TYPO3 Blog

TYPO3: The best open source multisite CMS

If you’re looking for an enterprise-level, open source CMS for a multisite solution, look no further than TYPO3 CMS. It is a robust, flexible, and proven solution that allows you to run vast numbers of websites efficiently from a single installation. TYPO3 was built from the ground up to support the kind of massive multisite installations that today’s digital marketer needs. It is expressly designed for easy content sharing, nuanced access permissions, and maintaining brand consistency across sites.

With globalization increasing and personalization at the forefront of technical trends, the need for hundreds of sites–in as many languages–has become crucial for business. In this article, we’ll talk more about how TYPO3 CMS can make your online marketing efforts more effective.

Malwina Siegień and Mathias Schreiber contributed to this article.

Multisite in TYPO3 CMS

A TYPO3 CMS installation can scale from one to dozens to hundreds of sites, without compromising on security, performance, or usability in the front or backend. TYPO3’s best-in-class security and granular user access permissions guarantee that you can precisely control who can access what. Assigning different user roles limits access as needed. For example, in a multisite installation, regional editors, for example, should only access particular domains or pages of the sites to which they are assigned, while administrators need to have access to all sites and related interfaces.

The ability to effortlessly share and repurpose content across sites in a single application is an enormous benefit for content and marketing teams–especially when you consider the alternative. The days of  “login–copy–logout–paste–rinse–repeat” are gone. A single login, streamlined editorial interfaces tailored for each user and the jobs they need to get done, puts everything they need in one place.

Reliable, performant, and usable multisite functionality turns TYPO3 CMS into a kind of meta-CMS. You get all its benefits applied to managing individual websites or whole suites of them.

Case study: jweiland.net built the “Homepage Kit” for the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart. As of early 2018, 150 churches were running 170 websites from a single TYPO3 CMS installation. Each site has an average of 90 pages and four editors. That makes 15,000+ individual pages maintained by about 700 different editors. The Homepage Kit maintainers calculate that there’s room for about 1000 more churches in the multisite installation before it runs into any scaling problems.

TYPO3 CMS multisite networks for marketers

More and more organizations need multiple websites to run their business. The additional complexity can be hard to manage. It makes it worse if your CMS doesn’t want to cooperate and gets in your way instead of helping you. Your choice of CMS is also staking your organization’s reputation on that platform and its ability to deliver what you need consistently.

With TYPO3 CMS, you can plan and build multisite installations–networks of websites that share a single base installation–to support your business goals while keeping complexity to a minimum. Marketing can focus on executing great content campaigns without having to ask IT for help or permission with publishing, asset sharing, editing, translating, or content asset distribution across a federated network of sites.

Some benefits of running your multisite implementation on TYPO3 CMS:

  • Scalability: You can scale your web offering with ease as and when needed. TYPO3’s core is robust and can handle growth to any scale. The TYPO3 page tree concept is a boon for managing massive multisite installations, giving administrators and editors clarity about structure, workflow, shared and reused assets, and more.

  • Internationalization: Extend your global reach while staying on brand. Create new websites using current sites as templates, then adapt them as needed. Whatever the purpose is, a different target audience, a particular language or dialect, or a new product line, you never have to (re)build from scratch.

  • Localization: Local websites are most useful when they speak to their audience in their language and style. Modifying existing templates frees up resources that you can devote to better understanding your target audience’s needs.

  • Costs: It is far cheaper and more efficient to run a single multisite CMS than it is to run multiple single-site CMS installations. Compare the time and effort of maintaining and updating one installation to dealing with 50 or 150.

  • Productivity: Multisite installations free up staff to concentrate on delivering value, not busy work.

    • Marketing teams don’t have to fight a non-intuitive CMS interface anymore, letting you and your team focus on developing strategy and creative processes to deliver value.

    • Editors can spend their time creating content and publishing it across their network of sites from a single, unified interface. Never copy and paste content between sites again.

    • Administrators manage everything from a single entry point, reducing duplication of effort or tasks. It is easy to see how the various sub-sites relate to one another when everything in one place, presented with the clarity of TYPO3’s page tree structure.

    • Developers build, test and push features and fixes once, improving all sites in an installation at the same time, speeding time to market, improving efficiency, and value delivery.

