Hosting offers a free staging environment with each plan.
- High quality managed WordPress. Managed WordPress plans are hosted on A2 Hosting’s Turbo Servers, with increased processor power, LiteSpeed web server, and multiple layers of advanced caching for the best possible WordPress performance. However, this costs a lot more and only the most expensive of these offers unlimited sites.
- Robust security. All plans come with A2 Hosting’s proprietary Perpetual Security protection. This includes a double firewall, malware scans, DDoS proof, and brute force protection.
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days|
|Data center locations||2 in the United States, 1 in Europe, 1 in Asia|
|Starting price||$ 6.99|
3. WP Engine – Unique management features for WordPress
Like Kinsta, WP Engine doesn’t come cheap. It’s a managed, but developer-friendly platform for small and medium-sized businesses that demand fast performance and premium features.
For example, Smart Plugin Manager is an AI-powered solution that automatically tests plugin updates for potential problems before applying them to your live site.
WP Engine also includes a proprietary control panel ideal for working with WordPress. Includes one-click tools for domain configuration, backup management, and more. Multisite is also super easy to set up – you can enable it with just one click.
The main drawback of WP Engine is the price, especially since the entry-level single-site plans don’t support WordPress Multisite at all. You will need to purchase a Professional or higher floor, and all of these have caps on the number of sites, the maximum being 30 on the very expensive scale floor.
Web Hosting WP Engine
- Google Cloud platform. Like Kinsta, WP Engine’s servers are hosted on GCP, which offers fantastic performance and reliability.
- EverCache – To speed up your site even further, each WP Engine plan includes the proprietary EverCache caching solution. It is fully optimized to cache any static content on your WordPress site, such as images, speeding up page load times on your sites.
- Automatic daily backups. All plans come with automatic daily backups. Your last 40 backups are available for easy restore from the hosting dashboard.
- Genesis framework. Genesis is a WordPress page builder that allows you to easily create site layouts. Pages created with this premium software are automatically optimized for mobile devices.
|Money Back Guarantee||Nobody|
|Data center locations||3 in the United States, 1 in Canada, 4 in Europe, 1 in Australia, 2 in Asia|
|Starting price||$ 22.00|
If you are looking for the cheapest way to run a multisite network, Hostinger is the best option for you. Hostinger manages to offer lower prices than A2 Hosting’s budget plans, while still providing even better performance .
To enable Multisite with Hostinger, you will need to purchase the WordPress Starter plan . It offers support for up to 100 WordPress sites, making it a viable choice for those with many low-traffic sites and subdomains.
Hostinger uses LiteSpeed web server software, which includes the LiteSpeed Cache optimization plugin for WordPress. This gives you an all-in-one configurable performance boost and is 100% compatible with Multisite.
That’s not all good news: Hostinger lacks some useful features, such as site staging, and support is often slow to respond.
Hostinger Hosting WordPress
- Site creation wizard. Hostinger includes a WordPress startup wizard. This helps you choose a theme for your site and install any essential plugins, giving you a foundation to build on.
- Google Ads credit. The WordPress Starter plan comes with a free Google Ads credit to increase your initial reach.
- Free domain. – If you purchase an annual plan or longer, you will receive free domain registration for one year.
- Friendly developer. Even at these low prices, WP-CLI, Git support, and SSH access are included with the Starter plan and up.
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days|
|Data center locations||1 in the United States, 3 in Europe, 1 in Asia, 1 in South America|
|Starting price||$ 1.99|
5. FastComet – Access to global data centers at affordable prices
FastComet is another budget option that offers great value for money. Even the cheapest WordPress hosting plan offers a free domain name, a free CDN, and automatic daily backups.
A 45-day money back guarantee is included with all plans, giving you plenty of time to try the service.
However, FastComet’s biggest asset is its impressive reach at such a low price. FastComet has 11 data centers around the world, covering all major continents. While Kinsta and WP Engine offer a lot more, they are also a lot more expensive. If you’re looking to reach an audience in Asia or Oceania at low cost, FastComet may be your best option .
