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Add blogs as domains to your WordPress Multisite instance in Amazon Lightsail

Last updated: June 18, 2021

A WordPress Multisite instance in Amazon Lightsail is designed to use multiple domains, or subdomains, for each blog site that you create within that instance. In this guide, we’ll show you how to add a blog site using a different domain than your main blog’s primary domain on your WordPress Multisite instance. For example, if your main blog’s primary domain is example.com, you can create new blog sites that use the another-example.com and third-example.com domains on the same instance.

Note

You can also add sites using subdomains to your WordPress Multisite instance. For more information, see Add blogs as subdomains to your WordPress Multisite instance in Amazon Lightsail.

Prerequisites

Complete the following prerequisites in the order shown:

  1. Create a WordPress Multisite instance in Lightsail. For more information, see Create an Amazon Lightsail instance.

  2. Create a static IP and attach it to your WordPress Multisite instance in Lightsail. For more information, see Create a static IP and attach it to an instance in Amazon Lightsail.

  3. Add your domain to Lightsail by creating a DNS zone, then point it to the static IP that you attached to your WordPress Multisite instance. For more information, see Creating a DNS zone to manage your domain’s DNS records in Amazon Lightsail.

  4. Define the primary domain for your WordPress Multisite instance in Lightsail. For more information, see Define the primary domain for your WordPress Multisite instance in Amazon Lightsail.

Add a blog as a domain to your WordPress Multisite instance

Complete these steps to create a blog site on your WordPress Multisite instance that uses a domain which is different than your main blog’s primary domain.

Important

You must complete step 4 listed in the prerequisites section of this guide before following these steps.

  1. Sign in to the administration dashboard of your WordPress Multisite instance.

    Note

    For more information, see Getting the application user name and password for your 'Certified by Bitnami' instance in Amazon Lightsail.

  2. Choose My Sites, then Network Admin, and Sites in the top navigation pane.

    Sites menu in the WordPress administration dashboard.
  3. Choose Add New to add a new blog site.

  4. Enter a site address into the Site Address (URL) text box. This is domain that will be used for the new blog site. For example, if your new blog site will use example-blog.com as the domain, then enter example-blog into the Site Address (URL) text box. Ignore the primary domain suffix displayed on the page.

    Ignore the domain suffix in the WordPress administration dashboard
  5. Enter a site title, select a site language, and enter an admin email.

  6. Choose Add Site.

  7. Choose Edit Site in the confirmation banner that appears on the page. This will redirect you to edit the details of the site that you recently created.

    Edit Site page
  8. In the Edit Site page, change the subdomain that is listed in the Site Address (URL) text box to the apex domain that you want to use. In this example, we specified http://example-blog.com.

    Edit site address
  9. Choose Save Changes.

    At this point, the new blog site has been created in your WordPress Multisite instance, but the domain is not yet configured to route to the new blog site. Continue to the next step to add an address record (A record) to your domain’s DNS zone.

    Sites list in the WordPress administartion dashboard.

Add an address record (A record) to your domain’s DNS zone

Complete these steps to point the domain for your new blog site to your WordPress Multisite instance. You must perform these steps for every blog site that you create on your WordPress Multisite instance.

For demonstration purposes, we’ll use the Lightsail DNS zone. However, the steps may be similar for other DNS zones typically hosted by domain registrars.

Important

You can create a maximum of three DNS zones in the Lightsail console. If you need more DNS zones, we recommend using Amazon Route 53 to manage your domain’s DNS records. For more information, see Making Amazon Route 53 the DNS Service for an Existing Domain.

  1. Sign in to the Lightsail console.

  2. On the Lightsail home page, choose the Networking tab.

  3. Under the DNS zones section of the page, choose the DNS zone for your new blog site’s domain.

  4. In the DNS zone editor, choose Add record.

    The DNS zone editor in the Lightsail console.
  5. Choose A record in the record type drop-down menu.

  6. In the Subdomain text box, enter an “at” (@) symbol to create a record for the root of the domain.

  7. In the Resolves to text box, choose the static IP address attached to your WordPress Multisite instance.

    Adding an address record to the DNS zone in the Lightsail console.
  8. Choose the Save icon.

    After the change propagates through the internet’s DNS, the domain will route traffic to the new blog site on your WordPress Multisite instance.

When you add blog sites as domains to your WordPress Multisite instance, you must also update the WordPress configuration (wp-config) file on your instance to enable cookie support. If you don't enable cookie support, then users might experience a "Error: Cookies are blocked or not supported" error when trying to sign in to the WordPress administration dashboard of their blog sites.

  1. Sign in to the Lightsail console.

  2. On the Lightsail home page, choose the SSH quick connect icon for your WordPress Multisite instance.

    SSH quick connect on the Lightsail console.
  3. After your Lightsail browser-based SSH session is connected, enter the following command to open and edit the wp-config.php file of your instance using Vim:

    sudo vim /opt/bitnami/wordpress/wp-config.php

    Note

    If this command fails, you might be using an older version of the WordPress Multisite instance. Try running the following command instead.

    sudo vim /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/htdocs/wp-config.php
  4. Press I to enter insert mode in Vim.

  5. Add the following line of text below the define('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true); line of text.

    define('COOKIE_DOMAIN', $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST']);

    The file will look like the following when done:

    Edit to the wp-config file
  6. Press the Esc key to exit insert mode in Vim, then type :wq! and press Enter to save your edits (write) and quit Vim.

  7. Enter the following command to restart the underlying services of the WordPress instance.

    sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh restart

    Cookies should now be enabled on your WordPress multisite instance, and users who are trying to sign in to their blog sites will not encounter the "Error: Cookies are blocked or not supported" error.

Next steps

After you add blogs as domains to your WordPress Multisite instance, we recommend that you get familiar with WordPress Multisite administration. For more information see Multisite Network Administration in the WordPress documentation.