Drupal Multisite -The Ultimate Guide to Managing Multiple Drupal Websites

A web framework like Drupal allows you to manage multiple websites using a shared codebase. Those websites have a distinct URL, database, content, layout, etc., but rely on the same codebase. While this opportunity is quite beneficial for developers, it also has some drawbacks. And that’s the reason why you should evaluate the pros and cons and learn the nuances of handling multiple sites on your own. 

This article will help developers with the considerations they must make before they invest in managing multiple Drupal websites on their own. 

How Multisite Drupal Functions?

When you are trying to manage multiple sites or opting for multisite, these are a few things common in all of your websites. 

  1. Drupal Core. 
  2. Codebase. 
  3. Drupal Themes. 
  4. Available Drupal Plugins or Modules. 

Developers have to create separate folders under the ‘Sites’ folder for creating multiple Drupal sites. They don’t share a common ‘settings.php’ file or binary file (Images, uploads, etc.) and connect to distinct databases. Apart from this, those websites have unique configurations as the enabled themes, modules, and content is different on each site. 

Therefore, whenever a user tries to access one of the websites from your Drupal Multisite cluster, Drupal detects the domain and finds the enabled configurations and database according to the request. Thereby, users will be connected to the correct website quickly. 

A developer can manage multiple sites and configure or design them according to their wishes by applying various themes. This is how multisite functions. Developers further need to decide when creating multisite is most beneficial and then make use of it. 

Ideal Occasions for Developing Drupal Multisite

Multisite functionality has been introduced as part of Drupal web development to ease developers’ lives and not add more burden. One can create, deploy, manage, and update multiple sites at one go with multisite functionality. However, one needs to understand when it is most beneficial and use it in such scenarios only. 

  1. Websites with similar functionality 

Developing several unique looking websites with similar functionality is made possible with a multisite Drupal feature. You will have different themes enabled and designs implemented on your website to make it look attractive and unique. However, they will have similar functionality to perform. You can add similar websites in a cluster and manage multiple websites simultaneously. 

However, if you need to develop different sites with distinct functionalities, it would be best to avoid Drupal multisite as it will create more confusion and errors. 

  • Common development and support team 

Since multiple sites in the cluster share a common Drupal codebase, the job will be easier if you have a shared development and support team working on it. Suppose your organization needs to create multiple websites with similar functionalities, having a shared development team will make half of the task easier. 

  • Websites need common changes or no change 

If you are confident that none of the websites from the cluster will need separate changes, implementing Drupal multisite would be ideal. If you are unsure or think that one of the websites may require a different change in structure, layout, and functionality later in time, it would be best not to implement Multisite. 

Now, determine if your situation is ideal for Drupal multisite and then implement it. However, there are some additional pointers that you must research and think about before starting with the development process. 

Things to Consider Before Implementing Drupal Multisite 

  1. Hosting provider support 

Since the Drupal multisite feature requires you to deploy all the websites together and update them together, you will need to ensure that your hosting service provider facilitates this service. Though most providers allow the Drupal multisite functionality, some may show some conflict during deployment, update, or manage. Consequently, it is better to be clear on that front. 

  • Automated deployment 

Implementing Drupal multisite means developers will have a common piece of code to deploy all the websites present in a cluster. If there is a slight issue in that deployment code, there are chances that one or more websites might fail to deploy successfully. 

Consequently, you should ensure to have a seasoned development team that can handle the deployment process smoothly. 

  • Automated test cases 

It has a very long history of Drupal and when you implement Drupal multisite, you can automate test cases to deploy changes in multiple sites while checking for possible errors in those live websites. This reduces the time and effort of testers and developers. However, you should find a diligent team of developers and testers beforehand to ensure everything is smooth. 

These are a few options you must consider for managing multiple Drupal websites effectively. However, you would need a diligent and seasoned development team to manage all the cluster websites efficiently. Auxesis Infotech is one such Drupal development company that is capable of handling your multiple websites with ease.

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