If you’re setting up a Network or Multisite environment for WordPress, here’s a summary of different ways you can implement Paid Memberships Pro across the network:


Paid Memberships Pro Cannot be Network Activated

Some plugins allow you to “network activate” across the entire network. Not PMPro.

Using a membership plugin on your multisite network means something different for each use case. So, we’ve built a restriction into the core plugin to not allow network activation. This post covers various ways to use Paid Memberships Pro with your network site, the most basic of which is: treat each site in the network as a separate install and only activate the plugin on each install you need to. Paid Memberships Pro is fully compatibility with the multisite environment, just read this post to see more information on how to properly configure based on your multisite network needs.


Ok, so what is WordPress Multisite?

A multisite network is a collection of sites that all share the same WordPress installation. They can also share plugins and themes.

WordPress.org Codex

This setup adds a new user role “Super Admin” that has visibility into all sites grouped in the network, as well as the ability to create or modify sites, allowed plugins, themes, and users for all sites in the network.

Network sites can share a single domain or each have their own domain name. For example, the main network site may be located at www.network.com, and a subsite can either be located at www.network.com/dogs or www.dogs.com.

View Codex Docs on Creating a Network

1. Membership to a Single Network Site

Separate Paid Memberships Pro environments for each subsite.

Activate Per Site Needed - Membership to a Single Network Site

This is the most basic way to use Paid Memberships Pro in your multisite network. Simply install the plugin via Network Admin > Plugins > Add New.

Then, edit a specific site in your network by hovering over “My Sites” in the left side of the admin bar, select a site from the dropdown, and click “Dashboard”. From here, you can treat the site as a standalone installation. Navigate to “Plugins”, locate “Paid Memberships Pro” in the list, and click “Activate”. Now you are ready to begin the Initial Plugin Setup.

A site visitor can sign up for membership at any site in your multisite network just as if it were a single site. Users who purchase membership at more than one site in your network will use the same user account (username and password) to log in to any site in the network.


2. Sell/Create a Network Site at Checkout

Create a network site for the member as part of membership to the main site using the Member Network Sites Add On.

Member Network Sites Add On - Sell/Create a Network Site at Checkout

Allow a member to purchase one or more sites as part of membership. Once configured, the member can purchase membership at the network’s main site (the primary domain of the network) and specify the “Site Name” and “Site Title” for their new site on the network.

Any sites attached to a member will be deactivated when membership expires or cancels.

You can limit and pre-configure the themes and plugins available to the site created at checkout via the tutorial in this post.

A member’s site on the network can also have the Paid Memberships Pro plugin installed and activated. For example, some businesses use this add on to sell an “Online Training” bundle site, where the site owner can then set up PMPro and create their own membership site in the network.

Member Network Sites Add On Docs and Download


3. Membership Across the Network

Manage memberships at the network’s main site (the primary domain of the network) and provide/restrict access on subsites in the network using the Multisite Membership Add On.

Multisite Membership Add On - Membership Across the Network

Sell a membership level at the main site that provides access to members-only content on a site or sites throughout the entire multisite network. For example, let’s say you have a network site about all types of pet care. You have a main site (www.petcare.com), and a site on the network for various type of pets (birds.petcare.com, cats.petcare.com, and dogs.petcare.com). Using this add on, you could offer a membership to one specific pet’s subsite (Bird Level OR Cat Level OR Dog Level). Then, you could also offer a Premium Level that includes access to all of your pet care subsites.

All of the membership levels and users are managed on the main network site. The subsites look to the main network site’s database to mirror the membership levels available and to check a user’s access.

NOTE: Post category access permissions per membership level do not share across network sites automatically.

  • You would have to set them up on each site one at a time.
  • We recommend avoiding locking posts down by categories unless you have the same categories (in the same order with the same ids) across all sites.
  • Setting the same categories in the same order with the same ids may be done before “Multisite Membership” is activated on your new subsite.
  • You may also deactivate “Multisite Membership” on existing subsites, configure your categories in the same order with the same ids on the subsite and then reactivate “Multisite Membership”.