FastComet also excels in support. A live chat response usually takes less than a minute, and support agents offer technical support that goes a step further than many other hosts.
Unfortunately, SSD storage limits are relatively low on all shared hosting plans, which could be a problem for a very large WordPress multisite network.
FastComet Web Hosting
- Redundant SSD. FastComet SSDs use a RAID-10 configuration. This means your data will be stored on multiple SSDs, and if one drive fails, your data will be safe on another.
- FastGuard Security. The FastGuard security solution is included for free in all plans. It protects WordPress sites through a web application firewall and also offers protection against DDoS and botnet attacks.
- Multiple managed migrations. With the FastCloud Plus plan you can request support for the practical migration of three sites. Additional migrations are available for a fee.
- Daily optimization reports. FastComet sends out daily optimization reports, which provide statistics and tips for improving performance. You also have access to a free monitoring tool that offers detailed, real-time feedback on resource usage.
|Money Back Guarantee||45 days|
|Data center locations||3 in the United States, 1 in Canada, 3 in Europe, 3 in Asia, 1 in Australia|
|Starting price||$ 3.48|
How to setup multisite in WordPress
To get started, check if your chosen host offers automatic configuration. Some managed WordPress hosts allow you to activate Multisite via the control panel, while many self-installers allow you to install WordPress with Multisite enabled.
If these options don’t exist, you’ll need to manually enable them. Don’t worry – it’s a relatively simple process that should only take five to ten minutes.
To enable Multisite, you will need to log in and edit the files of your WordPress installation. If you are using cPanel, you can do this with the File Manager. Otherwise, you will need to use an FTP client, such as FileZilla. The guide below uses the cPanel method, but it is a similar process with FTP.
As always, make a full backup before making any changes!
CPanel’s File Manager is located in the Files section . Click to view your website files. Here, you need to locate the root folder of your WordPress installation – look for a folder that contains subfolders and .php files with wp in their names. In this folder, you should see a file called wp-config.php – right-click and select Download .
Once the file is downloaded, open it with a plain text editor (not Microsoft Word!). Notepad will work fine on Windows or TextEdit on MacOS with plain text enabled ( Format > Create Plain Text ).
This file will contain some code, but don’t worry, we’ll just add a few lines at the bottom. Select and copy the following code to your clipboard:
/ * Multisite * / define ('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);
Now paste it just above the comment text that says That’s it, stop editing! Then, save the file. All you need to do now is upload the modified version to your site.
To do this, make sure you are in the root folder of your WordPress installation (the folder where we found the wp-config.php file ). Then, click Upload in the toolbar at the top of the screen.
Drag the file wp-config.php edited in “ Drag files here …” to load it. You will be asked if you want to overwrite the original file – click Yes . You’re done with the File Manager for now, but keep it open, as you’ll need it again shortly.
The next step is to log into your WordPress site. Once logged in, you will need to disable all active plugins, as otherwise you cannot set up WordPress Multisite. Once you’ve done that, hover your mouse over Tools in the left dashboard menu. Click Network Configuration in the pop-up menu.
You will be taken to a screen that will allow you to begin setting up your multisite network. Enter a name for the network and an e-mail address for the network administrator. If your WordPress installation is new, you will be able to choose a network of subdirectories, otherwise you will be forced to use subdomains. When done, hit Install.
Finally, the screen will update to show more code. The first block will be added to your file wp-config.php , while the second block will be added to your file .htaccess . You can use the File Manager (or an FTP client) again with your text editor to access and edit these files.
The first block of code will need to be pasted on top That’s it, stop editing! comment, just like we did before. The second block of code will need to be pasted into your .htaccess file .
You should be able to find the .htaccess file in the same root folder as your WordPress installation. Sometimes this file can be hidden by default – if you don’t see it, click the Settings button at the top right of the File Manager, then check the Show hidden files box .
