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Howtos on various subjects / Running Multiple Bolt sites from one source directory

Note: You are currently reading the documentation for Bolt 2.2. Looking for the documentation for Bolt 5.2 instead?

When running multiple sites on the one host, it is sometimes advantageous to only maintain a single directory for Bolt itself, and have each site in a separate directory using the same Bolt install. This is known as a multi-site set up.

This approach may have several advantages:

  • Easy Bolt upgrades for all sites at the same time
  • Security is slightly enhanced, as it keeps all executable code out of the web root directory
  • OpCache configuration is greatly simplified for multiple Bolt sites
  • A small amount of disk space is saved by not requiring multiple copies of the same Bolt and vendor libraries.

Set up base install

First thing that needs to be done is the set up of the core Bolt files in a central location, outside of the web root.

In this HOWTO we're going to use the location of /var/www/bolt-private/ but that is entirely up to your own needs.

In this example, we're going to create the Bolt project into the /var/www/bolt-private/ directory and install the vendor libraries with Composer:

$ cd /var/www/
$ composer create-project --no-install bolt/bolt:^2.2 bolt-private
$ cd bolt-private
$ composer install --no-dev --optimize-autoloader

Individual site set up

Each virtual host site you set up will need a few things:

  • Site directories:
    • app
    • app/database
    • app/cache
    • app/config
    • extensions
    • files
    • theme
  • Site files:
    • index.php
    • app/bootstrap.php
    • app/nut
  • A template

Site directory set up

In this HOWTO we're going to install each Bolt site in a directory under /var/www/sites/, the first one in /var/www/sites/my-sites-1.

Create and navigate to /var/www/sites/my-sites-1:

$ mkdir /var/www/sites/my-sites-1
$ cd /var/www/sites/my-sites-1

Now create the required directories:

$ mkdir -p app/cache app/config app/database extensions files theme 

Create a symbolic link to Bolt's templates:

ln -s /var/www/bolt-private/app/view/ app/view

Install a theme

For this HOWTO, we'll just use the default base-2014 theme and files. Copy the base-2014 directory into your site's theme/ directory:

$ cp -a /var/www/bolt-private/theme/base-2014/ /var/www/sites/my-sites-1/theme/
$ cp -a /var/www/bolt-private/files/* /var/www/sites/my-sites-1/files/

Site root index file

In the root of the sites web directory, create the index.php file and add the following:

$app = require_once __DIR__ . '/app/bootstrap.php';

Create the application bootstrap

Next, create the site specific app/bootstrap.php file and add the following:

return call_user_func(
    function () {
        // The full path to the core Bolt files
        $source = '/var/www/bolt-private';

        // The full path of the individual site
        $site = '/var/www/sites/my-sites-1';

        require_once $source . '/vendor/autoload.php';

        $configuration = new Bolt\Configuration\Standard(dirname(__DIR__));

        $configuration->setPath('root',    $source . '/');
        $configuration->setPath('app',     $source . '/app');
        $configuration->setPath('apppath', $source . '/app');

        $configuration->setPath('config',           $site . '/app/config');
        $configuration->setPath('cache',            $site . '/app/cache');
        $configuration->setPath('database',         $site . '/app/database');
        $configuration->setPath('extensionsconfig', $site . '/app/config/extensions');
        $configuration->setPath('extensionspath',   $site . '/extensions');
        $configuration->setPath('files',            $site . '/files');
        $configuration->setPath('themebase',        $site . '/theme/');
        $configuration->setPath('web',              $site . '/');


        $app = new Bolt\Application(array('resources' => $configuration));

        return $app;

You just need to edit the $source and $site parameters to set them to the correct directory locations for your individual site.

This is the one file you need to change for each site you set up using this configuration.

Setting up Nut

As a final step, each site will require a specific Nut command file should you wish to use Nut.

To enable this, create the app/nut file and add the following:

#!/usr/bin/env php

$app = require_once __DIR__ . '/bootstrap.php';

$nut = $app['nut'];

Finally make the Nut file executable:

$ chmod +x app/nut

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