Creating a new site in the Acquia Cloud Site Factory can happen in two different ways, either you install a fresh new site or you duplicate an existing site.
But what is the difference between the two and when should I do what?
Let’s look at a installation profile first and see what it can do for us:
What is an installation profile?
A new Drupal instance is always based on a “installation profile” whereby Drupal ships with some “default” installation profiles in Drupal core and you can implement your own custom type of profile as an extension.
“Installation profiles provide site features and functions for a specific type of site as a single download containing Drupal core, contributed modules, themes, and pre-defined configuration. They make it possible to quickly set up a complex, use-specific site in fewer steps than if installing and configuring elements individually.“ Source: drupal.org
This means, if we want to install a specific type of Drupal website e.g. a social-intranet or an e-commerce site, we can go to drupal.org and download a “distribution” which will install a pre-configured site of this type.
But we can also create these distributions on our own with custom installation profiles.
We have a Pharma company with different divisions e.g. “human health”, “animal health” and “agriculture”. Each division has its own feature set, branding and style guide. All divisions are working completely independent from each other and everyone has their own online strategy.
But the websites coming from one Drupal code base in Acquia Cloud Site Factory.
If you create an installation profile for each division, you can quickly install a new site with all the branding and styling components this division site needs. You can already place and configure features which should work across all the divisional sites e.g. blog, newsletter subscription, polls, landing pages, search blocks, listings, cookie consent, global content and many more during the installation process.
Your site will be 90% ready and you only need to add your content.
What is a site duplicate?
Acquia Cloud Site Factory enables you to create a duplicate from an existing website, including files, database and configuration. This copy of your site can either contain only the structure of the original website with some pieces of content (clean copy), or can be a complete clone of the original website (full website clone).
Important: Duplicates often need a lot of clean up work and it is not unusual that something is overseen during these clean up tasks. This can have a negative impact on the business.
This is why we should be very careful when we use the “duplicate” functionality in Acquia Cloud Site Factory.
- Copying all old files over to the new site, this can inflate disk usage
- Granting the wrong users access, causing security concerns
- Use the wrong Google tracking code, introducing errors in analytics
- Provide wrong content
- Having modules and plugin installed which aren’t used
Find more documentation about the “duplicate” feature in our documentation: https://docs.acquia.com/site-factory/manage/website/duplicate/
When should I use an installation profile or create a duplicate?
Duplicate your site if you want to create several websites with the same content or near identical configurations.
Good examples are: Create a new country site by duplicating a site with the same content and language (e.g. clone the German website to create a site for Austria or clone the Spanish site for Mexico).
Another good reason to duplicate is a production website you’d like to experiment with, but you want to make changes that external website visitors should not encounter.
This is often used for SEO improvements or testing of new features.