How to Setup and Use Avada in a Multisite Environment

How to Setup and Use Avada in a Multisite Environment

The last couple of years have been exciting for our flagship Avada theme. Its elegant mix of responsive design, simple customization options and powerful built-in features have led over 125,000 satisfied customers to make it their WordPress theme of choice.

That powerful combination packs even more of a punch when deployed across a network of sites. In fact, more information on getting Avada up and running using WordPress Multisite is one of the most common topic requests we receive for the blog.

This article tackles that very subject. We’ll take you through the basics of installing and configuring a local WordPress Multisite network and using Avada as the main theme on each of your sites.

Background on WordPress Multisite

  • Network administrators benefit from one centralized interface that can be used to manage thousands of sites across multiple domains.

  • Individual site admins can be installed on a per-site level.
  • A shared codebase simplifies the maintenance and updating of plugins and themes.

Naturally, all of that flexibility and power comes at a cost. The requirements for Multisite in terms of hosting resources and technical knowledge are higher than they would be for a single site setup.
Server side settings will have to be adjusted and DNS configuration is certain to rear its head at some point. It’s also likely that you’ll need to upgrade from shared hosting if your network reaches any kind of significant size.

Further points to consider are the risk of:

  • exposing a network of online properties to a single point of failure, and

  • the shared database that Multisite requires by default.

Given the potential number of scenarios for matching Multisite to your live setup, we’ll limit ourselves in this article to installing Multisite locally. This is a sensible way of easing into the overall options and taking Avada for a spin in a safe environment.

Let’s get started!

Setting Up Multisite Locally

The benefits of having a local WordPress development environment are legion. We’ve recently taken a deep dive into the subject here on Theme Fusion with detailed guides for how to set them up on both PCs and Macs.

Rather than rehash the basic setups here, we’ll assume you have a single-site WordPress install running locally from the outset on either MAMP or XAMPP. There are a couple of considerations to bear in mind before we get going, mostly to do with the eventual domain structure we will use. Let’s get them out of the way to begin with.

What Type of Domain Structure Are You Going to Use?

Before installing Multisite, we highly recommend taking the time to go through WordPress’ excellent Before You Create a Network page in detail. Depending on the peculiarities of your local setup, there are a number of potential gotchas it can help you avoid.

Multisite allows two basic types of domain structure:

    • Subdomains (e.g.
    • Sub-directories (e.g.

    Which one you go for is a matter of preference. Those on shared hosting may experience problems with the subdomain option due to wildcard restrictions. You will also want to consider the SEO implications of the two different approaches. However, from the point of view of WordPress itself, they are essentially the same.

    It’s unfortunately outside the scope of this article, but it’s still worth noting that you also have the option of mapping a full domain to either of the options above. Those interested in exploring further should start by looking at the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin.

    In our example, we’ll be selecting subdomains and installing locally.

    A quick look at the Restrictions section of Before You Create a Network shows me I’ll need to create a virtual host to avoid running into problems using either localhost or on my machine.

    With that in mind, I’ve set up the following on my local install of MAMP:

      • A local domain called mymultisite.local.
      • Two subdomains called site1.mymultisite.local and site2.mymultisite.local.

      If you’re following along, check out either of these tutorials for full instructions on how to set this up on your own machine:

      Okay, our domain decision is made. Now we need to do some prep work.

      Pre-install Steps

      Our first task is double-checking that Pretty Permalinks are enabled on your install. This requires the mod_rewrite module to be enabled in Apache. On MAMP and XAMPP that should be by default. If you run into difficulties here, begin your troubleshooting at WordPress’ Using Permalinks page.

      The second task is to deactivate any active plugins you might have on your base install.
      With those precautions out of the way, we’re ready to enable Multisite.

      Enabling Multisite Functionality

      Enabling Multisite is as straightforward as editing one key PHP file.

      Enable Multisite in wp-config.php

      Simply open up wp-config.php and add the following lines above the text reading /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */:

      Copy to Clipboard

      To make sure your change was picked up, refresh the admin screen and look for the Network Setup item in your Tools menu. If it’s visible, the change has registered and Multisite is enabled.

