For large organizations, which sell products and services in more than one country, one website is not always enough to grow their brands. But, running more than one website and managing multiple sites can be a daunting task for several businesses. Drupal provides the most effective solution with a Multisite setup.
Drupal multisite allows you to keep your site up-to-date, and save your time
It empowers you to use the same code base for different sites
Multisite ensures single Drupal installation for several sites with single-core code, contributed modules, and themes
You can also keep a database and configuration settings separate for each site. Each site can have its own settings, content, enabled theme, and enabled modules. No matter you want your single brand to operate in the global market or spin up your new websites quickly; you can hire Drupal development services and get your custom sub sites ready within shorter time frames.
Setting up your Drupal 8 or 9 website for a multisite environment is not too hard if you’ve team expertise in advanced technical skills. It involves considering the default configuration and then focus on how you can override this config in different ways for each site.
The default config covers content types, fields, vocabularies, enabled modules, views, and other elements that make up the structure of your website. You have to override the config for custom block placement, theme components, and other elements that is particular to that sub site.
The primary element for a multisite setup is its Configuration Split module. With this module, you can keep the default config, override default config, or add custom config to your sub sites. Configuration Split is also used to make a difference between the development stage, the testing stage, and production sites.
Configuration modules offer two types of overrides:
Complete/ Backlist override – It involves adding configurations, which are not existing in the default config. This would be setting like content types or custom fields that are available only for the sub sites.
Conditional / Graylist override – This involves overriding the existing config from the default configuration. This would be settings like system.site.yml config file that holds the name of the site but with a literally other configuration.
If you wanted to have more content-based sites for different departments, but limited with developer and cost, it is ideal to opt for the multisite setup. Drupal supports this traditional way in all its versions. Drupal multisite is well known for its big savings in time, effort, costs, and resources across website development, installation, and management.
The multisite will be a great solution for easier management of all the websites. You can implement multisite set up:
When you’ve several sites, which are all similar in functionality
When you need multiple sites with the same core, modules, themes, or distribution
When you’ve got a lot of sites to manage but limited resources
Benefits of multisite setup
Multisite feature is used to save time on setup. For first time it will take time to build the setup, once the environment is ready; N-number of the site can be deployed with a minimal time of work.
Time-saving in multisite development and maintenance
Develop multiple sites with no extra cost
No complications when sites grow
Drupal multisite offers a single point of access
Sub sites can have their own features and themes
Work seamlessly in the development stage and production environments
Drawbacks of Multi-site
Multisite comes with lots of flexibility to your websites, but it doesn’t mean that there are no pitfalls with this setup.
Drupal occasionally subjects to security susceptibility. If a bug allows unauthorized access to the Drupal core code, the hacker can get access to your entire multisite. Moreover, you might need to reconsider the multisite configuration, in circumstances where the controls of the multisite aren’t run either by the same administrator or a group of people with mutual trust. Because, if anyone who has administrative privilege run an arbitrary PHP code on one site, that code could be used to affect other sites.
Unless you trust your administrators, you need to consider building your sites in separate spaces of your web server, which aren’t feasible to affect each other through PHP scripting.
When not to use Multisite
If there are any traffic spikes or security issues on one site, this can potentially influence other sites.
Any mistakes during website updates or changes can harm other websites as well.
Content is not shared.
Content types, views, or configurations are not shared within other sites.
Multisite can be considered only if you are not planning to introduce serious feature changes to selected sites from your “cluster.” If serious changes are planned, they should apply to all sites. When the functionality of websites is significantly different, it is better to use other approaches instead of multisite.
With Drupal Multisite, you can build lots of websites, which acquire a single config setup, while having the freedom to represent their own thing. If most of your sites are made of static pages, which functions similarly, then a multisite platform could prove a viable option. Embracing the Drupal multisite setup can help you in delivering a faster and better digital experience.