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Old 10-06-2011, 01:39 AM   #1
john_b
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I suppose this is a variation of a familiar question. FWIW, I do have a site that uses Joomla for part of it, but in no way would I profess to be a maven; I'm very much a novice here!

So to try and create an analogy: picture a site that relates to, say, a country or geographical area. It doesn't use CMS; nor does it need to. If the site has a domain somecountry.com I'd like to create a number of subdomains of this. To continue the analogy, let's suppose that each of these subdomains relates to a town or city in that country.

We might then have URLs such as westport.somecountry.com, eastport.somecountry.com and so on. I want each of these subdomains to have their own admin person and each is entirely self-contained. Indeed, none of them is even aware of the existence of the others. (The analogy isn't a perefct one!)

So the main domain doesn't need to use CMS, but each subdomain does.

The question: is there a way to use a single installation of a CMS to cover all these subdomains? Given that there could be a considerable number of them, it would seem somewhat OTT if it was necessary to have a complete and separate installation in each of the subdomains.

Of course, it may be that folk are already wearily shaking their heads and that I've missed something blindingly obvious. I can take any amount of abuse and opprobrium, so don't hold back, OK??

John

Last edited by john_b; 10-06-2011 at 05:12 AM.
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:44 AM   #2
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Like multiuser Wordpress for instance? I think the answer is yes.
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:13 AM   #3
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I'm just going to issue a note of clarification here. When I said that each subdomain would have "their own admin person" what I meant was that there would be a single overall 'uber-admin' person - ie me - but that each subdomain would be administered by its 'owner' inasmuch as they would be able to log in, upload content and so on...

...I know what I mean...;-)

Or perhaps there's another completely different approach?

John
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:28 AM   #4
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Thanks, Lois, and that that looks like a great place to start, despite the fact that I know nothing about Wordpress.

I did, however, get a few paragraphs down and began to experience some discomfort in the cerebral department -I'll need to sit down for a while and go through it all sloooowly.

I did, however, come across a couple of phrases that caught my eye; one was "multi-site" and the other was "multi-user". Again, I'll need to look through this in some detail before I can get it clear in my own mind a) just what the difference is, and b) which, if any, would be the one to aim at.

...and when it started getting into the nitty gritty of "Configuring Wildcard Subdomains for multi site under Plesk Control Panel" I must confess my eyes started to glaze over a tad...;-(

My feeling is that it can be done, but I have some research to do yet!

John
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:50 AM   #5
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I know that Drupal can do what you're after (though I'm not a big fan). I'm using it just as an example. I'd be surprised if the other major CMS players can't do the same kinds of things.

You can have multiple installations of Drupal on a given server or a single installation that handles multiple sites (though I don't imagine you'd want to run too many extremely busy sites under a single install, or even on a single server).

Under a single install, each site has its own home directory, and everything under that belongs to the site. Each site can have users who have varying levels of privileges (which you can define). You might create an "Author" level that you assign to people who will write stories and an "Editor" level that would include all the Author privileges PLUS the ability to edit and publish the stories the Authors wrote.

I'm not sure you could have an uber-Admin who can make wholesale changes to all of the sub-sites (other than as owner of the hosted site) but you could create an UberSuperHuman sort of privilege level on each of the sites and assign that only to yourself. IOW, to make changes to each of the sites, you'd have to log in to each in turn.

   
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:50 AM   #6
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Thanks for that, Steve, and Drupal has to be up there as a contender although, again, I know nothing about it.

So often with these things, I think that terminology - or my lack of proficiency in it - can be a major barrier to progress. As I hinted at in another post, I'm not sure whether a 'subdomain' - in this context - equates to a 'site'. So while westport.somecountry.com is strictly speaking a subdomain, is it considered to be a 'site' when we're trying to describe this scenario?

Certainly, as far as its 'owner' is concerned, it'll be his/her 'website', albeit a smallish one (and, incidentally, not one that's likely to be overwhelmed with traffic - another issue). And, as you say, while I'll be happy to update it for them, I'd much rather assign them whatever level of privilege they're comfortable with to update it themselves.

But if somecountry.com is seen as the 'mothership' site that spawns these subdomains, each with a separate 'owner', or user, are we then talking multi-user, rather than multi-site? Dunno, Guv...

I guess my lack of sufficiently rigorous background knowledge is a real problem in that, once you venture into a support forum - Joomla, WP or whatever - it's difficult to construct your question in a way that's going to be understood by those whose technical expertise is way beyond my pay grade...