      The Network Tools menu item

      Installing a Network

      Now let’s install our network by going to Tools > Network Setup. Here, we’re faced with the domain choice previously mentioned. I’m going for the subdomain option shown in the image below.

      Create Network screen

      You’ll also be required to name your network and enter an email address for the person responsible for administering the entire network.

      Network details entry fields

      With all the information entered, click Install.

      Local File Changes

      All being well, WordPress will now generate some custom code that you need to add to your wp-config.php and .htaccess files. Both these files should be in the root folder of your install. You may need to show hidden files (PC | Mac) to see the .htaccess file.

      Make changes to .htaccess and wp-config.php

      Find both files, enter the changes and log back into WordPress. You should now be looking at your familiar dashboard, but with one crucial difference in the top left corner – the My Sites tab.

      Post-login sites dashboard

      Adding Sites to the Network

      Next we need to visit Network Admin > Dashboard to add some new sites to our setup.

      Finding the Network Admin dashboard

      Suddenly being able to switch between multiple dashboards may take some getting used to, but you’ll soon get the hang of it.

      The Network Admin dashboard

      From here, it’s merely a question of entering our site details. In my case, I have two subdomains to set up so I simply step through the screens twice.

      Adding a subdomain site to Multisite

      A quick trip to our All Sites overview shows the new sites are added to the network and ready to be viewed.

      All Sites overview screen

      It’s now time to bring Avada into the picture.

      Installing Avada

      In Multisite, the network administrator is the only user who can install themes and make them available for individual sites. You have two options here; allow a theme for just one site, or enable it for the entire network. In our case, we’ll do the latter with Avada.

      Network Enable Avada

      Navigate to the Themes > Add New screen and install Avada as you would on a single-site install.

      Adding the Avada theme

      If you now return to the Themes overview you’ll see a new option next to each theme: the Network Enable/Disable link. Enable this for Avada. This will automatically add it as an option for every site on the network.

      Network enable checkbox

      Activate Avada on Each Site

      Now we’ll go into the admin dashboard of an individual site – in my case site1.mymultisite.local – and activate the Avada theme. Begin by selecting the site dashboard from the All Sites list.

      Select the Site1 dashboard

      After you’ve activated the theme, you’ll be prompted to install the standard Fusion Core, Layer Slider and Slider Revolution plugins. You’ll also be able to load any of Avada’s standard install demos via the familiar theme interface.

      Avada theme interface

      In my case, I’ve gone for the Avada Agency Demo to test the install. A quick trip to Visit Site via the top menu and everything appears to be in order. Avada is now officially working in a Multisite environment!

      Why You Should Use Avada For Your Multisite

      Avada is perfect for multisite environments for several reasons. The Avada demo importer allows you to quickly deploy a professional design to each of the sites in your multisite environment. One click of a button on each site will import the demo of your choice. This is a huge time saver and gives you the perfect jump start on designing your site.

      The overall performance of Avada is extremely good and can easily achieve in the 90’s through Google page speed and GT Metrix tests. This is very important for your overall site ranking and for your viewer’s experience when using your website. We recommend using W3 Total Cache to optimize your site. Using W3TC or other cache plugin is always recommended no matter which theme you prefer to use. ThemeFusion offers full support for using W3TC with Avada.

      Avada is also consistently updated and maintained for overall improvements. Among other things, this ensures that the theme will always be ready for new versions of WordPress or popular plugin updates.

      These are just a few reasons why Avada is a great fit for a multisite environment and why over 125,000 satisfied customers have made it their WordPress theme of choice.


      We’ve covered a lot of ground here, and hopefully shown that getting your Avada theme up and running in Multisite is relatively straightforward.

      Let’s briefly review the steps we took:

      • Installed WordPress locally.

      • Decided on our domain structure and set up local virtual hosts.
      • Enabled Multisite via wp-config.php.
      • Installed our network and made changes to .htaccess and wp-config.php.
      • Added two new sites.
      • Installed and configured our Avada theme.
      • Activated a demo install to review functionality.

      It’s admittedly no five-minute sequence, but still a small set of steps to gain access to the sort of functionality that a few years ago would have been the exclusive preserve of large firms with dedicated IT departments.

