WordPress Multisite With Allowing Nested Folder Paths and Reference

The result is bad. If you are non-coders, better find another way to do so.
If your company is rich and already had niche sites generating a lot of money.
I think it is better setup a new site on wpvip to achieve nested folder paths.
Or just stick with the wordpress system rule, only do one subfolder instead of nested.

Ideas for the Structure

Language Codes = First path (Sub directory)
/zh-HK/, /en-HK/, /zh-TW/, /en-SG/
Content Sections = Second Path (Sub sub directory)
/hotel/, /trip/ as Content Sections
First Path + Second Path = Nested Folder Paths

My Reference: msn.com WP Multisite Nested Folder Path URL Structure

https://www.msn.com/en-us (sub subdirectory)
https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel (sub-sub directory)
https://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink (sub-sub directory)

This Site Structure Full List With Site Folder Names

Subdirectory NumbersURL
Many more language codes and sections will be added in the future


  1. Share all SEO juices, really look like msn.com
  2. Keep cetain Scalability for future expensive wpvip, cuz maximum nested paths(segments) for wpvip are two
  3. Can assign editors to specific subdirectory


  1. It is not a official way to make it happens, non-coders may face hacking or other security threats.
    It is better find a good hosting company which has similar case studies.
  2. After some wordpress updates, the sub sub folder path failed to login and read. Only the sub folder link is normal.
  3. All sites within multisite are sharing the same database, it may be so large and hard for backup, migrate. When one site is down, the others might be the same
    If want to reduce the risks and enable multisite network, can consider stand-alone subdomain method.
    Stand-alone subdomain can enable network (subdirectories) too.
    For example, hotel.wpsetupmultisite.com/zh-hk/
  4. In Cloudways, once updated the php version from 7.4 to 8.0/8.1, critical errors show on the wp-admin slug, leading it cannot login.
    I have to change the php code again for the php upgrade. So it is better to set the php to latest version first.
  5. Unable to change the url after setup. I set the language uppercase in the url at first, like zh-HK. I tried to change back to lowercase in both wordpress dashboard and MYSQL database. It didn’t work.
    It seems like it is a Cloudways problem – lack of search & replace function.
  6. Still don’t know subdomain works or not in this case
  7. For the super admin, it will make the sites list very very long in dashboard to read.
  8. Maybe not easy to switch hosting company
  9. Seems like have to focus on one market, for example APAC. Cuz all the subdirectories are on same server. As we all know hosting server quite affect the speed.

Plugins Compatibility for Creating What I said

  • Rank Math – Can network active. After enable in network and activate in Primary site, all sub sites will automatically connected to the account. All sub sites basically follow the primary settings, no need to export and import the settings.
    For the sitemap submit, user has to submit sitemap_index.xml on GSC for each sub site. See the detail answer from rankmath staff.
  • Wordfence – Installed and configured on the Network level. It covers all sub-sites, which means that you only need to setup once in the network admin dashboard, all the settings go to the sub site.
    Yes, you cannot change the settings on primary and each sub site. If you want to adjust some settings for different sub sites. You cannot make this happen. If your sub sites need the same settings as the primary, this is the security plugin you need. You only need to setup one time. And this is the security takes the lead.
    Only tested for the free version, I never tested the paid version.
    2FA = Google Authenticator App is free to use. However, no hiding login page feature in Wordfence. This is Wordfence explanation why they said don’t need it.
    For changing the login page URL or not, some wordpress developers like wpjohnny, startblogging101, they just left their login page wide open. So I don’t know changing URL is good or not. Both of them use Wordfence too.
  • iThemes Security – Network Active and no need to export settings. Most of the settings automatically goes to the sub site.
    However, maybe it is related to cloudways server issue. User always cannot receive the two-factor email from iThemes. The better solution is that uses Google Authenticator App to generate one time password for login. iTheme security built-in the Google Authenticator QR code for user. Yes. it’s totally free. User just need to download Google Authenticator App for better security.
    In this case, as WordPress admin, you have 3 layers of security. 1 is changing the login page URL. 2 is your wp user password. 3 is the Mobile App one time password. I can’t promise the security, cuz every site has chances to get hacked.
  • Flying Press – Network Active > It will have to be activated by license on each sub-site. It fully works with nested folder paths and count as 1 site.
    Import and export settings are not available for now but are on the roadmap.
  • Wp Rocket – After network active. The plugin will show an error on primary and all sub sites.
    Even though it works. It will have to be activated on each sub-site.
    You can use the export and import setting for quick setup in sub-site. If you are using the same WordPress theme, much faster. This site uses kadence theme.
  • Short Pixel Optimizer – It seems cannot export and import the setting. Need to setup the setting on each sub-site.
    For API activation. There is api key solution for multisite by typing the api key in wp-config.php. The solution also works well in nest folder paths. See the official documentation.
  • Enable Media Replace – Don’t have any issue, cuz no complicated setting at all.
  • Google Site Kit – Can be network Activite
  • Kadence – Must type the API License key on each of the subsites

Inside GSC (Google Search Console)

Connect GSC and Submitting Sitemap

Before setup multisite, remember set the primary site to https without the slash first.
Google is really smart in this field.
Steps: Active & Use Google Site Kit plugin to connect GSC > Use Rankmath create sitemap for primary site > Submit the sitemap on GSC
Repeat these steps for other sub and sub-sub directories.
Sub & sub-sub directories are all indexable.

Add hreflang tags & Target international Users in Google Search Console

It works but the hreflangs have to type in child theme and use child theme.

Limitation by doing it for non-coders

msn of course can make their SERP pretty, just like below image. Take msn.com/en-us/news/ as example.
You can see en-us & news both on the SERP.

But for non-coders like me, I can’t let google put my content sections on SERP. Google only smart enough to know the language codes = the first level of subdirectory.
Like Folder paths = zh-HK/hotel/ & en-HK/hotel/. Google only put the language codes on SERP.

I am thinking msn.com/en-us/ may not use the nested folder paths as I thought. msn has tons of developers. I did check msn cms which is wordpress.
However, I think their developers are smart enough to use the msn.com/en-us/travel as a stand-alone wordpress installation for different content teams.
In this case, the database will be smaller than my setup, also reduce the down risks.

Code Reference for making it happens

SEO Data

Post updated On 2022-12-1 4:30am
First Published On 2021-9-28 7:38pm
Submit sitemap on 2021-10-1

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