Here is another recipe for success. You can have a whole team of websites playing for you, and they don’t have to be created from scratch or managed separately. The secret lies in Drupal’s well-developed multisite functionality. Thanks to this, Drupal will not only let you leave your competitors behind, but also multiply this effect by many times. Let’s see how the multisite feature works, when to choose it, and what benefits it brings. In addition, pick up a couple of useful multisite modules and tips.
The essence of Drupal multisite functionality
According to Drupal multisite architecture, you can have several sites running on the same codebase but having separate databases and configuration settings. They will share the same Drupal core, modules, and themes, but at the same time will be customizable to your liking.
For example, you can enable and disable the shared modules as you please. You are also free to decide whether you want to add some site-specific modules and themes. Welcoming the same users with single sign-on or not, sharing content across websites or not, creating a similar or different website’s look and feel — these are all options you have.
Like siblings in real families, multisites can look and behave alike or each have their own original styles. However, they definitely share their family DNA.
Hence the next main principles to stick to when deciding on multisite architecture: it’s best to choose it if your website family is going to have similar functionality, share important Drupal modules or use the same Drupal distribution. In these cases, it will be especially beneficial and easy to implement.
At least some of Drupal multisite benefits
No extra development costs
By setting up multisite, you save on development costs by not creating related sites from scratch.
Just like you don’t have to pay for creating websites from scratch, you don’t have to wait for it.
With multisite architecture, it’s much easier to stick to brand guidelines on the design across websites.
Less efforts for website management
You will need less time, efforts and costs for your website administration, because you can do certain actions only on one without repeating them on all the others.
- website upgrades
- sharing content
- making changes
and much more.
A couple of useful multisite tools and tips
Drush command-line interface is very useful for managing multisite deployments and upgrades. According to drupal.org, it lets you cope with 100 to 1000 websites, and this opportunity is widely used by university websites on Drupal. Multisite is a real salvation for them!
Using the sites/sites.php file in Drupal 7 and the sites/sites.example.php file in Drupal 8 to reference sites will help you more easily migrate between development, testing and production environments.
Consider some Drupal modules that extra helpful. Thanks to the Domain Access module, you will be able to easily share configuration, users, and content between your affiliated sites. Menu Domain Access lets administrators decide which menu items to hide and which to show to users on selected domains. Apache Solr Multisite Search provides Apache Solr Search function across multiple sites. RobotsTxt will dynamically generate a different robots.txt for each member of your website family — and there also lots of others.
Enjoy the multiple benefits of Drupal multisite! Our team is always ready to consult you and, of course, perform the smooth multisite setup.
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