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Sourav Bansal Author's Perspective
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3 Minute read

The Ultimate Guide to Drupal Multisite

Organizations with business across brands, geographies, locations, or languages, often need multiple front-end websites that can be operated from a centralized back-end. The Drupal multisite module can help meet this need in an effective and efficient manner. A Drupal multisite installation supports more than one Drupal website on a single codebase.

With this article, let’s understand it better.

What is Drupal Multisite?

Multiple sites combined in the same Drupal installation — that’s the elementary principle of Drupal Multisite feature. Rather than a single site, you get many - created, managed, deployed, and updated websites from a centralized location, since they share the same codebase. On the front-end though, they have different URLs.

A multisite is accomplished by forming different folders for various websites in the /sites/ folder of the Drupal system. For example:

  • /sites/demo1/
  • /sites/ demo2/
  • /sites/ demoN/

When the server receives a request, Drupal multisite solution can map the request based upon which domain it comes from, a specific folder, and load the suitable database and configuration (enabled themes, modules, content, etc.) serving clients with the needed content. We can further control which front-end website can use which modules and themes, by putting them into correct folders accessible only for specific websites.

In Drupal Multisite Setup, features shared by various websites are:

  • Codebase
  • Drupal core
  • All Available Themes
  • All Available Modules

In Multisite Setup, Features not shared by different websites are:

  • Base domains or URLs
  • Enabled modules for various sites
  • Database
  • Configuration
  • Enabled Themes for various sites
  • User profile
  • Content
  • Files

Why Choose Drupal Multisite?

Drupal multisite is known for its structured utilization of time, effort, costs, and resources. Sites are hosted on a single server, with the same codebase, and all processes can be executed in the centralized environment, at once.

Drupal Multisite reduces the amount of code and maintenance required. Less code is less trouble. Drupal takes it a step further and makes it effortless to run the code. It enables developers to:

  • Make sure that code is up to date
  • Review it without any hassle
  • Maintain a high standard of quality with the code overall

Drupal Multisite also makes it simple to develop a new module or theme for your website — and smoothly share it across different sites. For example, upgrades and updates don’t have to be reiterated for all sites — a single action is sufficient. This is the same for core, modules, and themes updates, as well as upgrades for server OS, applications, and database software.

Drupal multisite also provides the presence of valuable solutions and tools like:

  • The Domain Access module that aids in managing related websites, and enables sharing configuration, users, and content between these sites.
  • The Domain Menu Access module that helps to figure user’s access to menu items based on the domain.
  • The Apache Solr Multisite Search module that is used for potent search purposes across multiple sites.
  • The Aegir hosting system, recommended by drupal.org, that mitigates multisite risks.

Benefits of Using Drupal Multisite

Drupal Multisite provides a great way to lessen the extent of code and the time it takes to maintain it. It can help companies develop websites quicker and easier. Following are some prominent benefits of using Drupal Multisite:

  1. Easier to maintain codebase: According to the development perspective, having a single codebase is more facile to maintain. Developers can access the single codebase to run whatsoever fundamental changes across all sites associated with the codebase.

  2. Cost effectiveness: Multisite enables multiple websites to be set up, without heavy additional costs. The only cost that you hold up is what you pay to your hosting provider.

  3. Single point of all user access: Drupal multisite grants developers a single point of fit to control all sites. Developers can also create separate user accounts and assign each user to a specific database or site, hence controlling what’s appropriate and grants access to each user.

  4. Customized themes and features: Multisite that uses the same codebase doesn’t leave you stuck with the identical layout, design, and features. For every site, you can install a unique theme and use plugins as per your choice.

  5. Centralized database to share content: The Drupal Domain Access module integrates all the individual databases to an exclusive central database. With the help of this central database, users can share content, tools, and site features crosswise to all sites.

If you have to develop and maintain a number of sites, you should absolutely consider a multisite approach. To decide whether you should choose a multisite setup or for separate sites, we are here to help you out! Contact Us at marketing@altudo.co.

Sourav Bansal


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