This page and its subpages explain how to use the Multisite module to set up and run multiple websites from one Magnolia installation.
Maintaining multiple websites is facilitated by defining multiple site definitions. You need an Enterprise Pro license to properly run the Magnolia Multisite module.
The page presents a few typical use cases for a multisite setup and the corresponding configuration required. Full working examples of certain use cases are in the subpages. We assume that you already know some basics about a Magnolia site definition.
Typical use cases
Using multisite makes sense in the following scenarios:
- You have multiple websites with completely different purposes.
- You have minisites and run campaigns.
- You have different websites for subsidiaries and country branches.
- You have localized versions of the same website
- You use handles and URI prefixes to get shorter URLs.
How multisite works
In the Multisite module, you configure two important elements:
- Site definitions
The Multisite module is delivered with one default site definition called
fallback. When developing your multisite project, you configure your own site definitions. Every site definition can have its own theme and template prototype. A site definition contains a domain mapping and may contain a URL handle (a path).
URL resolution rules
The URL resolution rules ensure that Magnolia can properly assign a site for a given request. The Multisite module comes with a standard set of URL resolution rules. The standard rules usually are sufficient. We strongly recommend you be careful if you choose to change these rules.
When a request is sent to Magnolia, MultiSiteFilter analyses the request to determine which site definition it fits. Once the site has been determined, it is set to the AggregationState from where it can be read during further request processing.
Setting up multisite - main steps
The following bullet points summarize what you need to do to set up a multisite environment with one Magnolia installation:
- Create trees or subtrees of JCR nodes (usually pages) with different purposes.
- Configure site definitions. For each one, define:
- A mapping pointing to the tree or subtree of JCR nodes (usually pages).
- A domain mapping to map a domain to the site.
- Access the distinct content (sub)trees via distinct domains.
When the Multisite module is enabled, you must configure at least one site definition including a proper domain mapping. If you do not do so, pages are not served correctly on the public instance.
Magnolia setup and domains in a production environment
Magnolia is distributed as two web-applications: author and public. Among other things, editors create pages on the author instance and publish content from the author instance to public instances. Public instances serve the content to visitors. In a typical production setup you have one author and several public Instances.
In a production setup, the author instance and public instance are typically accessed via distinct domains.
Example of domains in a production environment
This table shows the difference between domains when pointing to author or public instances in a production environment.
|author instance||public instance|
|Subsidiaries or localized sites|
|German country site||www.xyzdomain.de|
|French country site||www.xyzdomain.fr|
Serving the webapps from root context
In a production environment, you access the public instance by requesting the root path of the domain. For example, when you request www.yourdomain.net you expect it to serve the webapp typically called magnoliaPublic. The same is true for the author instance: you expect author.yourdomain.net to serve the webapp called magnoliaAuthor.
If you run a bundle on localhost, you request the public instance using http://localhost:8080/magnoliaPublic. In this case, the webapp magnoliaPublic is served from
In a production environment, serve the webapps from the root context instead.
Application servers such as Tomcat generally only serve one webapp from root context within the same connector. However, in a production environment, you typically run the author instance and the public instance in different networks. Alternatively, you may run two Tomcat instances on the same host, or run one Tomcat instance with two connectors.
Mapping multiple domains to the application server
In a production environment, you typically use a web server such as Apache in front of Tomcat. Read Apache httpd in front of Tomcat to get some ideas about such a setup. When using the Apache HTTP Server (Apache httpd) and Apache Tomcat together,
mod_proxy_ajp can be used to redirect from Apache httpd to Tomcat.
In a multisite setup, where your public context serves content for multiple domains, you must map multiple domains to your application server (such as Tomcat). If you use a web server in front of the application, you must define multiple virtual hosts on the web server to redirect the request from Apache http to Apache Tomcat.
In this example, the Apache modules
proxy_module are used to redirect the request to Apache Tomcat using the Apache JServ Protocol (AJP). The example shows two virtual hosts both redirecting to the same Magnolia public instance.
The multisite module provides a
fallback site. The fallback site is a special site definition that is used when no site matches the request.
Do not delete or rename the fallback site.
When using multisite, it is common to have one main site and some additional sites. It generally makes sense to adapt the fallback site so that it extends your main site.
