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Convert WordPress multisite to single site

How to Convert WordPress Multisite to a Single Site 

Written By: author image Joella Dunn
author image Joella Dunn
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the President of Duplicator. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

Do you want to convert your WordPress multisite to a single site?

A WordPress multisite network can make it easier to manage multiple sites. However, there are times when you might want to transition back to a single site. A single installation can offer more administrative control, flexibility, and scalability. 

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to convert WordPress multisite to a single site!

What Is the Difference Between a Multisite and a Single WordPress Site?

A WordPress multisite allows you to manage multiple sites from a single WordPress installation. You can use the same themes, plugins, and users across all sites. 

Think of it like a city where each website is a building, yet the foundation and utilities are shared. Handy, right? 

On the other hand, a single WordPress website is more like a house in the country. It’s independent from other WordPress sites and has its own themes, plugins, and users.

Each setup has its advantages. With a multisite, you can create as many sub-sites as you want. These will share data, making it easy to perform updates and other maintenance tasks.

BBC America is one of my favorite examples of a multisite network. There are sub-sites for different shows, but they’re all on the BBC network.

BBC America multisite network

However, a single WordPress site stands on its own. It doesn’t need any extra sub-sites, so all its content is under one domain. 

I know how confusing multisites can be for beginners. If you need extra information, I compiled this full guide on WordPress multisite!

When You Might Need to Convert WordPress Multisite to a Single Site

At this point, you’ve created a WordPress multisite network. But, you’re considering turning it back into a single site. 

Here are some scenarios where this is a good option.

Moving a Client Site to an Independent Server

Whether you’re a freelancer or run an agency, you might develop clients’ sites on a multisite network. In this case, you can migrate the site onto your server and make all the changes you need to.

Once it’s ready to go live, the client usually wants the site back on its own independent server. You’ll need to transition the multisite sub-site into a single WordPress installation. 

You could’ve also been providing ongoing maintenance and support for clients on your network. If they no longer need your services, the sub-site doesn’t need to be on your multisite anymore. 

The Server Costs Are Getting Too High 

Running a multisite might have seemed like a cost-effective solution at first. But as the network grows and more sub-sites are added, you’ll need more server resources to keep everything running smoothly. 

Migrating to a single site can potentially help cut down on these costs. Each sub-site can be on a shared hosting plan, reducing costs. 

A Sub-Site Has Grown

Alternatively, one sub-site on the network could become much larger than the other sites. You might want to set it up with its own web server and domain name. 

On a single installation, the site can have better search visibility. It can continue to grow without worrying about taking up too many resources.  

Need More Admin Control

In a multisite, all the WordPress plugins and themes will be installed and activated by the network administrator. The sub-site admins can only use new tools if the higher-level admin provides them.

By migrating to a single site, you’ll have full control over the site. It’s easy to install plugins and themes. You can even test out new code if you want to.

Plus, not all plugins and themes are compatible with multisite. A single site allows you to access all the tools in the repository. The options are endless!

The Difficulties of Converting a Multisite to a Single Site

Moving a single site to a better host or server is a fairly straightforward process. When you want to convert a multisite to a single site, it can get complicated.

This is because a WordPress multisite and a single site store data differently.

Just like a single site, a multisite stores separate upload files, posts, taxonomies, and other data for each sub-site. However, some data is stored once for the entire network.

When a new user is added, they have an account on the entire network, not just a sub-site. If you plan on migrating a sub-site out of the network, you’ll have to move its users separately.

As I mentioned earlier, themes and plugins are stored once for the network. This doesn’t matter how many sites are using them.

Although this simplifies updates, migrations become more difficult. Some data in the database is shared, so you can’t just export one sub-site’s database and call it a day.

How to Convert WordPress Multisite to Single Site

Converting a WordPress multisite to a single site can be challenging, but not impossible. Anyone can do it with the right tools!

Method 1. Use a Multisite Migration Plugin

The easiest way to turn your multisite into a single WordPress installation is to use a migration plugin. A tool like Duplicator Pro can seamlessly transition your sub-sites into standalone WordPress sites.

