Multi-Site Model

Do you have 3 or more sites?

Managing one or two sites in the CMS is a straight-forward affair, but for units who grow beyond that number, we offer a second tier of service for improved efficiency and management. 

A custom Base-site model

When a new site request is received, the Web CMS team builds the site using our default base-site template. In multi-site model, we create a blank template for you so you can customize it, and then this becomes your unit's unique base-site model -- the new template from which all of your future sites will be created. This saves you time from duplicating the steps to add the same department-specific elements every time you create a new site.

A unit-only Resource site

Instead of creating the same block of information multiple times, we give you a central Resource site where you can store a block and use it multiple times across all of your sites, including your base-model site. Elements you can share in common include: blocks, images, files, javascript and cascading stylesheets. Be aware that pages cannot be used across sites; these have to be created locally in each site instance. It's like having your own department-only Content Library.

Maintain control of your publishing

In some cases units may want to have finer control over how and where their sites publish out. Should each site have its own top-level domain? Should they publishing to a central domain but with each site in a subfolder? The choice is still yours. The CMS doesn't care how many sites you have and you can reuse a single Transport from your Resource site to point to your server, and each transport can point to site location or subfolder location, whatever best suits your department's needs.

A schema of the multi-site set-up illustrating how new sites are created from the base-model using assets saved in the Resource site

Fig 1. The above image illustrates how, under the Multi-site model, site managers can request new sites be created from the base-model site that, in turn, uses assets created and saved in the Resource site.

Unit-only Resource Site Notes

When a unit-only Resource site is used it's important to understand how this will affect the behavior of your sites, with particular emphasis on the sites inside the CMS.

How it works

Assets that you wish to reuse across several sites can be stored inside the Resource site. These assets include:

  • Blocks
  • Images
  • Files (of any type)

It does NOT include:

  • ANY page types
  • Internal or External Link assets
  • Folders

It's important to understand why pages have to be excluded. Unlike blocks, the pages and folders you create in a site build relative connections to the other content around it in a site. Let's use the Person block / People Index as an example.

Your Resource Site contains:

  • Multiple person blocks for all your staff, faculty and students
  • Several customized People Index blocks to more easily categorize your various directories, by major groups and then by the categories you created and tagged
  • A folder for profile images

You have three other sites, all major sub-units of your Division and you want to re-use the blocks and indices as necessary across all three sites. Because each site builds its content, folders, links and navigation relative to itself, you will need to populate your /people folders' section with a page to represent each person. From each page, you can then link to the block in your Resource site. Likewise, you will use the index pages inside of /people, as provided by us when we create the folder for you, to create your searchable directories by linking to the indices created in your Resource site.

Alert iconBe aware: because the connection inside the CMS is relative, not absolute, the system may not display the images in the CMS, however; on publish to a development or production server, the links are programmatically resolved and these items will appear provided that you have published out the images from the Resource site to the same server location.