The State of Multi-site: A High Level View of CMS Multi-site Capabilities
by Gabe Salzer
Enterprise organizations maintain an average of 268 web domains. Entities allocate time and money to ensure these websites remain up-to-date from a technology and content standpoint - resources that otherwise would have been utilized elsewhere in the organization. Multi-site alleviates these inefficiencies by providing a web-platform in which a central team can manage remote sites - eliminating redundant systems, unifying appearance, and streamlining content and software updates. Multi-site accelerates management processes and cuts costs.
Users’ demand for multi-site capabilities, regardless of their current content management system, has resulted in a state of feature parity; any enterprise CMS will support multi-site with nearly identical capability. Without true competitive advantages, choosing the right multi-site option should depend on what CMS is the best fit for a given organization - not the tedious differentiators between multi-site features. Organizations should base their CMS decisions on budget, pre-existing expertise and other requirements unique to itself.
A Sitefinity case study applauds the software’s multi-site ability to implement and manage 111 sites - ranging from country sites and product sites to portals. The customer required that their CMS include multi-site, yet fundamentally, they “needed a solution that could be built on .NET.” Once they chose Sitefinity, a .NET content management system, they were able to manage 111 sites, however it was their internal reliance on .NET that made Sitefinity the logical choice.
In a DNN multi-site case study, the University of New Orleans “needed a resilient, flexible content management system that could handle more than 200 websites.” Equally important, however, was the fact that they needed “a content management system that would be easy to install, affordable, and could integrate with systems like Active Directory.” As a public entity funded by Louisiana taxes, the university’s resources were limited, which ultimately lead them towards an open-source CMs without licensing fees. In this instance, a proprietary and more expensive vendor like Sitefinity wouldn’t be an appropriate fit.
BBC uses Wordpress multi-site. Before standardizing on Wordpress, they used a number of systems, which featured one Wordpress blog. When it came time to standardize their content management systems, due to their positive experience with the blog, they selected Wordpress. Since then, they’ve scaled up their Wordpress platform and have “a solid platform that is flexible and constantly being improved.” BBC found a solution that was a match for what they needed and subsequently found the multisite capability to operate on a larger scale.
Sitefinity successfully managed 111 sites; DNN did the same with 200; Wordpress powers one of world’s the largest news broadcasting organizations. Given today’s parity in multi-site capability, organizations should first choose the CMS that best suits its needs and examine multi-site accordingly. Most likely, the selected CMS will have some sort of multi-site offering. If a family of 6 needs a car with 4-wheel drive, they wouldn’t purchase a sports car regardless of how powerful its 4-wheel-drive system is.