Duplicator Pro plugin

With Duplicator, you’ll completely remove any complicated migration tasks. It allows you to simply drag and drop each sub-site onto its own server!

Not every migration plugin can handle WordPress multisite. Duplicator Pro was built to help you import sites into and out of your network whenever you need to.

Step 1: Install Duplicator Pro

To get started, choose a subscription for Duplicator Pro. There is a free version available, but I’d recommend upgrading. You’ll get access to extra helpful features like multisite support and drag-and-drop migrations.

Then, open your multisite admin dashboard. Install Duplicator and hit Network Activate.

Activate Duplicator Pro in WordPress Multisite

Finally, open the plugin settings and find Licensing. Enter your premium license key and activate it.

Activate Duplicator Pro License in Multisite

Now you’re ready to export sub-sites out of your network!

Step 2: Back Up Your Sub-Sites

With Duplicator, you can turn your multisite into a standalone site. During this process, you’ll back up all your sub-sites individually. Then, you’ll overwrite the multisite with one of the single site backups.

First, go to Duplicator Pro » Packages » Create New.

Create new backup

Name the package or keep the auto-generated name. Although Duplicator supports many different cloud storage locations, choose Local.

Local storage location

Under Archive, click on the Multisite tab. You’ll see a list of all your sub-sites in the Included Sub-Sites box. Move all the sites into the Excluded box except the one you want to use as your main site.

Back up multisite sub-site

Click Next. Duplicator will then scan your multisite. Review any notices and hit Build.

Multisite subsite backup scan

After this, you’ll get a full backup of the sub-site. 

Download subsite backup

Be sure to download both backup files. Repeat this process until you have backups of all your sub-sites. 

Step 3: Overwrite Your Multisite

You’re ready to convert your multisite to a standalone site! To do this, find the backup of your main sub-site. Then, go to Duplicator’s Import page on your multisite dashboard.

Import website archive

Drag and drop your backup archive file into the upload box. You’ll see an overview of the imported sub-site.

Installed multisite subsite backup

Hit Continue. Next, launch the installer.

Launch site installer

In the installation wizard, make sure the Install Type is Convert network subsite to standalone site

Convert Multisite subsite to standalone site

At the bottom of the page, click Validate. Then, accept the terms and notices and continue to the next step.

Validate multisite overwrite

In the pop-up window, confirm the installation.

multisite overwite confirmation

After this, Duplicator will automatically convert your multisite into a standalone site. You can log in using the Admin Login button.

Finished multisite import

When you open your WordPress dashboard, you’ll also need to activate your plugins again. Duplicator should automatically delete its installation files so your site is cleaned up and ready to use.

Step 4 (Optional): Move Your Sub-Sites to Standalone Servers 

At this point, your multisite is fully converted into a single site. If you don’t need any of your sub-sites, you’re finished!

However, you may need to set up these sub-sites on their own servers. This prevents you from losing any data from your multisite.

First, find a WordPress hosting provider for your new sub-sites. Then, fully set up a new standalone site by purchasing a domain name and installing WordPress.

Go ahead and install Duplicator Pro as well. On the new single site dashboard, go to Duplicator Pro » Import

Upload one of your sub-site backup archive files. Once you launch the installer, choose Convert network subsite to standalone site.

Import subsite to new server

Complete the rest of the installation. Continue to set up each of your sub-sites on new individual servers. 

Method 2. Use the WordPress Import/Export Tool

There is a built-in WordPress tool that can export most of your sub-site’s data to a standalone server. However, it’s not a comprehensive migration plugin. So, you’ll still have to manually move plugin and theme files, as well as admin settings.

Step 1: Create Single WordPress Installations For Each Sub-Site

As a first step, you’ll need to install WordPress on a new standalone server. Do this for every sub-site, so you have new single site installs for each one. 

To help you out, here’s my guide on how to create a WordPress site from scratch!

Step 2: Upload the Plugin and Theme Files to the Single Server

Then, go back to your current multisite. In a file manager like cPanel or an FTP client like FileZilla, open your wp-content folder.