To configure this add on, you would:

  1. Install Paid Memberships Pro via Network Admin > Plugins > Add New. Do not “Network Activate” the plugin.
  2. On your main network site, activate and configure Paid Memberships Pro by following the Initial Plugin Setup guide.
  3. For each site in your network that has members content, navigate to the site’s Dashboard > Plugins. Activate Paid Memberships Pro AND the Paid Memberships Pro – Multisite Membership Add On.

Multisite Membership Add On Docs and Download


In summary

I hope this post helps you understand the various ways you can use Paid Memberships Pro on your multisite network. Configuring a multisite environment is an advanced WordPress process, and using the add ons described in this post will require customization via code. Please consult with your developer or our support team for guidance as you implement the methods above.

If I have the membership set up (and functioning) using the multisite plugin, does the following example work?

Site A – PMP Activated and Configured
Serves as an “account” subsite. Has the checkout addons and some customizations added for a streamlined user experience on their account dashboard.

Site B – PMP Multisite Activated
Is a front end website that most organic traffic visits. Once a user registers on Site A, they are able to use their account to see member-only posts (the basics).

However, this subsite also hosts events for members only.

Am I able to have it running the Multisite PMP AND the Events Addon? And having the Events Addon function correctly?

Site C – Multisite Activated
Since there are multiple subsites, could I also activate the Nav Addon so that each subsite is consistent for the user (based on their level membership)?

I hope that made sense. It would take me much, much longer to test with a possibility of failing rather than just asking, so here I am. 🙂

Hi Stephanie, it sounds like this can be reached with our Multi-site Add On as you can activate different plugins on each subsite. As a Plus member, you can reach out to our support team in the Member Support Area for more hands-on guidance and help.

I have a multisite and I installed this a long time ago.

However, I started putting members on a subsite from the very beginning.

I tried going back to the main site and pulling in membership data from the subsite, but that does not work.

For example, I have example.com and immediately got people signed up on a.example.com (but no one is on example.com). I tried installing “Paid Memberships Pro – Multisite Membership Add On” to the a.example.com (and deactivating other PMP plugins only on this site) and then going to example.com and trying “PMPro level data” from a.example.com but that does not seem to work.

Given this, what should I do?

Should I move users over to the main site (example.com) and then run “PMPro level data” on the subsites (after switching which ones have the multi-site PMP plugin activated or not)?

Hello folks! I didn’t understand very well abou the command:

define(‘PMPRO_NETWORK_MAIN_DB_PREFIX’, ‘wp’);

Should this be added to wp-config.php on the WP Install?

Should I change ‘wp’ for my DB prefix? Without the “_” after it? In example: my DB Prefix is ‘dbprefix_’ so I should add ‘dbprefix_’ or ‘dbprefix’ on my wp-config.php?

Thanks for the help, I want to implement this! Cheers!

Hi there. Actually the updated version of the plugin figures this out automatically so you shouldn’t have to deal with this.

Getting technical here, but the way this plugin works is it tricks some subsites into getting data (for PMPro) from the “main” site’s database. WordPress uses a different DB prefix (e.g. wp_ or wp_2_ …) for each individual subsite. So tricking the site into using the main site’s prefix gets it to pull PMPro-related settings from there.

Hope this helps.

I want to test this out. I have a main site and two subdomains that are test environment domains only. Can I put this on one subdomain and test it with the other subdomain?

How customizable is the form in the Member Network Sites Add On (when users purchase a site)? For example, can I add a few more input fields and use the responses from those fields to create the site address?

Ok, fair comment and I’m glad I raised this before motoring ahead. A good case of forward planning saves some work. Thanks Jason for the heads up.

Thank-you, but seeing levels are controlling category access, does that mean we need identical categories in each subsite? If not, how is the subsite category access controlled?

That’s a good point. You should avoid locking posts down by categories unless you have the same categories (in same order with same ids) across all sites.

I realize that could be a burden on some sites. We haven’t developed a work around for it yet. It would take some coding to get it working on one site and even more coding to get it working in general.

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