What you will find here in this article is just simple advice on how to set up multi-stores with easy-to-follow instructions that require just basic computer knowledge and skills. This will help you get through with initial settings and make your stores fully operational. Now let us explain how to set up a store and run it with different URL structures.

Let’s set to work.

Magento platform enables to apply the following URL structures for a site:

  1. Each store is granted hosting with a separate domain
    • www.clock.uk
    • www.clock.it
  2. Each store is hosted at a sub-domain of a main domain
    • www.clock.com
    • en.clock.com
    • it.clock.com
  3. Each store is located in a subfolder
    • www.clock.uk/partners/
    • www.clock.com/business/

Regardless of what option you go for with hosting your stores, you will be able to manage them with one Admin Panel.

How to set up multi-stores with different domains

For example, you need to create two stores with the same products in different languages, using different domains. How to do this?

Take a look at this example:

Suppose, you have got a store with www.clock.uk in English and now you are about to set up another one with www.clock.it in Italian.

To get it done you have to:

  1. Go to Admin Panel > Catalog > Manage Categories.
  2. In the window that comes up, you click ?Root Category? to set up a root catalog for a second store.
    • In the field ?Name?, enter a category name, say, ?Clock.it?.
    • In the ?Is Active? field, click ?Yes?.
    • Now go to a ?Display Settings? tab and click ?Yes? in ?Is Anchor? field.
    • Once you click ?Save Category?, settings for a root catalog are complete.
  3. Now, to add a new store, select Admin Panel > System > Manage Store.
  4. In this new window, click ?Create Website?.
    • In the ?Name? field enter a name for your second store, here it is – ?Clock.it?.
    • In the ?Code? field, enter ?clockit? and click ?Save Website?.
  5. Click ?Create Store?.
    • In the ?Website? field select ?Clock.it?, set up before.
    • In the ?Name? field enter a name of your store – here it is ?Clock.it?.
    • In the ?Root Category? field, select the root catalog you set up before, and click ?Save Store?.
  6. The last thing in this window is to click ?Create Store View?.
    • In the ?Store? field, select ?Clock.it? you set up before.
    • In the ?Name? field, enter ? ?Italian?
    • In the ?Code? field, enter – ?clock_it?.
    • In the ?Status? field, select ?Enabled?. 
    • To complete it, click ?Save Store View?.
  7. At this point, you add an ?Url? address for your new store. 
    • To do so, select ? Admin Panel > System > Configuration.
    • In the ?Current Configuration Scope? field, select you second store – ?Clock.it?.
    • Then, go to Admin Panel > System > Configuration > Ganeral > Web.
    • In the tabs ?Unsecure? and ?Secure?, next to ?Base Url?, remove a checkmark ?Use default?.
    • Then, enter – ?www.clock.it? and click ?Save Configuration?.
  8. Now, next to the catalog, that stores your first website – www.clock.uk, create a catalog for a second website – www.clock.it, just entering the symbolic link reference to the site www.clock.uk.
  9. Open .htaccess file in the catalog of the www.clock.it website and enter the following lines:
SetEnvIf Host www\ .clock\ .it MAGE_RUN_CODE=clockit #code site www.clock.it
SetEnvIf Host www\ .clock\ .it MAGE_RUN_TYPE=website
SetEnvIf Host ^clock\ .it MAGE_RUN_CODE=clockit #code site www.clock.it
SetEnvIf Host ^clock\ .it MAGE_RUN_TYPE=website

When complete, it will give you two stores ? www.clock.uk and www.clock.it.

You follow these very instructions to start up stores at subdomains.

How to setup a multi-store at one domain in subfolders

Suppose, you consider launching a website for your partners that features partnership programs and offers. To spare yourselves of buying one more domain you can consider the option of setting up a website for partners in a subfolder. This is how it gets done:

Suppose, you have got a store at www.clock.uk and You need to add a store for partners – www.clock.uk/parners/

  1. Select Admin Panel > Catalog > Manage Categories.
    • In the window that comes up, click ?Add Root Category?.
    • In the ?Name? field, enter the category name, say ?Partners?, and then, click ?Yes? in the ?Is Active? field.
    • Go to the ?Display Settings? tab and click ?Yes? in the ?Is Active? field.
    • Click ?Save Category?.
  2. Then, go to Admin Panel > System > Manage Store and click ?Create Website?.                                   ,
    • In the ?Name? field, enter the name of a second store, here it is ?Partners?.
    • then, enter ?partners? in the ?Code? field.
    • Click ?Save Website?.
  3. Click “Create Store”. .
    • In the window that comes up, select “ Partners”.
    • In the “Name” field enter ? Partners.
    • In the “Root Category” field, also select “Partners”.
    • Click “Save Store”.
  4. Click “New Store View”.
    • In the “Store” field, select “Partners” you have just created.
    •  In the field “Name”, enter “English”.
    • In the field “Code”, enter – partners_en.
    • In the field “Status”, select “Enabled”.
    • Click ?Save Store View?.
  5. Now, it is time to set up an URL address for a partners store.
    • To do so, go to ? Admin Panel > System > Configuration.
    • In the field “Current Configuration Scope”, select “Partners”.
    • Now, go to ? Admin Panel > System > Configuration > General > Web.
    • In the tabs “Unsecure” and “Secure”, next to the field “Base Link URL”, remove the checkmark “Use default” and then, add – {{unsecure_base_url}}partners/.
  6. Go to the folder with Magento installation and create in its root a “partners” folder. Copy the files ? index.php и .htaccess to the folder “partners”. Then in the editor, open ? index.php.
  7. Find a line:
define('MAGENTO_ROOT', getcwd());

and change it to:

define('MAGENTO_ROOT', dirname(getcwd())); 

Now find a line:

Mage: run($mageRunCode, $mageRunType);

 and add to it the following lines:

 $mageRunCode = 'partners'; # code of your website
 $mageRunType = 'website';

When complete, you will find a new website in the subfolder of your main domain.

SEO-wise, running a multi-store can prove to be an efficient solution as specifically customized resources are more likely to win over a definite target audience.

This means that each of your business resources will come top in relevance to search engine requests, which will see your sites ranked higher, among the most optimal search results, consequently translating into a bigger number of your website visitors and prospective customers. This is how it works: By breaking your products into more specific categories, you will manage to come up with more precise and relevant search words and word combinations your client is likely to use with his search.

With one thematic group of products it will make sense to use fewer subcategories as it will enable to highlight products on offer to advantage, optimize each page and come forth with more specific thematic news.

It will also make a website easier to navigate with a customer now being able not only to find an item he looks for but also get news feeds on categories he is most interested in. Basically, it can both generate better indexing with search engines and prompt rates of conversion.

Having websites with different domains gives you a chance to use different email accounts with unique email signatures.

With each site you can apply a specific theme, banners, logos that, if effectively combined, will give an original look to a brand of Your stores. You will see no end to the benefits of a multi-store and it will take long to go through all of them. All you need is to give a multi-store a try. There is no mistaking that, if followed, this advice will help your business grow and prosper.

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