John Faber Managing Partner Follow
September 14, 2021

Drupal multisite is the method used to host many sites using one Drupal installation.  This concept and ability have been around since the beginning of Drupal.  It solved lots of problems at the time but created many new ones.   A well-discussed topic within the Drupal community and hosting agencies is: What is the right way to host multiple Drupal sites?  No set answer has emerged; there are lots of ways to do it. Chapter Three has found a better way.

Decoupled solutions like Next.js are getting better and better every day. Next.js is a turbo-charged replacement for the Drupal front-end allowing Drupal to be used as a pure back-end content platform. Drupal out of the box can create any content type architecture, with users, roles, and permissions created to determine who has access to publish and edit content. The taxonomy system allows us to create logical sections of content organized by corresponding terms. Everything on the content platform is available via JSON API calls that eliminate the need for Drupal’s complex front-end rendering engine. Using Drupal as a pure content platform opens up a new world of possibilities, especially for organizations with many sites to maintain. The write-once, publish everywhere paradigm takes on a new meaning when applied to multi-site. 

Chapter Three’s Solution: Next-Drupal

Chapter Three's next-drupal.org integration between Next.js and Drupal has many cool features, but the multisite feature is fantastic and could reshape how multiple sites are created and managed.   We have engineered our solution to allow editors to create and push content to numerous Next.js sites out of one Drupal installation.  What?  

Yes - you can build out as many as Next.js front-ends that you want, managing all of them from one Drupal installation.  

Using the Chapter Three https://next-drupal.org integration, you can configure Drupal to push content types to multiple sites driven by Next.js.  Replace whatever monolithic multisite structure you are using with lightweight HTML, CSS, and Javascript sites hosted on providers like Vercel or Netlify

Your developers will enjoy a modern developer workflow with shared code, components, and design tokens that take multi-site development, management, and maintenance to a new level.  Pattern Lab works well here, opening up easy-to-manage brand unification for all your sites.  Content editors will manage each site within one Drupal instance.  Live preview within Drupal of the individual sites gives context, editors will know what site they are working on.  The best of both worlds! 


One Instance, More Efficient Management

One instance of Drupal to do one thing; manage your content for all your sites.   Stop building individual Drupal sites for all your departments or other initiatives. Instead, do the following: 

  • Use content strategy to define the content structure, relationships, and components 
  • Evaluate content similarities across departments or sites
  • Create a shared or hybrid taxonomy system  and build  a unified content architecture using Drupal content types; simple is better 
  • Design the front-end (use a pattern library for more manageable long term management) 
  • Get content setup in your Drupal installation 
  • Set up your hosting for Next.js and Drupal 
  • Start deploying your department sites onto your Next.js provider 
  • Enjoy the ease of managing all your sites with one Drupal installation. 

Quick benefits of this solution: 

  • Modern front-end solution providing the highest performance possible for your site
  • Simplification of Drupal
  • Content cleanup
  • Exciting new front end opportunities for your site
  • Amazing technical workflow for your developers
  • 100% secure front end. 

Do you have a sticky Drupal 7 or Drupal 8 multisite issue you need to solve? Does your organization need a modern way to manage lots of sites?  Let’s talk. The Chapter Three Next.js solution may be what you are looking for! Our team at Chapter Three would love to work with you!