What Are the Benefits of Drupal Multi-Site?

Drupal is one of the most popular open-source content management systems, or CMS, used to build and manage websites. According to W3Techs, as of the time of publication, Drupal is the back-end for technology for approximately 1.8 percent of all websites in existence. Part of Drupal’s popularity is that it is highly extensible and scalable, and can be used to administer multiple websites from the same Drupal installation, sharing code, customizations, modules and other features.

  1. Simple Updating and Upgrading

    • If you run a number of websites, each using its own discrete CMS, you have to individually update each site every time you want to make a change to the design or content, and separately download, configure and install any updates to the CMS software. Using a multi-site installation of Drupal allows you to “hook” together websites, particularly those that are somehow related to one another -- by topic, business, brand or content -- and make a batch of global changes across all those websites, as desired. Upgrading the software also only has to occur once, and then affects all the sites that share the multi-site Drupal CMS. The Drupal CMS also allows you to keep content and design unique to each site, if that is what you prefer, but still allows you to take advantage of the centralized upgrading and updating functions.

    Standardization

    • Features or modules can be readily shared across websites that reside in the same Drupal installation, a feature that can be extremely useful for multiple sites that share the same core messaging or brand. No separate programming or design is necessary, and although the content or appearance can be altered for each site, the functionality and experience remains the same for a user.

    Staffing

    • Because Drupal multi-site is centralized and upgrades can be done once, globally, as well as the ability to add or create original content per site, organizations can limit the number of staff required to maintain multiple websites. Using Drupal for all sites also limits the amount of training necessary to get webmasters or administrators up to technical “speed,” as they only need to become familiar with one CMS.

    Cons

    • While deploying multiple sites on Drupal is a convenient, timesaving solution for many businesses and organizations, there are also a few cons. While each site can look unique and contain individual content, the ultimate information architecture of all sites is the same. One database holds all the content for all sites, and can become unwieldy or unstable. Another concern is that if one site has a security breach, then all sites have a breach.

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