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Drupal Multi-Site Architecture

Learning how sites can share content, themes, modules and even database tables.

LSD - Large Scale Drupal

When planning a large-scale Drupal site there are many Drupal architectural decisions to make; just because you are planning multiple semi-independent sites does not necessarily imply multiple Drupal installs.

When to multi site

Whilst there are many factors to consider e.g. does the site need to appear to site visitors as one site or many sites, how different the theme and layout will be, what the content editing workflow will be, and whether or not content needs to be shared between sites and sections – as a general rule on whether to use multi site installs or not you can say:

  • If the sites are similar in functionality (use same modules or use the same Drupal distribution) – there is a strong case
  • If the functionality is different – there is a weak case

For many multi site architecture is drived by the desire to want your sites to stay as up-to-date as possible regarding drupal module security and when you have different functionalities this is more difficult to do because it takes a little more time since you need to test each site independently.