[development] Multisite risks (formerly multisite complication)

Randy Fay randy at randyfay.com
Sat Nov 13 17:21:14 UTC 2010

I'd rather do a

Take site offline
cd /site/base
git pull
drush updatedb
and test the results
put site online

on each site, than do

Take all sites offline
cd /site/base
git pull
cd into each sites dir one by one
drush updatedb
test each
Put them online as it works out

The time is about the same. The risk is much lower.

You can still run them all of the same code repository; I have no issues
with that.


On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 9:58 AM, <jeff at ayendesigns.com> wrote:

>  My main reason for using multisite is time. I have 20 domains. If I am
> going to keep 20 Drupal sites 'in the green' (core/module status) with each
> having their own code base, it's 20x the effort.
> On 11/13/2010 11:30 AM, Randy Fay wrote:
> 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.
> -Randy

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