      Let us know how you get on with your own local installs in the comments section, and share your experiences of leveraging the power of Avada with WordPress Multisite.

      By |2018-10-31T20:06:20+00:00May 5th, 2015|Tutorial|


      1. Mike May 5, 2015 at 5:26 pm

        Slightly confused. What if I wanted to have say 12 different domains but with relatively similar information on them, just changing a few elements on each domain, for example, a different video and some different text at the top. Would multisite be good for this sort of application?

        • Tom Ewer May 8, 2015 at 8:53 am

          Hm…I couldn’t be sure without more information, but it sounds like you could run into trouble with Google, which may or may not be a problem depending if you will depend on search engine rankings. Can you tell me more about your project, or is this just a hypothetical?

      2. lost May 5, 2015 at 6:38 pm

        I need help!!! I want to buy the theme Avada, but i have a few questions about functionality with this theme. Can you tell me who can answer my questions?
        Anyway i want to add “Cause Functionality” with “Donate Button” in front page. Can i do it with Avada?
        I really appreciate any help. Thanks

      3. stardna June 30, 2015 at 8:32 pm

        I cannot reach the Theme Fusion through the online ticket server. It states the server is down. Its been over a week. I have an error..missing stylesheet. I troubleshooted with their directions and it does not work. Please help!

      4. Craig July 16, 2015 at 3:00 am

        My question is more financial oriented…do I have to purchase a separate license for each ‘site’ on a multisite install?

      5. steinway1701 September 2, 2015 at 2:46 pm

        We got all this setup and working in WordPress Multisite…but I don’t understand how to replicate the theme settings across all the sub-domains. For example, we have our ROOT site and two sub-domains (each with product specific information) but I want the headers, footers, and general site styling to be consistent between the three sites in the MULTISITE. How can I get the sites to all look like one cohesive implementation (so the user is not visually aware that they have been pushed to sub-domain)?

        • Tom Ewer September 3, 2015 at 9:53 am

          Hey there!

          In a multisite configuration, each site still has its own independent configurations. To achieve uniformity, you will have to copy the settings to the subdomains. (I’m not aware of a way around this.)

          Now, you may be thinking “Well, what’s the point in having a multisite install, then? And why can’t I just have global settings?” With a multisite configuration, you just have to install Avada once and it becomes available to all sites. This makes it easier to update too, and things take less space. On the other hand, by keeping settings separate, you can, for example, have different color schemes or widget sets between sites, allowing for much greater flexibility.


      6. Geez September 11, 2015 at 8:59 am

        Hi I have a question. Is it possible to have all the different styles of templates in Avada for only one website? Like if i want to change my template in home or any pages in my site then I’ll just have to choose from any of those templates anytime I want. Is it possible? Just making sure if it is possible ’cause if does I’ll purchase it.


        • Luke September 11, 2015 at 12:24 pm

          Are you referring to using one demo style on each page? So if you have 4 pages, each one can be a different demo? Unfortunately that is not fully possible. The layouts themselves can be used, but all the coloring and styling cannot be exact for each page. A lot of that is global settings.

      7. German Cadena September 16, 2015 at 6:52 pm

        Hello Luke,
        Following up on your comment above regarding Multisite. We are installing a few sites that are just clones from each other, but obviously, some small content changes since they are an extension of the main site, but needs a different look and feel, but follows the main site design. In this case, these sites are not used with major differences among them. They use entirely the same structure and layout and no installs will be done for any future multisite subscribers unless they buy a license. So my question is…

        We bought Avada to use it across our main project and complement it with subproject that are 99% the same content. In this case, can we use our main project license with the subproject sites (about 4 in total that complement other areas of our main site).

        We are doing great things with Avada that we hope to share with you soon.

        • Luke September 16, 2015 at 7:01 pm

          Hello! Email sent to you 🙂

      8. German Cadena September 16, 2015 at 7:40 pm

        Thanks Luke for a fast reply. Greatly appreciated.

      9. MatthieuMaud September 30, 2015 at 4:38 pm

        Wow… I feel a bit startled to say the least…

        I am a new customer, so let’s say I might be slightly off in my understanding on how this work. Hope you will help me understand what is going on.

