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BackupBuddy and WordPress Multisite Lingo

BackupBuddyWith the test version BackupBuddy 3.0 (beta) coming out soon, I wanted to explain some of the many things that confuse a lot of people who may be new to WordPress or Multisites.

WordPress has a detailed explanation of what a Multisite Network is. I recommend you read that in detail please.

I see hundreds of awesome folks each month getting confused by Multisite and other related terms, in BackupBuddy in particular and in WordPress in general.

Here is a small effort to hopefully get that trend slowed down.

14 BackupBuddy and Multisite Terms You Should Know

Here is a list of what I think you should know before you do anything related to Multisites. Understand everything from the following list, and you’ll be good to go!

  1. Multisite

    A Multisite allows you to have a network of sites in one single WordPress installation.

  2. Network Domain/Site (Top Domain/Site)

    The top site in the Multisite, where you originally installed and setup the WordPress Multisite, is what is referred to as the Network Domain, Network Site, or Top Domain or Top Site.

  3. Sub-site

    A sub-site is one of the sites inside the Multisite Network.

  4. Single site

    A single site is either one single site inside the Multisite OR a site outside of a Multisite. It is usually used to refer to a non-Multisite site.

  5. BackupBuddy Import

    In BackupBuddy Multisite, Import allows you to bring in (import) one single site into the existing Multisite.

  6. Export

    In BackupBuddy Multisite, Export allows you to make a backup of one sub-site from the Multisite.

  7. Network Admin

    Network Admin is the user account which has the power to go into any site in the Multisite, add plugins, upload themes, etc.

  8. Site Admin

    Site Admin is the user who has power to be the admin to one specific site in the Multisite. They can add posts, add users, and other things, though they cannot upload plugins, they cannot upload themes, and they cannot add more sites to the Multisite.

  9. Network Admin Area

    This is the Admin Area, accessible only by Network Admins, where you can add new sites, upload plugins, upload themes.

  10. Site Admin Area

    This is the site-specific area where you have the tools to manage that specific single site. Not seeing the menu to upload plugins or themes, nor the menu to add sites, is a giveaway that you’re in the Site Admin area.

  11. Migrate a Multisite

    This moves an entire Multisite, with all its subsites, from one location to another.

  12. Migrate a single site (or sub-site) from a Multisite

    This is the process of moving one sub-site out of a Multisite and then migrate it elsewhere.

  13. Restore a Multisite

    This is the process of restoring an entire Multisite, with all its sub-sites, to its original location.

  14. Restore a Single Site

    This is the process of bringing back a single site to its original location. This can be on its own, or back into a Multisite (where it will be a sub-site).

Which terms did you know about?

From the above list, which terms did you already know about? Which terms did you not know about?

The next best question: what did I miss? What am I misunderstanding? Do you have any recommendations or terms related to the above?

Please let me know in the comments below. Thanks! :)


  1. We’ve also seen “Super Admin” and “Local Admin” as additional names for “Network Admin” and “Site Admin”, respectively.

    This is a really nice list. We have a Multisite plugin, and one of the trickiest things is to make sure everyone is using the same terms, so that when you describe what you’ve built, people understand it. Very useful post.



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