  • Efficiency: Increased productivity and reduced busy-work lead improved cost-effectiveness and can help increase overall profitability.

  • Maintenance: When you weigh the maintenance costs of a one multisite CMS installation against multiple single-site installations, there are no prizes for guessing the winner. And those savings can be reinvested where it makes the most sense for your business.

  • Security: Keeping up with security risks on the Internet is a matter of constant vigilance. Applying patches and security updates to keep one TYPO3 multisite installation secure requires significantly less time than rolling out updates to dozens or hundreds of individual sites.    

  • Brand identity: Multisite asset management helps you maintain your brand and corporate identity across all your sites. You can set and enforce standards and best practices.

  • Save time, improve job satisfaction, and increase conversions: Last but not least, full control over multisite management, simple content editing, and presentation across all of your web properties makes your work smoother and faster. You can focus on making great content to attract more leads and drive conversions.

Who uses TYPO3 multisite?

When you choose TYPO3 CMS, you are in excellent company. Here are a few of the enterprises enjoying the benefits of TYPO3’s multisite functionality:

  • BIBUS: More than 50 fully-responsive, multilingual websites powered by a single TYPO3 installation. 90+ editors work simultaneously from all corners of the globe. A central design ensures a uniform corporate identity.

  • Creditreform: Over 200 Websites share content in a single TYPO3 installation. The sites rely heavily on the page inheritance feature that allows cloning of page content. Custom tools facilitate the automatic insertion of custom content elements and page syncing.

  • Raben Group: A logistics group with 3,500 pages available on their website in eleven languages, for 12 different countries, all maintained by independent editors from all over Europe.

Read more TYPO3 CMS multisite case studies.

When it comes to the benefits of using TYPO3 for multisite applications, you don’t have to take our word for it:

“TYPO3 has everything you asked for, plus so much more. Multi-site, multi-lingual, built-in image editing, automatic caching and granular permissions control build into the core. Amazing community support and the framework is extremely extendible with powerful API-based extension framework and very scalable. I'm currently running 12 sites from one install.” - Errol Mars CMS on Quora

Multisite Best Practices

If you are thinking of implementing a TYPO3 multisite installation to run your web infrastructure, here are a few best practices that should ease the process.

  • Multilingual: Your most important, flagship site should be in your primary language. Only when it is in place, should you start to branch out to find common ground for sharing languages and content between sites.

  • Local sites: The multisite CMS feature gets sites up and running quickly, but you should never neglect the needs of the local market when designing each site. Some features may work across countries and cultures, but some sites will need a completely fresh approach. Because content and presentation elements are separated in TYPO3 CMS, customizing new sub-sites doesn’t present a barrier.

  • Permissions: TYPO3’s flexible, granular permissions provide a lot of scope for access precision, make sure you take advantage of it. Plan user access permissions carefully; which users should be able to see what? Who should be able to create, modify, and delete content? Who should be able to make structural changes? And all of this on which sites in your multisite network?

  • Content reuse: Give due consideration to how much editorial freedom is appropriate for your enterprise. Should editors duplicate standard-form content or create it from scratch? Headquarters can choose to control the content of local pages, but in many organizations, it may be better to leave it to the discretion of your editors.

Learn more about TYPO3 and Multisite

The multisite capabilities of the TYPO3 CMS are proven and powerful. They can help you run digital marketing campaigns and maintain brand consistency supporting your identity and strategy across multiple sites, languages, and brands.

Contact TYPO3 GmbH today about finding an official partner to help you plan and execute your multisite strategy.

Find a qualified TYPO3 partner
Jeffrey A. "Jam" McGuire

About the Author

Jeffrey A. "Jam" McGuire

Partner, Cologne, Germany
In demand as a global keynote speaker and communications expert, "Jam" has built a strong following at the intersection of open source software, business, and culture. Over the last decade, while helping Acquia grow from 18 to 800 employees, he created value-multiplying connections between people, companies, and projects in the open source, government, and business worlds. His unique approach to content marketing–making human stories out of complex technology solutions and celebrating the expertise and success of their creators–left its mark on the company and the open source communities around it.

More posts by Jeffrey A. "Jam" McGuire

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