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  5. 5 Best Web Hosting Providers for WordPress Multisite in 2022

5 Best Web Hosting Providers for WordPress Multisite in 2022

Ryan Jones Ryan JonesWeb Hosting Expert September 18, 2022
September 18, 2022

If you’re setting up a network of blog sites, WordPress Multisite can save you a lot of headaches – but only if you choose the right host. While most web hosts offer support for Multisite configurations, many of them won’t deliver adequate performance.

Additionally, if you’re choosing to run multiple WordPress sites, you’d best pick a WordPress-specific hosting plan. Steer clear of shared hosting plans that don’t offer any WordPress optimizations.

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 the best fit for your needs.

Short on Time? These Are the Best Web Hosts for WordPress Multisite in 2022

  1. A2 Hosting – Flexible budget hosting with unlimited sites, storage, and data transfer
  2. Nexcess – Impressive WordPress management features and free premium plugins
  3. Rocket.net – Performs well globally thanks to WordPress optimization and CDN

See 3 More Great Options | Comparison table | FAQ

What We Look For in the Best Multisite Hosting for WordPress

Reliability. If your server goes down, every single site in your network will become unavailable. Near-perfect uptime is a must for WordPress Multisite, so I’ve picked some of the most reliable hosts out there.

Tight security. Security is a concern for a Multisite configuration, because if one site is hacked, the entire network could be compromised. I’ve only included hosts that take security seriously.

Optimized WordPress. Optimization is even more important when you’re dealing with a WordPress Multisite implementation. The hosts in my list offer impressively fast loading times thanks to advanced caching, file compression, and the best quality server hardware.

Generous resource limits. WordPress Multisite can be taxing on resources, especially if you’re looking to run large or busy sites. I’ve chosen hosts that provide plenty 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 separate domains entirely.

As the owner of the network, you are the administrator of every site. You can install, customize, and update any themes or plugins. You can choose to manage every website yourself, or lighten your workload by granting sub-admin privileges for any particular site to another user.

a2-hosting-shared-hosting-feature-list
A2 Hosting includes the essentials, along with potential to scale up

A2 Hosting’s shared WordPress plans offer flexible Multisite solutions at budget prices. While the entry-level Startup plan offers only a single site, the very affordable Drive plan features unlimited websites and subdomains. There’s also unlimited SSD storage and data transfer, so your site network will have plenty of room to grow.

WordPress is fully optimized and configured for you upon installation. While these plans lack managed updates, 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 of this period are still entitled to a prorated refund for remaining contract time.

I did find one downside: it can take a few hours of waiting in a queue to connect with one of A2 Hosting’s support agents.

Features

  • Softaculous. A2 Hosting uses cPanel with the Softaculous app installer, offering one-click installations for hundreds of apps, including WordPress. You can also easily enable Multisite as part of the WordPress installation process.
  • Site staging. While this is a premium feature with some hosts, A2 Hosting offers a free staging environment with every plan.
  • Premium managed WordPress. Managed WordPress plans are hosted on A2 Hosting’s Turbo Servers, featuring more processor power, the LiteSpeed web server, and multiple layers of advanced caching for the best possible WordPress performance. This costs a lot more, though, and only the most expensive of these offers unlimited sites.
  • Robust security. All plans feature A2 Hosting’s proprietary Perpetual Security protection. This includes a dual firewall, malware scans, DDoS-proofing, and brute force attack protection.
Need to know more? Check out our detailed A2 Hosting review.
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Data center locations 2 in the US, 1 in Europe, 1 in Asia
Uptime guarantee 99.9%
Starting price $17.99

Nexcess managed WordPress feature list
Nexcess has all the necessities, and lots of extras

When you’re managing many WordPress sites at once, the workload can be overwhelming. If you find yourself in this situation, Nexcess offers feature-filled managed WordPress plans.

A simple plugin update can easily break elements of certain sites in your Multisite network, but not others. Testing all new plugin updates can be a huge time sink. But with Nexcess, every plugin update is tested by an AI on a temporary clone of each site. If issues are detected, the update is delayed and you are notified.

