Firstly, I'm sorry if this has been answered elsewhere, but I did a search and couldn't find an answer to my specific query.

I work for a company that has outsourced it's web production and I'm not sure if the design firm have set up the sites in the most cost effective and efficient way.

Essentially, we have three identical sites that are basically a CRM system. There is a database of clients and a list of investments they currently hold. They are for three sub-companies and are each hosted at www.example1.com, www.example2.com and www.example3.com. The web design company have paid for three separate EE licences and three separate MSM licences.

Firstly, I was wondering if the MSM licences were necessary given that each domain is hosting a separate (albeit identical) EE setup with a separate licence? Secondly, would there be anything stopping us from using subdomains with one of the MSM licences so having a set up like:

siteone.example1.com, sitetwo.example1.com and sitethree.example1.com

The three sites are for 3 sub companies and we would not want the users from each sub company to have access to the other sub companies (will this be the issue with using the subdomain/MSM idea? Is there a way of assigning access to only one subdomain to a user?).

The host we use offer unlimited subdomains and mySQL.

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can give!

1 Answer 1


Based of what you've written, yes you could have one install of EE, with 3 MSM licenses, this is assuming that the other developer isn't using the other MSM licenses to resolve some other issue.

We sometimes use a MSM license on a client's site to hide data that doesn't need to be accessed regularly, but is stored in Channel Entries. For example, for some clients we bring over their Twitter feed directly to EE. Them seeing their tweets amongst their post can be annoying, so they are stored in MSM, so they are accessible, but not actively visible. We've done this for membership directories as well, when members are being stored in channels. Staff needs access to the members, but for content creators, it can be a bit discerning to see 'non-posts' pop-up in Edit Channel Entries.

Anyway, that's just to say, you probably want to know more about why they are using 3 MSM licenses for 3 EE installs.

If they aren't using them at all then, yes you can group to a single install, single license. Even if they are using them, you maybe able to group to a single install and 6 MSM license instead of 3 full EE copies.

As for MSM, it can handle subdomains or actual domains. So if you already own, and want to continue to use example1.com, example2.com, and example3.com the can all be pointed to a single install of EE using MSM, or you could use subdomains, like site1.example.com, site2.example.com, etc.

  • Thank you very much for your answer! To quickly check my understanding though - is it possible to run all three sites using the three subdomain idea with one EE licence and a MSM, meaning that if they are not being used for anything else, the two extra EE licences and MSMs are essentially not required? Thanks again! Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 9:36
  • Yes! Generally speaking that's doable and is probably common use of EE w/MSM. Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 11:18

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