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How Umbraco can help manage multi-domain websites smoothly

Umbraco is the preferred choice of CMS for several companies because it’s open-source and has an unparalleled support and expertise of a community of developers, who are always around to help users get something done quickly. Umbraco is flexible, user-friendly, doesn’t compel users to install unwanted features and uses technologies that help clients manage their websites efficiently.

One of the most interesting features of Umbraco is that users can create and host multiple sites using a single installation of Umbraco! What this means is that with one Umbraco instance, one can create multiple sites with their own domain, create and manage content for each of them.

This feature is very useful for businesses who want one main website and several mini-websites – each for a business vertical or for specific events that they need to highlight. Let’s look at how Umbraco can help manage multi-domain websites in a smooth manner.

Developing Multiple Sites Using Umbraco Back-office: Steps Involved

  1. Setting Up

The first step would be to install Umbraco and create some templates for your site. You can either use the same template for each site or use unique templates. The Umbraco Grid and grid editors are especially useful in choosing templates or picking up a reusable template for your convenience. Once you have the templates chosen, you need to create a ‘Homepage’ document type which will be the starting node.

You also want to have the ‘Website Settings’ document, which will consist of each website’s unique stylesheet and settings. In this document, you will also have some text fields that will allow you to enter the name on your stylesheet and the fonts as well.

  1. Enabling Unique Domain for Each Site

You have Umbraco installed and have selected templates. Now you need to get into umbracoSettings.config, find ‘<requestHandler>’ and set <useDomainPrefixes> to true. This will enable you to have unique domains for your multiple sites.

  1. Create Content for Each Site

Now that the sites are created, go to the ‘Content’ tab to create content for each site. Remember to set permissions to allow the Website Settings document and any other Doctypes you have created to be a child of the Homepage. Now that your different sites are created, you can develop content for each of them. If you have defined unique stylesheet and fonts for each of these sites, you will have to add them into the Settings. Go to Settings, add the filename and your link to the font you have chosen. For example, if you want to use google fonts, then you can add the google link. This can be customised to suit the font you have chosen.

To get to the Website Settings node, you may want to use a helper class. And you can use Razor to assign the stylesheet to the template. Once your stylesheet and fonts are linked, you can set-up all the content for each of the sites.

  1. Assign Domain Names

Once you are done creating your sites, you need to assign them their unique domain names. To do this, right click on the website’s Home node, select ‘Culture and Hostnames’. Here you have the provision to assign the unique hostname and choose the website language as well.

Do ensure that your domain names are pointing to the right places with IIS. To get the sites show-up on unique localhost domains, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open IIS Manager
  2. Right click on ‘Sites’ and click on ‘Add Site’
  3. Give you site a name, mention the path to the place your project is located locally and bind your site to a hostname.
  4. Now make sure that all users requiring permissions have full access. To do this, go to ‘Edit Permissions’ and check the ‘Security’ tab.

There is an alternate way to assign domain from the Umbraco back office:

  1. Right click on home node of the website
  2. Select Culture and host names option as shown in screen shot below.

3. In the Culture and host names section select the language and add your domain as shown in the screen shot below.


5. Ready for Testing

Once all the sites are assigned to the right localhost domains, you can test each of them. And lo and behold, your multiple sites created with a single Umbraco instance, are ready to use!

With Umbraco as the foundation of your websites, you can not only offer users the best interactive experience possible but also manage multi-domain sites smoothly.


Shwetha Bhat | Blogger

Manjunath Govindappa | ASP.NET Technical Lead

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