It’s also worth noting that Nexcess offers several premium plugins for free. For example, WPMerge allows you to combine data from a staged site into your live site without running into conflicts. And iThemes Sync Pro, which is designed to provide single-dashboard access to multiple WordPress sites, can also be used with multiple Multisite instances.

The one drawback here is that Nexcess isn’t cheap – and you’d need at least the second-tier Maker plan for a Multisite configuration.

Features

  • Free auto-scaling. If your sites receive more traffic than your current resources can handle, they will be temporarily scaled up to deal with the excess traffic. This service is free for 24 hours each month, after which you’ll need to pay a small fee for every 30 minutes auto-scaling is necessary, or upgrade your plan.
  • Stage sites easily. Creating a clone of your site to test development ideas takes only a few clicks in your hosting dashboard. This, in addition to WPMerge, helps you safely and efficiently develop your live sites.
  • Daily automatic backups. Nexcess takes a backup of your sites every day, which are stored off-server for increased redundancy. Your last 30 backups are always kept available, and may be restored by contacting support.
  • Managed WooCommerce plans. If you’re running online stores, I’d recommend the managed WooCommerce hosting plans. Your sites will be scanned nightly to ensure login, checkout, and payment processing are working properly, so you don’t lose any sales. Analytics are plentiful as well, covering site speed to sales performance.
Check out our comprehensive Nexcess review to learn more.
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Data center locations 4 in the US, 3 in Europe, 1 in Australia
Uptime guarantee 100%
Starting price $15.83

3. Rocket.net – Impressive WordPress Performance, Worldwide

Feature list for Rocket.net's managed WordPress hosting
While it might not be the world’s fastest, Rocket.net’s performance is impressive

Rocket.net is another managed WordPress solution, but with a focus on optimization. And it’s something that it does well – our test site with Rocket.net performed well worldwide, without the need for any weighty optimization plugins. Much of this is thanks to the Cloudflare Enterprise content delivery network (CDN).

While many web hosts settle for the free version, Rocket.net provides you with the most expensive Cloudflare plan at no extra charge. In addition to the main perk of a CDN – faster loading speeds for faraway visitors – its Argo smart routing calculates the best internet paths to deliver content to your visitors.

Cloudflare Enterprise also provides Brotli file compression, lossless image optimization, and mobile-specific performance boosts. Normally, you’d have to install plugins to achieve many of these optimizations – which take up space and can be a detriment to performance.

On the downside, Rocket.net doesn’t offer email hosting, so you’d have to purchase this from another source.

Features

  • Enable Multisite in one click. Rocket.net offers an easy-to-use control panel that allows you to create and manage your WordPress sites, with the option to enable WordPress Multisite in a single click without having to touch any code.
  • NVMe SSDs. To optimize performance further, all your storage is on NVMe SSD hardware. These offer lower latency and better read and write performance than standard SSDs.
  • Unlimited site migrations. Rocket.net provides every customer with an unlimited number of site migrations.These migrations are performed hands-on by Rocket.net experts, and can take anywhere from just a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on website size.
  • Responsive 24/7 technical support. Rocket.net’s support team is made up of WordPress experts who can provide technical help, even going so far as to take care of basic tasks for you. We always got a response within a minute through its live chat.
Want to know more? Check out our expert Rocket.net review.
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Data center locations 9 in the US, 1 in Canada, 3 in Europe, 1 in Australia, 2 in Asia
Uptime guarantee 99.99%
Starting price $30.00

kinsta's-speed-and-security-features
Kinsta will keep your sites running smoothly and securely

If you have the budget, Kinsta is your most reliable option. My performance tests showed some of the fastest load times I’ve ever seen, alongside perfect 100% uptime over four months. It even managed to beat Rocket.net in some of my tests, and proved to have slightly better uptime.

Kinsta also offers an impressive hosting dashboard built specifically for WordPress. It offers an auto-installer which allows you to configure and enable WordPress Multisite. You also get access to a variety of important functions, including backups, caching, and site staging.

So, why isn’t Kinsta higher on my list? Well, it’s the most expensive premium option. Kinsta’s CDN doesn’t quite live up to the capabilities offered by Rocket.net’s Cloudflare Enterprise offering, nor does it offer the same quality of site management features as Nexcess.

