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Do You Need The Drupal Multisite Installation?

  • Jul 19, 2013
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Let’s discuss Drupal’s multisite installation that many web developers have been raving about. Drupal has given web developers the advantage of running a number of websites with only one codebase. This can be a great option for web developers that like to be able to keep a lot of websites organized. Web-Developers will be more organized with a multisite installation because they will have less code to manage and fewer configurations to remember for each site. Web-developers that manage many sites with different configurations of scripts can attest to this. The Daunting task to have to take notes and make jottings as to why certain actions were taken and little problems encountered can become very frustrating. This is one of the reasons Drupal is considered a Content Management Framework (CMF) and not just a Content Management System (CMS). The multisite installation can also be very useful for administrators that need to be able to make changes to many sites, with one alteration to the script. Drupal elements that are shared between web sites in the multisite configuration are modules, code and themes. The resulting effect is that managing all of the websites is much easier as changing the code will result in changes with all the sites connected in the configuration.

Do you need the Drupal Multisite Installation

The multisite configuration can have both advantages and disadvantages. Using only one script means that many websites are dependent on only one source for its codes.

What are the Advantages of the Multisite Installation?

  • Managing multiple websites is easier since there is only one script. This lowers confusion by providing a base for all the websites to run from. There is no need to record or recall the script that each site uses.
  • It promotes easier Site Development. Sites are easier to develop and add to your group because you have a codebase that has been running and has proven itself to work., hence,it is easier to test and debug a new site.
  • You have more software options. Different software can be used on the same site.
  • HTTP and HTTPS secured sites can be run on the same server.
  • Drupal Upgrades are much simpler.

What are the Disadvantages of the Multisite Installation?

  • A major drawback is that administration can be difficult or insecure if there are more than one privileged users that will administer the sites. Since all of the websites depend on one script, a change made to the script would affect all of the websites in the configuration. It could also be a problem if something goes wrong for one website in the code. Basically, if one website has bad code or an error, all the others will also be affected. Therefore if each website will have a separate administrator, then separate installations with unique core codes might be a better option.
  • The Multisite configuration shares the same code but does not provide the option to share database data.This might be an advantage to an administrator that wants all the data to be shared across all or even some of the websites. User comments and nodes will only be on the website that it was posted on and not on the other sites in the multisite configuration. If you require that everything be shared between each website, then a multisite installation might not be the proper tool.

What Factors would make the Multisite Installation Unsuitable for Me?

Well, it all boils down to these factors

  • Are you the only one that administers all of the sites you want to include in the configuration? Due to the different options administrators might require, a multisite configuration mightmake it difficult to satisfy everyone, because it relies on one script. Yes, there are modules that can help to please all, but not to the best possible extent.
  • Do you require that at least one website be up and functioning properly at all times no matter what happens? The single script setup means that one error affects all websites. Thismeans that if the script is hacked or an error in the code is created, all websites feel the change.
  • Do you want comments, nodes and content to be distributed to other websites? Database sharing is not an option with Multisites.

Happy Web Developing!

About the Author:

James Dean is an avid hiker that lives & breathes the outdoor life, capturing every moment with his childhood passion of photography. Following his interest in business, he writes columns forDrupal Developers in Orange County. Follow him on Google+