So I suppose, I'm really casting around for a feel for what's involved here - a sense of what sort of questions I ought to be asking. I feel sure that others have gone down this route, but if I can describe what I'm aiming to achieve that should at least be a start in trying to see how to get there...;-)

John
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:35 PM   #7
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>> As I hinted at in another post, I'm not sure whether a 'subdomain' - in this context - equates to a 'site'. So while westport.somecountry.com is strictly speaking a subdomain, is it considered to be a 'site' when we're trying to describe this scenario?

I suspect that it's "subdomain" when you're talking to the ISP techies and "whatever you want to call it/do with it" once its set up and you're steering the boat from there. ;-)

subcountry.com is "your" domain. It might be there just for email purposes, no web server at all, so strictly speaking, it's not a site. But if it's set up so that wwww.somecountry.com points to a directory on a web server, then it's a site. Likewise the subdomains, or so I'd figure it.

>> But if somecountry.com is seen as the 'mothership' site that spawns these subdomains, each with a separate 'owner', or user, are we then talking multi-user, rather than multi-site? Dunno, Guv...

That might be more a matter of what the CMS or other software calls it.

>> I guess my lack of sufficiently rigorous background knowledge is a real problem in that, once you venture into a support forum - Joomla, WP or whatever - it's difficult to construct your question in a way that's going to be understood by those whose technical expertise is way beyond my pay grade...

BT.DT. And the @#*$^ t-shirt's scratchy. And too tight. ;-)

>> So I suppose, I'm really casting around for a feel for what's involved here - a sense of what sort of questions I ought to be asking. I feel sure that others have gone down this route, but if I can describe what I'm aiming to achieve that should at least be a start in trying to see how to get there...;-)

I think your original question explains it clearly enough.

   
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:44 PM   #8
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I get lost in the terminology too, and do wish that all the CMS-types would agree to common terminology.

But when I first read your query, I found myself wondering why you want to have all the entities under a single umbrella if you hope not to have to manage them all directly.

What if you leased space on a server capable of housing all these regions (a reseller account, say). That should give you uber control but not require that you exercise it (though you could step in to protect your interests or to help your “tenants” if need be).

If you wanted to have a common look, style, or structure, you could create that in the CMS, allowing for some autonomy and customization by each tenant.

That degree of isolation should prevent one tenant from causing problems for the others (or the whole).

Or am I failing to understand what you need to do?

   
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
somecountry.com is "your" domain. It might be there just for email purposes, no web server at all, so strictly speaking, it's not a site. But if it's set up so that www.somecountry.com points to a directory on a web server, then it's a site. Likewise the subdomains, or so I'd figure it.
Yup, that makes sense to me.

Quote:
That might be more a matter of what the CMS or other software calls it.
Ah well, I suspect that that may well be where my problems lie...

Quote:
BT.DT. And the @#*$^ t-shirt's scratchy. And too tight. ;-)
Well you know how it is. You're in a foreign country with a language you don't speak too well. You pull out your trusty phrase book with a flourish and stop someone in the street to politely ask the question... and it's only when they answer that your troubles really start...;-)

John

Last edited by john_b; 10-07-2011 at 05:19 AM. Reason: oops..;-)
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:10 AM   #10
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I agree that it might seem a tad convoluted, but I have tried to look at different approaches.

The analogy isn't perfect but it's not far off. There is, though, a fairly clear 'parent-child' relationship between the main domain and the subdomains and I do think it makes sense to keep them under the same 'umbrella'. There may be SEO advantages as well; this has only just occurred to me, by the way, so thanks for pointing me in that direction...;-)

In effect, I guess I would be acting as a sort of 'reseller'; but of subdomains, rather than completely separate domains. Having said that, I think the Wordpress link that Lois pointed to does seem to suggest that it may be possible to use different templates for each subdomain. Or was that a Joomla extension? Doh....

But to give a more concrete analogy (again, purely fictional) suppose I own the domain spain.com. I am happy to look after and provide content for it but I'm offering others the opportunity to 'own' madrid.spain.com, barcelona.spain.com and so on. I set up the 'site' for each of them and they log in, upload content for their own town or city and there's flexibility for them to do as much or as little as they please.

Apart from anything else, it means that such a service can be provided at a much reduced rate than if I had to register and use a whole host of separate domains which may or may not be available. I think there are a number of other reasons why it makes sense to use a single domain.

Another option might be to use subdirectories, rather than subdomains. So, for example, the same sites would be found at spain.com/madrid/ and spain.com/barcelona/ etc. There are pros and cons, but I think I favour the subdomain approach if I thought I could get it to work.

As I said, though, I'm thinking that some of the technical aspects are starting to look a bit daunting so I do appreciate your comments and am grateful for any clues and/or ideas that might help clarify my own thoughts, which are seldom worth the paper they're not written on...;-)

John
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