When you find the .htaccess file , download it and open it with a text editor. Note that the second block of code must replace the original WordPress rules within the file. Paste the original rules, save the file and upload it back to the root folder, overwriting the previous version.
Once you’ve done all of this, you’ll need to log out and then log back into WordPress. And that’s it! WordPress Multisite will be enabled and configured.
The pros and cons of using WordPress Multisite
WordPress Multisite makes it easy to manage multiple similar WordPress sites, as you can manage each site’s plugins, themes, and content from one place. This saves a lot of time as you don’t need to log into every WordPress site on the network just to update a single plugin that you use on all of them.
Furthermore, all sites on a network will share the same database, which means that a single backup will store all the data for each site. This means that there is no need to back up each site individually.
However, WordPress Multisite may not be a perfect fit for everyone. If you’re looking to use it to oversee several unrelated client sites, the shared database could present a big problem, as these clients wouldn’t be able to back up their site themselves to switch to another host.
A multisite network also introduces security risks. If a single site is compromised, the entire network will be at risk. Also, since every site shares the same network resources, a server problem will slow down (or shrink) every site on the network.
Which WordPress multisite host is right for me?
The best WP Multisite host for you depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you’re just looking to run a few low-traffic sites or subdomains, low-cost shared hosting will likely offer you the best value for money. For large or much more intense site networks, a premium solution may be best.
It is important to consider this carefully, as a multisite network can take some time to get up and running and start generating traffic. You don’t want to invest time in a host that doesn’t quite fit your current needs.
Regardless, all of the hosts I’ve listed can provide a good place to start, depending on where you are with your network. Here are my personal tips.
If you have the budget for some of the best performance available, check out Kinsta . WordPress is fully managed, monitored and supported by useful premium features.
On the other hand, Hostinger provides a multisite solution at incredibly low prices while still offering fast load times and an overall reliable service.
Do you want to have loads of sites online without having to worry about resource constraints? A2 Hosting is an affordable solution that provides completely unlimited resources , although it lacks managed features for WordPress.
If high-end managed hosting combined with easy-to-use features is what you need, I’d check out WP Engine .
Finally, FastComet offers global data centers at low prices, along with helpful support above and beyond.
|Distinguishing features||Number of websites (multisite plans only)||SSD space (multisite plans only)||Starting price|
|Kinsta||Outstanding performance, huge list of data centers||2 – 150||20GB – 250GB||$ 30.00|
|A2 Hosting||Unlimited resources with the Drive plan, flexible refund policy||unlimited||unlimited||$ 6.99|
|WP engine||Proprietary control panel, unique and intuitive plugin manager||3 – 30||15 GB – 50 GB||$ 22.00|
|Hostinger||Fully optimized WordPress platform at budget prices||100 – 300||100 GB – 200 GB||$ 1.99|
|FastComet||Global data centers at an affordable price, great support||unlimited||25 GB – 35 GB||$ 3.48|
Why is it better to have WordPress optimized hosting? Since WordPress Multisite tends to be resource heavy, proper optimization is key. Without it, every site on the network could experience slow loading times. Many of the hosts on our list of the best web hosting providers for November 2021 offer an optimized WordPress platform. Is Kinsta easy to use? Kinsta has an intuitive control panel that allows you to access all the important features you will need through a well-designed interface. You can easily create new sites, and you’ll also have easy access to backups, performance monitoring, and more. What’s the best host for developers? WP Engine offers good developer support. It includes seamless integration with Local, a WordPress development tool. Git, WP-CLI, and SSH are also supported with each plan along with fantastic managed features. Is A2 Hosting good value for money? Although the basic plan does not perfectly suit multisite networks due to heavy limitations on domains and subdomains, A2 Hosting’s Drive plan is still very affordable and offers unlimited resources. If you’re looking to save, check out the great November 2021 deals on our coupons page before making your final decision.