Can I Create WordPress Multisite Networks With Centralized Design or Features?

Yes, it’s definitely possible.

The way WordPress Multisite is created allows you to build separate subsites within your network that share common plugins (or even themes) while maintaining different sets of content for each site. It’s a great way to organize reusable components from a web performance standpoint (optimize ones, use everywhere).

However, multisite networks define a few tables that are “global” for the entire platform.

wp_sitemeta is a database table which resembles wp_options created for each separate site. The site meta table can store information accessible from the entire network.

This way you can pull data from the so-called “central database” shared across the network.

With a bit of coding, you can expand the behavior of your theme or “Must Use plugins” following a similar workflow.

  • One of the automotive multisite networks we’ve built for a known German brand combines slides and news featured by the brand with those created by each subsite.
  • We’ve also designed a “shared media” library with predefined images for each subsite.
  • The front-end templates are also a mix of centralized data controlled by the main site and custom content built by each provider.

From a technical standpoint, it’s definitely possible. Some features are already available in WordPress Multisite. Others may require a bit of custom programming in order to fetch data from different sites or global database tables.

It’s a spectacular platform for creating WordPress SaaS applications as well. Instead of creating a new user within a complex web platform, spinning up new subsites in your multisite network may solve the problem. Handling different roles or payment plans is also easy – just activate different plugins for every plan. Your subsite will run as an isolated container while inheriting the core subset of features (and UI) through its parent platform.

But the underlying framework is powerful enough to accommodate most popular use cases and you can always create another database table if you have to.