Features

  • 24/7 uptime monitoring. Kinsta monitors the status of your website on a minute-by-minute basis. If any of your sites go down, support engineers will immediately work to bring it back online.
  • Auto-scaling. If your sites are receiving more traffic than your plan can serve, your resources will be scaled up automatically so site performance never takes a hit. This service incurs an extra fee based on overall usage.
  • Google Cloud Platform. You get access to top-end hardware, security, and computing throughput from GCP without having to set up or configure the hosting environment yourself.
  • Huge number of data centers. GCP’s 25+ data centers cover every major continent, which allows you to serve any geographic audience with Kinsta’s exceptional performance.
Read our Kinsta review for more information.
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Data center locations 7 in the US, 2 in Canada, 7 in Europe, 2 in Australia, 9 in Asia, 1 in South America
Uptime guarantee 99.9%
Starting price $35.00

hostinger-wordpress-optimization-features
Hostinger knows how to optimize a WordPress site, for less money

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to get a Multisite network running, Hostinger is the best option for you. Hostinger manages to offer lower prices than on A2 Hosting’s budget plans, while providing even better performance.

To enable Multisite with Hostinger, you’ll need to purchase the WordPress Starter plan. It features support for up to 100 WordPress sites, making it a viable choice for those with plenty of low-traffic sites and subdomains.

Hostinger uses LiteSpeed web server software, which includes the LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress optimization plugin. This gives you an all-in-one, configurable performance boost, and it is 100% compatible with Multisite.

It isn’t all good news: Hostinger is lacking some useful features, such as site staging, and support is often slow to respond.

Features

  • Site-building wizard. Hostinger includes a WordPress Starter Wizard. This helps you to 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 help boost your initial outreach.
  • Free domain. – If you purchase an annual or longer plan, you’ll get free domain registration for a year.
  • Developer friendly. Even at these low prices, WP-CLI, Git support, and SSH access are included with the Starter plan on up.
Take a look at our Hostinger review for the details.
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Data center locations 1 in the US, 3 in Europe, 1 in Asia, 1 in South America
Uptime guarantee 99.9%
Starting price $1.99

How to Set Up Multisite in WordPress

To start, check whether your chosen host offers an automated setup. Some managed WordPress hosts allow you to activate Multisite via the control panel, while many auto-installers let you install WordPress with Multisite enabled.

If these options do not exist, you’re going to have to enable it manually. Don’t worry – it’s a relatively simple process that should only take five to ten minutes.

To enable Multisite, you’ll have to access and edit the files of your WordPress installation. If you’re using cPanel, you can do this with the File Manager. Otherwise, you’ll have to use an FTP client, such as FileZilla. The below guide uses the cPanel method, but it’s a similar process with FTP.

As always, perform a full backup before making any changes!

arrow-pointing-to-the-file-manager-in-cpanel
The Files section is usually towards the top of cPanel

cPanel’s File Manager is located in the Files section. Click it to view your website’s 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 named wp-config.php – right-click it, and select Download.

Once the file is downloaded, open it with a plain text editor (not Microsoft Word!). Notepad will do just fine on Windows, or TextEdit on the MacOS with plain text enabled (Format > Make Plain Text).

arrow-pointing-to-the-added-code
Paste the Multisite code snippet here

This file will contain some code, but don’t worry, we’re just going to add a few lines near 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 reads That’s all, stop editing! Then,  save the file. All you need to do now is upload the edited 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). Next, click Upload on the toolbar at the top of the screen.

cpanel-file-manager-uploader
As it is a very small file, the upload should finish almost instantly

Drag the edited wp-config.php file into the “Drop files here…” area to upload it. It’ll ask you if you’d like 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 in to your WordPress site. Once you’re logged in, you’ll need to disable any active plugins, as you cannot configure WordPress Multisite otherwise. After you’ve done this, mouse over Tools in the dashboard menu on the left. Click Network Setup in the flyout menu.

wordpress-multisite-installation-screen
The easiest part of the process!

You’ll be taken to a screen which will let you begin configuring your Multisite network. Enter a name for the network and an email address for the network admin. If your WordPress installation is new, you’ll be able to choose a subdirectory network – otherwise, you’ll be forced to use subdomains instead. Once you’re done, hit Install.

wordpress-multisite-network-installation-instructions
It’s just the same as before – copy and paste the code

Finally, the screen will update to show some more code. The first block will need to be added to your wp-config.php file, while the second block will need to be added to your .htaccess file. You can use the File Manager (or an FTP client) with your text editor again to access and edit these files.