For example, the Magnolia Travel demo has two sites:
sportstation. When the demo modules are installed, the fallback site is changed to extend
Without the demo modules, the configuration of the fallback site looks like this:
This section is about site definition configuration in the context of multisite. It explains how to configure multiple, distinct site definitions which require the definition of
We assume that you already know some basics about Magnolia site definition configuration (such as prototypes, themes, imaging variations and
sitefn templating functions).
The Site app allows you to configure a site definition. Go to Web Dev > Site to open the app.
If your bundle contains the Multisite module, the Site app shows the node
/modules/multisite/config/sites from the configuration workspace.
When you open the Site app you see all configured sites as top-level nodes:
In this example there are two sites:
Site definition name
The node name of the site definition is called
If a site is properly configured, it can be accessed using the following URL:
Note that this only works if the domain part of the URL is different from the domain that is mapped to the site of the given
Mappings and domains
domains nodes are required in a multisite context. You must create a least one entry on both mappings and domains to ensure a proper site definition for a distinct site.
The site defined above allows you to access:
- The content node
/comicsvia the URL www.best-comics.net.
- The content node
/comics/belgian-comics/morris/lucky-luke/jolly-jumpervia the URL www.best-comics.net/jollyjumper.
The mapping nodes define the JCR content nodes (usually page nodes) assigned to the site definition.
A mapping has the following properties:
Each site can contain multiple mappings. The name of a mapping node is arbitrary. (In the example above, the node name is website.)
The corresponding java class for a mapping is URI2RepositoryMapping.
Name of the JCR workspace the mapping applies to.
The path in the workspace the content is served from.
Creates a node handle based on a URI. By default, a content request that does not contain a prefix is served from the node defined on
If this property is not set, MultiSiteURI2RepositoryManager throws an exception (leading to runtime exception and a server error 500). Add the property with an empty value (or
Note that URIPrefix configuration can also be applied in modules independent from site definitions.
Configuration in the site definition overrides the configuration in
A domain node assigns a domain to the given site definition. It defines how the above mapped content node(s) can be accessed by URL. You can map multiples domain to same site.
A domain mapping has the following properties:
The name of a domain mapping node is arbitrary. You can apply multiple domain nodes per site.
Domain name such as www.best-comics.net.
Port represents the port the web application was deployed on.
Default is 80.
HTTP or HTTPS.
Default is HTTP.
The context path of the Magnolia instance webapp such as
The optional properties
context are only used to build links between the pages of different sites. In a typical production setup, where you serve the webapps from the root context on different domains, you do not have to set
Extending site definitions
Another configuration strategy is to have one site definition for your
main site with a template prototype that you can then reuse on other site definitions. This is a common alternative to having multiple independent site definitions.
In the example below,
site-3 inherit from
domain can lead to unexpected results and may destroy your site setup.
Removing unwanted virtualURIMapping on public context
Make sure you have no unwanted virtualURIMapping redirections on the public context.
Use the Configuration app on the public context and search for
virtualURIMapping. On a standard Magnolia bundle you most probably find the node
/modules/ui-admincentral/virtualURIMapping/default which redirects to /.magnolia/admincentral. You must delete the node to ensure a request to http://<your-domain>/ really serves the root page of your site. (For further details look at the example).
URL resolution rules
The URL resolution rules ensure that Magnolia can properly assign a site for a given request. The Multisite module comes with a standard set of URL resolution rules. The standard rules usually are sufficient.
If you change the URL resolution rules, verify your changes on a test system before making any changes to your production environment. Errors in the URL resolution rules can break your site.
The multisite URL resolution rules are configured below the node
Note that every rule contains one or more configured
uri-starts-with-sitename rule on the public instance
uri-starts-with-sitename rule is a cross-site-evaluation rule that enables you to access a site using its site-definition-name from another domain. This is desired and required on the author instance, which typically runs on a domain different from the domain(s) mapped to a site definition(s).
If you have two site definitions, this rule allows you to access site A from the domain which is mapped to site B. This is typically not desired on a public instance.
0 is set by default in the
uri-starts-with-sitename rule. Add AdminOnlyMatcher as a second matcher to ensure the rule is applied in the author instance only.
Custom URL resolution rules and matcher classes
To understand multisite setup in different use cases, look at the following examples: