How to run multiple WordPress installs on one site

WordPress is a versatile content management system and is useful for all types of websites. Usually, everything you need can be encapsulated in one site, as you can have an unlimited number of pages and posts on one site. Under certain circumstances, though, you might desire to run multiple WordPress installs on one website. If that’s the case for you, we’ll show you two different methods for running multiple separate WordPress installations on one website.

Why you might need more than one copy of WordPress running on your site

Most people probably won’t need more than one copy of WordPress running on their site. However, consider the following situations when it might come in handy:

  • You want to use different themes on different sections of your site
  • You want a separate navigation menu on different sections of your site
  • You want different people to have administrative access to different sections of your site (note that this can also be accomplished through custom user types, but with two separate installations of WordPress, you can separate your user base completely)
  • You have a popular brand and you want to sell websites to other people within it (for example, a popular rock band might sell fan pages)

If any of these use cases apply to you, you might decide to install additional copies of WordPress on your site.

Using multiple databases to run multiple WordPress installations on your site

The most obvious method for installing multiple copies of WordPress on your site is to create additional databases. With a separate database, all WordPress data is separate from any other WordPress installation on the same website. Essentially, these copies of WordPress function just like separate websites, even if they share a common domain name. To set up a second copy of WordPress with a separate database, use your domain’s hosting tools to create a second database and follow the WordPress 5-minute installation tutorial just as you did for your original site.

Changing the database table prefix

WordPress installation step 3

When installing WordPress, the installer will ask you to provide your database information. Changing the table prefix (the bottom box in this picture) allows you to use the same database on multiple sites. Simply provide a unique table prefix for each site. (Image courtesy of WordPress.org)

Using separate databases for separate copies of WordPress works just fine, but many website hosts limit the number of databases you can have on your site. If you plan to have many copies of WordPress on your site or if you want to save your remaining databases for something else, multiple WordPress sites on the same domain can share a database. Note that if you are giving administrative access to any of these sites to people you wouldn’t trust to run your site, you’ll want to use the first method above and create separate databases for each site.

When you set up WordPress, you’re asked to specify a database prefix. The default prefix is wp_, but changing this prefix to something else allows you to use the same database for a second site. Type in your database information from your original WordPress installation, but specify a different table prefix for each site and the sites will function independently with a shared database.

No matter which method you choose, installing multiple copies of WordPress is a simple process. If you decide, for one reason or another, that you can’t effectively provide your content to your website’s visitors with a single installation of WordPress, one of these two methods will solve your problem.

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