Multisite: setting theme and options when a new blog is created

The question:

When a new blog is created in a WP Multisite instance I want to be able to set the default theme and configuration options

  • create 2 menus (main and secondary) and associate them with the 2 slots provided by the theme

  • set various theme options as defined on the theme option page

What’s the best way to go about achieving this?

  • which hook should i use – I’m going to use this: (‘WP_DEFAULT_THEME’, ‘theme-folder-name’ in wp-config.php to set the default theme – unless this prevents a needed hook from firing.

  • easiest way to programatically create menus and associate them with existing theme menu ‘slots’

The Solutions:

Below are the methods you can try. The first solution is probably the best. Try others if the first one doesn’t work. Senior developers aren’t just copying/pasting – they read the methods carefully & apply them wisely to each case.

Method 1

The best hook I can find is wpmu_new_blog (line 1086, wp-includes/ms-functions.php, wpmu_create_blog()) – it passes 6 arguments like so;

do_action( 'wpmu_new_blog', $blog_id, $user_id, $domain, $path, $site_id, $meta );

$meta is an array of initial site options, not to be confused with the options generated by populate_options().

Programatically creating nav menus may prove to be a little tricky, as there is no ‘API’ as such – they’re a mix of posts, post meta and nav_menu terms, coupled with a few available functions such as is_nav_menu_item() and wp_setup_nav_menu_item().

My best advice would be to check out wp-admin/nav-menus.php, as this is where all the core code lies for creating menus.

Using WP_DEFAULT_THEME should be fine, and is probably the best approach too.

Method 2

This is a little late, but I had to figure out the other part of this question on my own and thought I would share.

To create a default menu and place it into a theme location, you will need a pre-existing location in the theme, and you will need to ensure any pages you link in your menu are also created already.

In your theme’s function.php, register any menu locations. I registered two:

function my_register_navs() {
        array( 'header-menu' => __( 'Header Menu' )
        , 'footer-menu' => __( 'Footer Menu' ) )
add_action( 'init', 'my_register_navs' );

Next, you will need to create your menus on site creation. I didn’t use a hook for this, but instead called wpmu_create_blog manually, but you could hook into wpmu_new_blog if you preferred.

// Create the menus
$hdr_menu = array(
    'menu-name'     => 'Header Menu'
    , 'description' => 'The primary navigation menu for this website'
$header_menu = wp_update_nav_menu_object( 0, $hdr_menu );

$ftr_menu = array(
    'menu-name'     => 'Footer Menu'
    , 'description' =>  'The menu that appears at the bottom of most pages in this website'
$footer_menu = wp_update_nav_menu_object( 0, $ftr_menu );

// Set the menus to appear in the proper theme locations
$locations = get_theme_mod('nav_menu_locations');
$locations['header-menu'] = $header_menu;
$locations['footer-menu'] = $footer_menu;
set_theme_mod('nav_menu_locations', $locations);

Lastly, you’ll need to add items to the menus. Repeat this code for each item in each menu.

// Build menu item
$menu_item = array(
    'menu-item-object-id'       => $page_id
    , 'menu-item-parent-id'     => 0
    , 'menu-item-position'      => $menu_order
    , 'menu-item-object'        => 'page'
    , 'menu-item-type'          => 'post_type'
    , 'menu-item-status'        => 'publish'
    , 'menu-item-title'         => $label

// Add to nav menu
wp_update_nav_menu_item( $header_menu, 0, $menu_item );

Hope this helps! Here are some external references for you:

Method 3

function mysite_wpmu_new_blog($blog_id)
    switch_theme('my-theme', 'my-theme');

add_action('wpmu_new_blog', 'mysite_wpmu_new_blog');

This works for me!

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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