The first block of code will need to be pasted above the That’s all, stop editing! comment, just like we did earlier. 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 to the top right of the File Manager, and then check the Show Hidden Files box.

When you find the .htaccess file, download it and open it with a text editor. Keep in mind – the second block of code must replace the original WordPress rules within the file. Paste over the original rules, save the file, and upload it back to the root folder, overwriting the previous version.

Once you’ve done all this, you’ll need to log out and then log back into WordPress. And there you have it! WordPress Multisite will be enabled and configured.

The Pros and Cons of Using WordPress Multisite

WordPress Multisite makes it easier to manage multiple similar WordPress sites, as you can manage the plugins, themes, and content of each site from a single location. This saves a lot of time as you don’t need to log in to each and every WordPress site in your network just to update a single plugin you happen to be using on all of them.

Additionally, all of the sites in a network will share the same database, meaning a single backup will store all the data of every site. This means there’s no need to take backups of each site individually.

However, WordPress Multisite might not be a perfect solution 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 personally back up their site in order to move to another host.

A Multisite network introduces security risks too. If a single site is compromised, the entire network will be at risk. Furthermore, as each site is sharing the same network resources, a problem with the server will slow down (or bring down) every site in the network.

Which WordPress Multisite Host is Right For Me?

The best WP Multisite host for you depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re only looking to run a few low-traffic sites or subdomains, then budget shared hosting will likely offer you the best value. For large or much more intensive site networks, a premium solution may be best.

It’s important to consider this carefully, as a Multisite network can take a while to get up and running, and to start generating traffic. You don’t want to invest time in a host that is a poor fit for your current needs.

Regardless, all of the hosts I’ve listed can provide a good starting point, depending on where you’re at with your network. Here are my personal recommendations.

If you’re looking for the most flexible option, go with A2 Hosting. Not only is it less expensive than most of the options on this list, you’ll have unlimited SSD storage, data transfer, and site capacity to grow your network without worry. You can also cancel at any time and still get a prorated refund.

For the best WordPress management features, I’d recommend Nexcess. With it, you can worry less about the administration and management of a large Multisite network, and focus more on further site development.

If your Multisite network includes sites across multiple countries, Rocket.net is likely your best choice. Thanks to its free Cloudflare Enterprise, your sites will load fast no matter where they’re accessed from.

Still unsure? Check out the comparison table below for a side-by-side comparison.

Standout features Number of websites (Multisite plans only) SSD space (Multisite plans only) Starting price
A2 Hosting Unlimited sites, storage, and data transfer Unlimited Unlimited $17.99
Nexcess AI-driven plugin management and premium WP plugins 5 – 250 40GB – 800GB $15.83
Rocket.net Great worldwide performance 3 – 25 20GB – 50GB $30.00
Kinsta Most reliable uptime with plenty of data centers across the globe 2 – 150 20GB – 250GB $35.00
Hostinger Cheapest budget option with good WordPress optimization 100 – 300 100GB – 200GB $1.99

FAQ

Why is it better to have hosting optimized for WordPress?As WordPress Multisite tends to be resource-heavy, proper optimization is crucial. Without it, every site in the network may be subject to slow loading times. Many of the hosts in our list of the best web hosting providers for October 2022 offer an optimized WordPress platform.Is Kinsta easy to use?For more information about its WordPress capabilities, check out my Kinsta analysis above. Alternatively, if you’re new to WordPress, check out our complete guide to building and hosting a website in 2022 to learn everything you need to know.What is the best host for WordPress?It depends on your needs. For WordPress Multisite in particular, you’ll need a host that can support multiple sites and keep them running smoothly. A2 Hosting is a good fit if you need a flexible WordPress plan with unlimited resources. On the other hand, if you’d like to make site management a non-issue, I’d recommend taking a look at Nexcess.Is A2 Hosting good value for money?As more expensive hosts commonly provide limited resources despite the higher price, A2 Hosting can be great value for money if you make the most of it.

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