WP Multisite on Separate Servers

Is this possible?

Pt. 1: I have the main membership site www.xyz.com and will have multiple application subsites: subsite1.xyz.com subsite2.xyz.com etc.

I already have it set up and running, but I fear that having too many applications on one server will greatly affect the performance. I also saw a KB suggestion to deploy sites on multiple servers.

My question is, can I have my subsites on different servers with the WPMU engaged and sharing membership and the other connected info (events, broadcast et al) between them?

If so, is there anything that I should be wary about?

Pt. 2: Can I have a site that lives outside the network but still is part of the WPMU and can share membership functionality?

e.g., it’s not listed as subsite3.mysite.com but stays as www.uvwxyz.com and is on another server
Can that work?


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No, a WPMU is a single Wordpress install with a single database that is shared by the various sites. So you can’t have the subsites on different servers.

Some strategies for scaling:

  • Use a bigger multi-CPU server as needed
  • Use a web server and a separate database server
  • Use load balancing (but I don’t think you can do this via Cloudways, at least last time I checked.)
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Thank you for the clear answer, Eric.

It’s what I figured, but wanted to ask in case there was something I was missing.

Have a great day!

Hello @pschwinge,

@eric1 has already pointed you in the right direction. I would just like to add a few things. It is always viable to monitor your server resources and look for any spikes. If you observe fewer resources are available and CPU spikes more often then it could be an indication for scaling.

In the case of a large database, you may also keep the database server separately by using remote SQL.

Ibad Rehman
Community Manager

The concept you could research is called “load balancing”. It doesn’t split up your sites, but makes them all available across a cluster of servers. Before going that route, you would utilize CDN caching (like CloudFlare). If you have lots of users logging in and viewing un-cacheable pages all at once, load balancing might be a good way to go. It’s not possible with CloudWays, but there are other platforms that are built this way (Pressable, Kinsta, Flywheel) or where you could set it up manually (Linode).

Hey there,

I can see 2 possible solutions here:

  1. You keep Multisite and try DB Sharding (on other servers on other countries), in order to make it more fail-proof. The other servers may even be very low-cost (your pocket rulez), in order just to serve DB access. Master/Record DB should stay on same Server of WordPress.

  2. You split your sites into different Applications and Servers, even on different countries to spread the load --> Using Cloudways CDN for each Application will probably make them a way faster than having them all under a Multisite. In this case your Sub-Domains should be pointed using DNS Services (like DNS Made Easy), to different WP instances.

Hope it helps you to see the big picture. I work as Cloud Architect and you can contact me in private in case you need a quote to build your Network(s).