[development] Multisite risks (formerly multisite complication)

Randy Fay randy at randyfay.com
Sat Nov 13 16:30:57 UTC 2010

My unpopular opinion is that multisite is completely unnecessary for the
vast majority of installs and has major drawbacks. The only fundamental
advantage of multisite is that that it saves some disk space (does that
matter?). But it has fundamental downsides:

   - It closely couples the database updates of many sites. (When you do a
   module or minor version update, you have to do the update and test on all
   the sites at that exact time. If you're doing it "right" it means that many
   sites may be offline until you're done.
   - It takes your filesystem risk and instead of having one site at risk at
   one time, they're all at risk. So if you have a new module you're
   introducing or an upgrade that has a bug it unfortunately affects all sites.
   - The files directory has to be managed exactly right; and it better not
   be sites/default/files.

IMO, multisite and database prefixing were for the old days before we had
unlimited accounts and disk space was free.

That said, if you know exactly *why* you're doing multisite and you want to
tie sites together, then that's fine. But "because Drupal does it and it
seems cool" is not a good reason.

Aegir is fundamentally a multisite idea, and it deals with all these
problems. It's a maturing approach to doing multisite quite well, and many
people are very happy with it. That's a good reason for doing multisite, and
it has all the issues above dealt with.


On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 8:56 AM, <jeff at ayendesigns.com> wrote:

>  I don't know. I'll try that out. In thinking this through, another
> question sprung to mind:
> If these categories are going to be various demos, with the intent of
> pushing a database overwrite hourly to repair any pummeling done via users
> playing with the admin panel, are there risks in them sharing the same code
> base with production multisite sites?
> On 11/12/2010 09:38 PM, Christopher Skene wrote:
> Does having a site folder called sub.domain.category_1 work? You may need a
> symlink in your root folder to this folder, called "category_1".
> On 13/11/2010 12:29 PM, <jeff at ayendesigns.com> wrote:
> Right, so sub.domain/category_1 would run off the same code instance as
> sub.domain/category_2, but separate db's
> On 11/12/2010 08:23 PM, Christopher Skene wrote:
> >
> >
> > So you want different sites on each categor...

Randy Fay
Drupal Module and Site Development
randy at randyfay.com
+1  970.462.7450
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