Download both the theme and plugins folders. Once you have these files, compress them.

Now, open the new single site in FileZilla or cPanel. Upload both of these folders to the new wp-content folder. Rename the old plugins and themes folders.

Upload multisite plugins and themes

After this, open your new single site dashboard. Activate your old sub-site’s theme.

Step 3: Move All the Sub-Sites Using the WordPress Exporter

Go back to your old multisite network and open the dashboard for the sub-site you want to move. Navigate to Tools » Export.

WordPress export feature

Choose All content and hit Download Export File.

On the new single site, find Tools » Import. Install the WordPress importer.

Install WordPress importer

Then, click on Run Importer.

Run WordPress importer link

Now, upload the XML file that you downloaded earlier. 

Import multisite subsite XML file

Next, you can import the original author user roles or create new ones. You can also download and import file attachments.

Import subsite authors

This will successfully import your posts, pages, and users. If you want to import widgets as well, you might need to install the Widget Importer & Exporter plugin.

Since the WordPress importer is fairly limited, you’ll also have to manually change all your admin settings. 

Step 4: Set Up Redirects

When you first set up your multisite, you might have used custom domains. If so, you don’t have to create permanent redirects.

However, many people create sub-sites on subdomains or subdirectories. In this case, you’ll need to redirect the old URL to the new one. 

Before you get started, make sure both the old multisite and new single site are using the same permalink structure.

Then, install All in One SEO on your old multisite. This WordPress SEO plugin has a redirection add-on with one-click full-site redirects.

AIOSEO WordPress SEO plugin

Be sure to sign up for AIOSEO Pro or Elite for the redirection add-on. Then, install and activate it on your multisite network.

Open the original sub-site’s dashboard. Go to AIOSEO » Redirects » Full Site Redirect.

AIOSEO multisite redirect

Turn on the Relocate Site option. In the box next to Relocate to domain, paste your new site’s URL.

Save your changes. This redirects all the content under this domain except the WordPress login and admin pages. 

Method 3. Manually Converting a Sub-Site to a Single Site

Pretty much any WordPress task can be handled manually. If you have some technical experience, this might be a good option. 

However, I’d recommend trying safer methods. Manually converting a sub-site to a single site leaves a lot of room for error, so you might end up breaking your site.

If you choose this method, be sure to create a full backup of your multisite beforehand. You’ll need to quickly restore a functional copy if you experience any issues.

Step 1: Move the Plugins, Themes, and Uploads

Just like the other methods on this list, start by setting up a new WordPress single site installation. Then download the plugins and themes folders from your multisite and upload them to your new wp-content directory.

If you’re not using the WordPress importer, you’ll also need to move your media files manually. On a file manager, go to wp-content » uploads » sites.

Find your sub-site and download its uploads folder. Next, add this to your new wp-content folder.

Step 2: Export the Sub-Site’s Database Tables

To export your sub-site’s database tables, open phpMyAdmin. 

WordPress phpMyAdmin

In a multisite, there are extra sets of database tables for each sub-site. Find the set for the sub-site you want to download.

Select them and scroll to the bottom of the page. Click on the With Selected dropdown and choose Export.

Export multisite subsite database

Select the Quick export method and the SQL format. Then, hit Export

Export multisite database

Step 3: Edit the Database SQL File

Next, copy the downloaded SQL file. Open it in your favorite code editor.

Here’s what you’ll need to update:

  • Links
  • Table references

These database tables still refer to the old site’s domain. Go through them and add your new URL.

Secondly, WordPress multisite tables reference the sub-site’s ID. For example, the prefixes are wp_XX_.

Single sites use the wp_ prefix. So, update all the tables with this new prefix.

Step 4: Migrate Sub-Site Database Tables to the Single Site

Before you import the original sub-site tables into the single site, you’ll need to drop the existing tables. To do this, select all of the tables except wp_users and wp_usermeta. Select Drop in the With selected menu.

Then, click on the Import tab. Upload the SQL file that you updated. Hit Go to import the database.

