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How many websites can you have in one Optimizely DXP CMS cloud solution?

There are multiple consideration here to dive into

  • License
  • Content editing
  • Performance
  • Team productivity and architecture evolution

License

From a license perspective it's possible to have multiple sites in DXP without an addditional cost. The cost is however depending on page views. For minor sites that isn't used much it can be a good solution to share a DXP instance to reduce costs.
https://world.optimizely.com/documentation/developer-guides/digital-experience-platform/development-considerations/

Content editing

Optimizely CMS has good support for editing experience with multiple sites. It's possible to restrict access rights easily so that editors can only work with content they should work with. It's possible to share common content across multiple sites if needed using blocks for instance. It's also possible to build news feeds etc that combines content from multiple sites easily. Content editing across multiple sites will not be an issue normally even with hundreds of editors.

Performance

Performance it's good to understand that the sites are hosted together using the same resources in the background. They use the same SQL server and the same app service in Azure. With good coding there are really no technical limits to performance if you use caching and CDN correctly. But the larger the codebase is, the more difficult it will become to keep it optimized for performance. This is true for both frontend and backend.
A single site with a couple of integrations and a simple frontend is easy. 10 sites with 100s of backend integrations and shared frontend becomes very tricky.
Generally it's not the amount of content that is a limit but the additional complexity of the code as the codebase grows that will be the limit. That additional complexity will start hurting the performance and later also the availability of the site.

From a technical perspective it's advised to keep this is mind when expanding the functionality of the site or even the number of sites. Is the solution starting to become too complex? A good measurement for this will be given below.

Team productivity and architecture

First it's good to be aware of that organization and software architecture are two sides of the same coin. This is known as Conways law:

Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure.

— Melvin E. Conway
The technical architecture will allow any amount of sites, content types and integrations. Unfortunately this will require a larger standing development team. As long as you can keep the development team size below 10 people this will not become a major issue. DO add more sites to you DXP instance in this case. When you reach this limit however, the advice is to avoid adding more sites to this solution and instead start aiming for a second DXP instance for these new sites. There are valid pros with staying with a single solution even beyond a standing team of 10 developers. It's easier to keep the same design, reduce license cost etc but in my opinion they are not worth the overall business risk with having a too large and complex solution and the performance / availablity risks that entails.
The not so uncommon decay process of a single monolithic solution is:

Larger solution  => more complex => developers can't grasp the whole solution => bad performance => difficult to fix => replace development partner => lose know-how => worse performance => hurts conversion rate => replace solution and build new
For further guidance on when and why to split a large solution keep an eye out for articles about strategic domain driven design, bounded contexts and scaling agile.
is a good start to explain the problem with scaling development to multiple teams and the general direction of the solution. Good resource to explain the issue to management and why this is a wise investment. 
Summary
How many websites can you have in one Optimizely DXP CMS cloud solution? Unlimited. But...
As long as you are not near a standing devops team of around 10+ developers, feel free to keep adding sites and features to your DXP instance. There are no technical,editorial or license limits with DXP. After 10+ developers, your development organization however is a limiting factor. Above team size of 10+, team work considerations and long term architecture evolution and application lifecycle start becoming more important. Merely dividing the developers into multiple teams on paper will not help since the teams will be as tightly coupled as the solution they work in. This is where breaking off suitable functionality into subsites and similar starts to become a better idea from a business perspective.

 

Nov 08, 2021

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