Catalogger, multi-domain vs multi-site.

Managing several sites on a daily basis can quickly become time-consuming: configure each instance, switch from one administration interface to another, make links between sites. Catalogger was designed to manage a multi-domain function (several domains share the same data) and a multi-site function (several sites share the same instance of the CMS on a server).

The multi-domains by Catalogger

It is a "Group" of sites created from a single installation of the CMS Catalogger and managed from its single interface. Catalogger allows each site to have its own interface in order to better manage the rights of its contributors. Published sites can share a resource space, a database, themes, functionalities. All sites use the same "file system"; a single hosting allows you to set up as many sites as the server can support.

The multi-sites by Catalogger

It is a set of sites created and operated from the same instance of the CMS Catalogger and managed from a single interface. Catalogger allows you to administer each site independently while sharing page templates, themes, CMS features. All sites use the same "file system"; a single hosting allows you to set up as many sites as you want.

Multi-domain versus multi-site schema

With a multi-domain/multi-site configuration, it is possible to support the most basic multi-domain form - i.e. websites that look similar with simple variations in the content of each website - to websites that are so different from each other that you wouldn't know they are based on the same CMS. We can also talk about distributed information.

An experience

Over the years, to meet the needs of our clients, we have developed and produced several websites in different fields or sub-domains. Some of our multi-site and multi-domain projects are, for example, a real estate development platform available in several versions according to geographical, commercial and tax criteria:

https://www.azur-immobilier.com

Thanks to this project, we were able to finalize the design and development of this multi-domain solution to create, manage and deploy multiple websites from a Catalogger installation without the need for developers or IT support.

Multi-domain architecture

The main advantages of such a configuration, from an IT point of view, come from the fact that this configuration reduces maintenance efforts on both the CMS Catalogger side and the infrastructure. Server operating system updates, server applications, database software, kernel, and Catalogger modules and features are implemented only once. This reduces testing, maintenance and deployment costs.

Multi-domain benefits

It seems that many organizations, hosting a large number of websites or using different techniques for each new website, can benefit from the multi-site or multi-domain function. Supporting such a diversity of web solutions can be a heavy burden for the IT department, which ultimately must generally maintain and support these websites and all the different techniques that accompany them. With Catalogger, these problems are simplified considerably.

Multi-site architecture

Catalogger was developed to allow an instance of the CMS, on a server, to be able to manage as many sites as the server can support.

Multi-site benefits

With such a configuration, the server uses its resources to instantly generate HTML pages and make websites faster. Disk space is used only for the files that the site needs and not for the site instance.

Multi-domain / multi-site combination

It is possible to design a combination of multi-domain / multi-site sites on the same instance of the CMS.

Maintenance and safety

As you can imagine, the complexity of maintenance and security increases with the variety of technologies and configurations. With this, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), to have an online marketing presence, online marketing and communication tools increase. In such cases, having a single CMS, to secure and maintain, is valuable to save time, money and minimize IT security risks.

Saves time and money

The implementation of a multi-domain/multi-site requires only one Catalogger installation, where the creation of separate sites would require one application installation for each portal. It is managed via a unified administration interface; you no longer need to juggle from one interface to another, everything is standardized and centralized. Similarly, the instances of a multi-site share their themes and modules, so you no longer have to repeat the same graphic and functional instructions on each site. The integrator that develops service for one of the sites, therefore, makes it potentially available for all the others. Finally, the maintenance of a multi-site/multi-domain is faster: Catalogger updates, themes and modules only need to be performed once to be applied to all your sites.

An economical method

All instances of a multi-domain/multi-site share the same hosting. Therefore, hosting is cheaper than hosting several sites separately. A multi-site also allows you to save resources on the server: it uses a less disk space than the implementation of several separate portals and allows resources to be shared. Finally, once again, updates are required on only one file system for all sites, which facilitates maintenance. With Catalogger you have a maintenance/evolution contract per site (150 euros/site/year).

Simplified management

Multi-domain configuration centralizes the hosting and management of all your subdomains. Thus, there is no longer any need to remember the multiple access codes and passwords of hosting and management platforms, nor the different expiry dates of hosting contracts.

Developments and evolutions are factorized; all instances can share the same themes, modules, and graphic design elements. You or your service provider saves precious time in all phases of the project's life and, if you wish, it is possible to share everything to ensure the graphic and functional consistency of the sites.

Finally, on the contribution side, you can manage your users so that they have access to one or more sites. You can also manage their rights by site and thus manage precisely who can produce or publish content on a particular site on the network.

Content management

The advantage also applies to content management. In a multi-domain configuration, a single content editing interface can update multiple websites and content elements with a single moderation. Content management can be streamlined and simplified by publishing content in many domains or on multiple sites with a single content entry or transfer.

Share content

Thanks to this multi-domain / multi-site solution, you have the possibility to publish content on several sites of your platform. This distribution/multiplication of content must be done correctly in order not to damage your referencing.

Share a common graphic design on several sites

Does your company have subsidiaries or franchises? The multi-domain allows you to standardize the sites thanks to your theme, your graphic charter so that all the sites of the company have a coherent (but not necessarily identical) image.

Set up a white label device

The multi-domain can also be used to set up a white label device. Thus, you can create a website that presents your product or service in your own way; companies that want to sell it under their own name only have to add their graphic charter and define their message.

Achieve economies of scale

Your company needs to create and manage several websites? The use of a multi-domain will allow you to save time and money on the creation (installation, contribution) and maintenance of your sites (hosting costs, updates). Even from 2 sites, you should be able to make this architecture profitable!

Easily create and configure new websites

Within the Catalogger solution, we have also implemented features with which administrators, without needing our help, can create and configure new websites.

We also allowed them to stylize these new websites, for example with custom themes, and coming drag-and-drop page elements. Investments in such tools make the return on investment more attractive for the multi-domain, as they facilitate the creation of a wide variety of websites while reducing the need for technical IT development services.

Normalization

Multi-site systems can also benefit marketing departments and management, struggling to force all members of the organization to comply with brand guidelines. A multi-site environment requires everyone to work in structured tools and templates, ensuring that all content management takes place within the limits set, the corporate brand guidelines that are defined in the theme templates. If well done, these decentralized services could even benefit from more and better functions than they would have done if they had been developed alone.

Where to start?

If you are considering multi-site or multi-domain, always ask yourself a few questions first. Questions such as;

  • What do you hope to gain (with multi-site or multi-domain solutions)?

  • What is the problem that a multi-site or multi-domain solution must solve?

  • Which business case or use case should the solution support?

  • What is the long-term scenario of this business case and user testimonials like?

After answering these questions, contact our expert and ask him or her if a multi-site or multi-domain solution helps you achieve your objectives and those of your target audience.

It is important to ensure that your Catalogger developer knows all the long-term objectives and expectations of the project, before starting development, so that he can make the right decisions about the basic architecture.

Decisions about the basic architecture will influence development costs, maintenance costs and freedom of choice throughout the life of your platform with the CMS Catalogger.

Want to know more about it?

Contact our experienced development department in this multi-site, multi-domain solution, and discuss with them the many advantages and pitfalls to avoid in this regard, depending on your needs, as always.