Step 5: Delete the Sub-Site From Your Multisite

After you’re finished with the migration, I’d recommend clearing your browser cache. Then, log into the new single site and make sure everything is working correctly. 

You may want to give yourself some time to troubleshoot issues and fully test your new site for errors. Once you’re confident the new site is good to go, delete the old sub-site.

Delete single subsite

Repeat this process for any sub-sites you want to convert to single sites.

Method 4. Manually Converting a Multisite to a Single Site

Alternatively, you might want to completely turn your main site into a single site. This completely gets rid of your network.

We’d recommend this option only if you have a few sub-sites. You’ll have to move or delete all of them, which can be a lengthy process if you have a large network.

Step 1: Delete or Migrate All of the Sub-Sites

To turn your multisite into a single site, it’s time to remove your sub-sites. Go to the Network Admin » Sites page and delete all of them.

Delete multisite subsites

You could also move each site out of the network and onto its own server. Be sure to follow the steps we included in the previous methods.

Step 2: Delete Extra Themes, Plugins, and Users 

Next, find your Plugins page and delete any tools you don’t plan on using. You should also remove any extra themes that won’t be used on the base site.

Maybe one of your sub-sites was a membership website. In this case, you won’t want records of all of these extra users. So, go through your users and remove any that shouldn’t have access anymore.

Step 3: Deactivate WordPress Multisite

When you activated WordPress multisite, you added code to your wp-config.php file. To convert it to a single site, you’ll have to make some adjustments.

In your wp-config.php file, find and remove this code:

define( 'MULTISITE', true );
define( 'SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', false );
$base = '/wordpress/';
define( 'DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', 'localhost' );
define( 'PATH_CURRENT_SITE', '/wordpress/' );
define( 'SITE_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1 );
define( 'BLOG_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1 );

Then, locate this line:

define('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);

Replace “true” with “false”.

You might’ve had to also edit the .htaccess file to set up the multisite. If so, open this file and replace the multisite code with this:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /wordpress/
RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]

# uploaded files
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?files/(.+) wp-includes/ms-files.php?file=$2 [L]

# add a trailing slash to /wp-admin
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?wp-admin$ $1wp-admin/ [R=301,L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^ - [L]
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $2 [L]
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(.*.php)$ $2 [L]
RewriteRule . index.php [L]

Save both of these files and close them. 

Step 4: Drop Extra Multisite Database Tables

Finally, you’ll have to drop a few database tables that were added to activate multisite. Log into phpMyAdmin and select all of these tables:

  • wp_blogs
  • wp_blog_versions
  • wp_registration_log
  • wp_signups
  • wp_site
  • wp_sitemeta

Use the With selected dropdown to drop these tables. This will convert your multisite installation into a single site! 

FAQs About Converting a WordPress Multisite to a Single Site

How do I change my WordPress site from multisite to single?

To change your WordPress site from a multisite to a single site, install a migration plugin like Duplicator Pro. Back up the sub-site you want to use as your main site. Then, import it back into the site, overwriting it with the single site backup.  

How do I extract a single site from a multisite?

You can extract a single site from a multisite by creating a backup with Duplicator Pro. As you’re customizing the backup, make sure only the target sub-site is included. Then, download the backup. 

How do I turn off multisite?

To switch off multisite, you have to edit your WordPress code files and remove the multisite lines from your wp-config.php file. After you’ve done this, you will need to remove the .htaccess rules related to WordPress multisite. Be sure to back up your site before making these changes to safeguard against any potential issues.

When is it not best to use WordPress multisite?

If you’re managing websites that need different plugins and themes, it’s not best to use a WordPress multisite network. Plus, when a sub-site gets too big and demands more specific server resources, transitioning into a standalone site might be the best move.


By now, you’ve turned your multisite into a single site! You’re free to install new plugins, redesign your theme, and grow your site as much as you want. 

While you’re here, I think you may like these extra WordPress guides:

Do you want to quickly convert your multisite to a single WordPress install? Download Duplicator Pro to overwrite the site with a sub-site backup, instantly turning it into a single site!

author avatar
Joella Dunn Content Writer
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.

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