I am not clear after reading another question on same topic how this is done.

At the moment I go to my root drupal install and drushup then updatedb so if I then go to the folder of a multisite and try to drushup it says nothing to update.

If all the modules are in the root drupal install is that sufficient? Could you not make sure they are all placed in there so you would need to only drushup the root folder?

How then do you update individual databases?


2 Answers 2


There is Aegir, which is a system that helps you with doing that.

I personally have no experience with it, but I attended a talk on it a few weeks ago and it totally does the job.

In general, it gives you an admin interface of all your sites on that drupal installation while letting you update each one individually. It automatically rolls back if something fails.

Go have a look: http://www.aegirproject.org/

It probably is overkill with just two or three sites, but it seems to help a lot with bigger sites.


pm-updatecode updates the code of your installation. In a multisite install, all sites share the same code, so if you run pm-updatecode on one site, you have updated the code for all of the sites.

After you update the code for a site, you must update the database. This is done with the updatedb command. If you run pm-update, it will first run pm-updatecode, and then will run updatedb. However, this will update the database for only one of your sites. You will then need to run updatedb on all of the other sites in the multisite install.

Note that between the time you run pm-updatecode and the time you run updatedb, your site might not behave correctly; it is therefore advisable to take a site offline when updating it.

In a multisite install, then, all of the sites must be updated at the same time. It is therefore better to stick with single-site installs, so that you can handle updates on each site one at a time.

  • Your notes on how to update are sound, although it might be good to note that you have to go to the specific site's directory to run drush for its database. I also don't think that your last paragraph about single sites being better than multi site is valid. They are both good options under different circumstances. Having to update multi sites at the same time IMO is not a good argument against using them. If the sites are sharing the same code base it makes sense to be updating them at the same time.
    – rooby
    Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 13:20
  • Ok this is a lot clearer now thanks but I don't think updating gives any justification for not utilising multi-sites.
    – cea
    Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 4:54

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