The National Archives website redesign: one website of multisites

multisite diagram

Since our last blog post about the website redesign, we have carried on redesigning our website section by section. More recently, our developers have made a large change that is invisible to our public users.

Take a look at our Jobs section… and then the Our role section. Notice any difference in how they work, or the look or feel?

These two sections are actually different websites in a multisite network but as a front-end user, you can’t tell the difference.

Before we go any further let’s clarify some terminology. In this blog post we will discuss the terms ‘multisite network’ and ‘site’ to refer to different things:

  • ‘Multisite network’ refers to the entire WordPress environment, that is the WordPress installation where the website lives
  • ‘site’ refers to one of the sites created as part of the multisite network

What is multisiting?

We use WordPress to manage web content. Originally developed for blogging, it has evolved into a very popular content management system – the BBC, Metro, Marks & Spencer, NASA and USA.gov all use WordPress. It is easy to use, scalable and allows rapid development, making it a widely used tool.

WordPress includes a feature called Multisite which allows multiple virtual sites to be shared under a single WordPress installation. Basically, this means it gives us the ability to run sections of our website as a network of multiple sites under one roof. We like to think of it as one parent site with multiple child sites when we’re working behind the scenes.

From an external point of view nationalarchives.gov.uk appears to be a single website, but we are actually segmenting it into smaller and more manageable sites.

Read the full article at Website redesign: one website of multisites on The National Archives’ blog.