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How to install multisite when the sites are live

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Let’s say we have a few websites that were created by using different content management systems than Drupal. For instance, all of them are using different domains like domain1.com, domain2.com, etc. Mostly important they are live websites and causing any damage for them will make our visitors unhappy. In order to rebuild them in Drupal will cause guaranteed downtime if we will be doing this on live websites by using their real domain names. To avoid such accident, it’s possible to work on different domains or sub-domains. Once we will have our websites rebuild, we will simply copy files to the original domain directory.

Follow these steps on how to install multisite

Start with preparing a temporary place for new Drupal websites. For this reason we will need to add new domains or simply create sub-domains. It can be easily done in any control panel which should be provided by hosting service. Here is how to do this in DirectAdmin.

Login to DirectAdmin control panel and click “Domain Setup”.

DirectAdmin domain setup

To add additional domain name, click “Add Another Domain” link.

DirectAdmin add domain

Then it will ask to fill the fields with required information for creating new domain name.

DirectAdmin create domain

Finally, click “Create” button and new domain name will be added in the control panel interface. The same can be done for creating additional domains.

DirectAdmin can be also used for creating sub-domains. Navigate to the homepage and find a link for “Subdomain Management”.

DirectAdmin sub-domain management

 To create new sub-domain enter it’s name and click “Create” button.

Create sub-domain in DirectAdmin

New sub-domain will be created and ready to use for new Drupal website. Therefore, we are free to install Drupal in directory “/home/username/domains/domain.com/public_html/subdomain/”.

Now it’s time for building new website which will be reachable over temporary URL like “http://domain.com/subdomain”. Once it is finished simply copy all the files to the original domain directory. Also, we should make sure to adjust Drupal configuration in order to match original domain name and location in the server.

This way we can avoid long downtime for the website which is constantly visited by the visitors. Also it’s more safer to build new website in separate location rather than editing live website.

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