        I just bought Avada to install on a brand new – subdomains – based network I am developing for my wide family.
        The theme is gorgeous and seems very well thought, let’s go for it.

        Before doing my purchase, I googled for the WordPress subdomains network compatibility of this theme and arrived on this very page where it just explains me how to set it up.
        Not bothering to go further than the article itself, I happily buy the theme.

        When I am about to install it, I register in and I am surprised while I watch the video “How To Register Your Product” where it clearly shows this is not a process done on network level once and for all.

        It will probably have to be done on every site, am I wrong in understanding I will need a licence for each one of my subdomains using this theme in order to update my theme in the future although this – important detail – is not mentioned in the section in this page where it says:

        “Why You Should Use Avada For Your Multisite –
        Avada is also consistently updated and maintained for overall improvements. Among other things, this ensures that the theme will always be ready for new versions of WordPress or popular plugin updates.”

        What does registering implies?
        Is it for support/automatic theme updates only (as stated in the Avada admin page on my subsites)? Or does it imply something else?

        Will I be able to – manually – update this theme at network level in the future?

        Could you please clarify this for me?

      10. djaef October 7, 2015 at 11:49 pm

        What’s the best way to update the theme on a multisite? Manually? I had a look via ftp, but the theme has been renamed Avada-master (I presume when network enabling it). Would I delete that folder, upload the new and then just re-enable it as a network theme? Or is there a better way?

      11. MC October 11, 2015 at 11:07 pm

        What if I want to make one site with Avada, and duplicate that site to multiple domains?

      12. NandoJourneyman November 3, 2015 at 10:47 pm

        I’m partial to using parent theme/child theme in my multisite installations. Since I last used Avada, it seems implementation of Parent/Child themes works correctly.

        I now have a client with two websites (both in Avada) that I’m re-doing. I’d like to use a Multisite WordPress installation with one parent Avada theme, and two Avada child themes.

        My plan is to rename the Avada child themes something like:

        Do you anticipate any issue with this setup?

        • Luke November 4, 2015 at 2:31 pm

          Hello! I do not see any issue with that setup. If you have any questions, post a support ticket for us and our team will help.


      13. Reuben November 15, 2015 at 8:10 am

        Any idea what this is ?

        I installed a WPMU install and tried to duplicate a site using mulitisite clon duplicator but I get this error when I try to use the dashboard..

        Fatal error: Uncaught exception ‘Exception’ with message ‘fetch – Unknown column ‘type’ in ‘where clause’— Query: select * from wp_10_revslider_sliders where `type` != ‘template’ order by id ASC’ in /home/adme/public_html/wp-content/plugins/revslider/includes/framework/functions.class.php:14 Stack trace: #0 /home/adme/public_html/wp-content/plugins/revslider/includes/framework/db.class.php(26): RevSliderFunctions::throwError(‘fetch – Unkn…’, -1) #1 /home/adme/public_html/wp-content/plugins/revslider/includes/framework/db.class.php(41): RevSliderDB->throwError(‘fetch – Unkn…’) #2 /home/adme/public_html/wp-content/plugins/revslider/includes/framework/db.class.php(132): RevSliderDB->checkForErrors(‘fetch’) #3 /home/adme/public_html/wp-content/plugins/revslider/includes/slider.class.php(2408): RevSliderDB->fetch(‘wp_10_revslider…’, ‘`type` != ‘temp…’, ‘id’, ”, ‘ASC’) #4 /home/adme/public_html/wp-content/plugins/revslider/includes/tinybox.class.php(19): RevSliderSlider->getArrSliders() #5 [inter in /home/adme/public_html/wp-content/plugins/revslider/includes/framework/functions.class.php on line 14

        • Luke November 16, 2015 at 12:10 pm

          Hi Reuben, Not sure exactly, but it is something to do with the rev slider. You can open a support ticket with us or them and we can take a look.


      14. Sylvain Mercier December 5, 2015 at 10:09 pm


        I plan to migrate a site made of a PHP/MySql very customized site including 16 wordpress blogs with quite different themes.

        I wonder I could use Avada to set up the main portal , deploying an MU network , then migrating each of the 16 blogs to the MU architecture.

