One needs to be very diligent in kindling the Hanukkah lights. Even a poor man living off charity must lend or sell his clothes, and buy oil to kindle with.
How many lights should one kindle? On the first night, he kindles one [light]. From then on he continues to add one each night, until on the last night they are eight. And even if the household members are many, they should not kindle more. Rem"a: And some say that every one of the household members kindles (Maimonides) and such is the widespread custom. And they should take care to each place their lights in a unique place, so that it will be apparent how many lights they are kindling. (Abraham Kara of Prague)
An [oil] light with two outlets [for the wicks] counts for [the kindler] as two.
If one filled a bowl with oil and surrounded it with wicks — if he covered it with a vessel, each wick counts as one light. [If] he did not cover it with a vessel, it does not even count as one light, because it is like a bonfire.Rem"a: Therefore one should be careful to place the lights in a straight row and not in a circle, since that is like a bonfire. (Hagahot Maimoniot quoting Sefer Mitzvot Katan) It is permitted to kindle with candlesticks, since each light is separated greatly from the other. (Terumat Hadeshen Section 105) One must be careful when preparing lights, even of wax, not to stick them together and kindle them, since that is like a bonfire. (Piskei Mahar"i 65) Even with the lights of the Sabbath and Holy Days one must be careful not to do so. (Or Zarua)
One should place the Hanukkah light at the entrance which adjoins the public domain, on the outside. If the house opens to the public domain, he should place it at its entrance. If there is a courtyard in front of the house, he should place it at the entrance of the courtyard. If he lives in the upper floor, having no entrance leading to the public domain, he should place it at a window that adjoins the public domain. In a time of danger, when one is not allowed to perform mitzvot, it is enough that he place it on his table. He needs another light to use for its illumination. And if there is a bonfire, he needs no other light. But if he is a dignified person, whose way is not to use the illumination of a bonfire, he needs another light.
One should place [the Hanukkah light] above three handsbreadths [from the ground]. It is a mitzvah to place it beneath ten handsbreadths. But if he placed it above ten handsbreadths, he has fulfilled his obligation. However, if he placed it above twenty cubits, he has not fulfilled his obligation. Rem"a: And even if he took it as it is, lit, and placed it below twenty cubits, he has not fulfilled his obligation, because the kindling accomplishes the mitzvah. (Beit Yosef quoting Tosafot)
It is a mitzvah to place [the Hanukkah light] in the handsbreadth closest to the entrance on the left, so as to have the mezuzah on the right and the Hanukkah light on the left. But if there is no mezuzah in the entrance, he should place [the Hanukkah light] on the right. If one places it in the doorway itself, he should place it on the leftmost half of the entrance. Rem"a: However nowadays, when all kindle inside, and there is no distinction for the people of the public domain at all, one should not worry so much if we do not kindle it in the handsbreadth closest to the entrance. In any case, the custom is to kindle it in the handsbreadth closest to the entrance, as in [our ancestors'] days, and one should not deviate; unless the household members are many, [in which case] it is preferable for each one to kindle in a unique place rather than mixing the lights together, with no distinction of the number of lights they are kindling. In any case, they should take care not to kindle in the same place where they kindle lights all year, since then there would be no distinction at all. And even though there is only no distinction except for the members of the household, some distinction at least is necessary. In the synagogue, one should place [the Hanukkah light] at the southern wall (or to the south of the lamp, and he should arrange them from east to west). (Terumat Hadeshen Section 104, Beit Yosef) We kindle and recite the benedictions (in the synagogue) for the sake of publicizing the miracle. Rem"a: A person does not fulfill his obligation with the lights of the synagogue, and needs to kindle again in his own house. (Isaac ben Sheshet Section 111) We have the custom to kindle in the synagogue between the afternoon prayer and the evening prayer. Some have the custom to kindle on the Sabbath Eve before the afternoon prayer. (Kol Bo and Book of Abudirham) If [the prayer leader] wants to quickly pray right away after [he] has recited the benedictions and kindled one of them, the synagogue attendant may kindle the rest, and the prayer leader may pray. (Jacob ben Moses Moelin)
A courtyard having two entrances on two sides, [the owner] needs to kindle [Hanukkah lights] at both, because of suspicion [that he did not light]. But if both entrances are on the same side (and belong to the same house) (Kol Bo), one of them is enough for him. Rem"a: When one kindles at two entrances, he only recites the benedictions by one of them, and kindles the second without a benediction (Nissim of Gerona). However, nowadays, when all kindle actually inside and there is no distinction for the people of the public domain at all, even if a courtyard or house has many entrances on many sides, we kindle only once inside; so it seems to me and so is the widespread custom.