Multisite Implementations with Different Domains

billp44ruby's picture

I've been using multisite for over a year and have set up subfolder sites (i.e.,, and a subdomain site (i.e.,

I'd like to use separate domains for implementations as well and just want to check to see whether I'd go through the same process.

It would seem that this would be similar to a subdomain implementation. For that, I created a folder in the sites directory of and put the proper settings.php file and file directory underneath it. I then had to update my DNS to point that subdomain to my server's IP address. This process worked fine.

Now, to set up a separate domain (i.e., would I just follow that same process and create a site directory of Could I then just repoint my DNS server to my server's new IP address? Or is there a different process involved.

On a related note, I have as a live site now and I'm basically moving it to a new server. At the same time, I'm creating a whole new site, which I'll need time to build before going live. Is it possible to just implement this as a subdomain first (i.e., and then change the site directory name when I'm ready to launch it? Or is there a different recommended process involved?

Thanks in advance for any guidance.


Multi Site Setup with one Drupal Instance

mojaray2k's picture

Hello billp44ruby ,

I actually made a YouTube video on this. Instead of me writing a long diatribe. Give me feedback from my video about this. I think that everything you want to do is covered in this video.

Okay, that's a good start

billp44ruby's picture

Thanks for sharing that Amen. Great that you demo'd that using Plesk as well, because that's what my hosting company offers. With the assistance of your video, I'm pretty sure I would know how to implement this if the domain I wanted to add was a new domain, but I'm not sure how I would go about moving a domain from one server to another as the existing site has to be there while I build out the new one.

Is it possible to build the newsite on a subdomain (i.e., and then rename the sites folder to when I'm ready to transition to the new site? Any recommendations on how I would go about doing that?

This is doable

mojaray2k's picture

Just go ahead and build the site on a subdomain. And when you are ready put it in the root folder of the domain you eventually want it pointing to. THere is nothing special about this. What I typically do is I have 4 environments:

If you use Plesk all you have to do is push the MySQL database from say staging to your main site and it is easily migrated. The only files you might have to push are css, and templates. But you should be using the same template for all environments.

Thanks again.

billp44ruby's picture

Let me make sure I have this right. So (keeping it simple) I would create a and a in Plesk. I would also create directories in the sites folder, and, respectively, using the multisite methods highlighted in your video. I would presume that each of these would have their own unique files directory and settings.php file, plus their own MySQL database.

The cutover to the new site is still a bit confusing to me. When I'm ready to launch the newsite, I'd copy the "files" folder from to the directory, along with any CSS files, etc. that are part of it? That makes sense. I'm not sure though how to 'push the MySQL database' from to I have checked Plesk and they have a 'Make a Copy' option, but I'm not sure I see anything else.

If you could clarify that process (or point me in the direction of documentation for going through this process), I'd really appreciate it.


A Settings File and Databases

joyseeker's picture

The way I do it, there's only a settings.php file in the subdomain directory, putting the new database settings in the settings.php file. When you fire up the subdomain and you upload an file like an image, Drupal will put a files folder inside the subdomain directory automatically.

As for databases, I set up my primary domain with all the common parts needed, like common modules and their configs, Views, Display Suite, Panels, Rules, HoneyPot, Module Filter, etc. and basic things like roles and permissions. Then I export the primary domain database as a tarball using phpMyAdmin, and import the tarball into the subdomain's database, creating an instant site with all the database settings I need to begin with. Then I begin customizing the subdomain.


Thanks Joyseeker

Lakeside's picture

Susan, nice tip. Thanks.


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