WordPress is one of the most flexible platforms on the market. The Content Management System (CMS) provides the backbone for a number of websites and networks. In fact, WordPress Multisite – a way to network installations – powers WordPress.com. It’s a testament to the power behind the platform. Though, in some cases, you’ll want to migrate your WordPress Multisite installation to a single site. This can prove challenging in some areas.
For starters, you’ll need to take a different approach to working with your Multisite installation, as there are some core differences under the hood. Though, once you have a process down, you’ll be able to transfer your site in a no-fuss and painless way.
A Primer On WordPress Multisite
For the unaware, WordPress Multisite is a way to create a network multiple installations. While each site is individual and separate from the rest, they all use the same core installation files. In some cases, sites will also share themes and plugins.
The core difference here – and we’ll get into this a little more in the next section – is that each site is akin to a virtual copy of the primary installation. This means there won’t be a directory for each site as there is for single WordPress sites. Instead, each site gets a media uploads folder and a separate table in the database.
For a real-world example of what WordPress Multisite is capable of, consider WordPress.com:
This is (of course) a huge network of WordPress websites, and helps give the CMS the distinction of being the most popular platform for publishing websites. Regardless, moving away from a WordPress Multisite network to a single installation is more involved than simple site migration.
Why a Multisite Conversion Is More Complex Than Standard Site Migration
Although both WordPress Mutisite and single sites use the same base files – there’s no fundamental difference between the two – you’ll have to plan if you wish to take your site out of the network.
There are lots of benefits of running a Multisite network, such as efficiency and productivity, but these won’t matter if you need to ‘free’ your site and let it fly the nest. Instead, you’ll want to think about how to move your site, for the following reasons:
- Your site doesn’t store core files in its own directory. Instead, it’s a centralized system, with your site acting as a virtual copy of sorts.
- By extension, themes and plugins also live in a central uploads folder. While sites on the network can use the theme in theory, you can’t up sticks and take those assets with you.
- Most of your site’s data uses a specific database table as storage. This is good in some cases, but if you aren’t able to access the database
This article was written by Tom Rankin and originally published on WPKube.