        Sounds you possible?
        Have I to buy Avada for each blog?


        • Luke December 7, 2015 at 12:52 pm

          In theory yes you could do this, but the level of work involved would be hard to gauge at this point. Yes if each blog has different content, the Envato license you buy is good for only one site, you’d need to buy a copy for each site.


          • Sylvain Mercier December 7, 2015 at 1:15 pm

            Thank you for your quick reply.
            Can I expect to get a special discount in buying 17 Avada licences ?

            • Luke December 7, 2015 at 1:24 pm

              You are welcome. I wish there was, currently Envato does not offer discount pricing unless a vast number is purchased, like for a huge multi-site (University type of size).


      15. Aurélien PIERRE April 25, 2016 at 12:35 am

        Hi !

        I have 5 sites in use on a WP MU with Avada on all of them. All of them have the same theme options too. For now, every time I have to change something in the style, I have to edit separately each site and that’s pretty boring.

        Is there any option planned to bulk edit the theme options of all the websites of a MU installation when an individual management is not needed ?

        • Luke April 25, 2016 at 11:32 am


          Hmm actually there are not plans for that because even in a WP MU each site is different, different content, different style, etc. Are you saying that the 5 sites used in your MU installation are similar enough that each theme option you change would work for each one?

          If so, currently that is not something on our horizon, but if more requests come in it could be done.

          • Aurélien PIERRE April 26, 2016 at 5:34 am

            Yeah the websites are all the same except for the logos and the social media links.

            If some options could be managed on the network level and some others on the site level, it would be a huge time spare, at least for me 😉

          • George Pickett April 29, 2016 at 5:58 pm

            Hello! I have exactly the same problem. I’m updating our network of around 80 blogs to the Avada theme that we bought.

            I’ve installed Avada on the whole network, and out of the box, it looks pretty good, but we need to make tweaks to the theme options that need to be applied to all 80 sites. It seems like it’s not part of the current functionality, but there must be a way to manually copy some theme options files, no?

            Please ask around and let me know if you have some ideas!

            • Luke April 29, 2016 at 6:01 pm

              Hey George!

              Yes each install does have it’s own TO panel. However you can export/import options on the “Import/Export” tab here”:

              If you have further questions or need assistance with anything, signup at our support center and submit a new ticket. Our support team will gladly help! 🙂

              Click Here To Create An Account & Get Avada Support

              Thank you!

              • George Pickett April 29, 2016 at 6:16 pm

                Awesome awesome! Thanks, that saved me a lot of time.

              • Luke April 29, 2016 at 6:23 pm

                Anytime my friend 🙂

              • Luke April 29, 2016 at 6:24 pm

                Also, I’d love to see some of those 80 sites, feel free to email me when it’s all done!

      16. Ben May 2, 2016 at 10:06 am

        Hi there,


        I own a license of avada and I would like to use avada for customer websites too. Of course, when creating such a site, a new licencse will be bought.

        Now I am planning to create a Multisite Network with subdomains on my site, for showcasing WordPress with Avada for certain potential customer groups, like or, etc. Do I need separate licenses for those subdomains too? There will be only some demo-content, for showing what is possible.

        Thank you!

      17. Michelle June 15, 2016 at 4:19 pm

        Hello! This question is for multisites: When a plugin needs updated, will I have to go to each site to update it or can the plugins be added to the network admin? We currently don’t allow our multisite users to do anything with plugins.

        • Luke June 15, 2016 at 4:54 pm

          Hi Michelle,

          When using a multi-site network, you update plugins and themes through the main network area, which updates them throughout the entire multi-site. You go to “My Sites > Network Admin > Plugins” to handle that.


      18. Fabrice August 18, 2016 at 4:44 pm


        I am using wordpress/avada for my two sites and

        90% of the content is identical. I would like only a few pages to be different (team page for example – first page – logo)

        Does WordPress/Avada multisite plugin is the good solution ?

        Is there someone who can help me to set it up ? I look for someone serious who has a very good experience with wordpress and avada. I am ready to pay for this service. I want to keep my domain name like they are now.

        Thanks a lot,




      19. Fitness December 13, 2016 at 10:13 am


        How to fix search form in the multisite with sub-directories?

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