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Which approach would you recommend for integrating CiviCRM into an existing ecosystem of 3 Wordpress installations, each residing on its own server with its own domain, where at the moment users, event-registrations and newsletters are being managed separately?

Ideally changes in one of the clients would update the central CiviCRM database (via REST et al.) and vice versa.

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I would always recommend to have CiviCRM on a separate server from the public facing website (privacy, security and updates) even thought it is more cumbersome and more expensive.

So I assume you will have 3 WP websites, and one central CiviCRM (in a dummy Drupal or WP). I would use CiviProxy to ensure only whitelisted API calls are accepted (check https://github.com/systopia/CiviProxy for a little more info) and then there are a few options I think:

  1. Ensure your WP sites can process the data and prepare an API call to CiviCRM using the core API's
  2. Use the work done on Gravity Forms with CiviCRM although I am not sure that will work with REST
  3. Just throw all the data on a Wordpress form to CiviCRM and create a customized extension that provides specific API calls to process the data. We have done this with the CiviCRM Contact Form 7 plugin and specific API's.

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