Setting Up an Auxiliary Site

The Auxiliary Sites feature is a way by which additional file location options can be made available to users when they click on the browse button when inserting links or media. When users browse for files, they will first be directed to the directory in which they are currently editing a page, or the location configured in either the site settings or with a directory variable for images and media. However, when in the browse function, the drop-down in the right-hand corner of the window provides a list of auxiliary sites that have been configured, and from which media or other files can be linked. This allows users to select images, media, or make links in the WYSIWYG Editor to files that reside on servers other than the production website. Auxiliary sites are typically used as repositories for media, such as images and video. Note that this list also includes a list of any publish targets, if Multi-Target Publish is in use.

Here is a scenario of how auxiliary sites can be used. A directory variable is in use for the alumni directory that automatically opens the file browser to the default images directory, which is /departments/alumni /images/. Users frequently also need access to an image that is located in the main images folder for the institution; for example, /images/. In this case, the auxiliary site can be configured for that /images/ directory and the user does not have to tediously navigate to it. It can simply be selected from the drop-down for easy access.

Auxiliary Sites Dropdown


Auxiliary sites can either be on the same production server and simply identified as its own site location, or it can be a completely separate server, such as a media server where all current media is housed or a document repository. In order to configure an auxiliary site, the administrator must have the FTP account settings. It is not possible to link to a public-facing site, such as Flickr, as the connection is made via FTP access. The connection is read-only, and media and files cannot be uploaded to another server via the file browser should a separate server be accessed via the auxiliary sites.

Auxiliary sites configured in the account settings apply to all sites within the account. However, if more granular control is required, the auxiliary sites are available for configuration on a site-by-site basis. Any auxiliary sites configured in an individual site’s settings are appended to any auxiliary sites set in the account settings.


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Setting Up an Auxiliary Site

An auxiliary site can be configured within the account settings or site settings. Adding an auxiliary site at the account level (Setup > Account > Auxiliary Sites) specifies that it applies to all sites and users. Adding an auxiliary site at the site level (Setup > Sites > Edit > Auxiliary Sites) makes it available only for that site. The configuration options are identical at each level.

  1. Click on the New button under Auxiliary Sites section. 
  2. The following field options will appear. 
    Auxiliary Sites Empty Field Attributes
  3. Fill in with the following:
    • Site: Enter a user friendly name for the site that will appear in the insert link, image, and media dialogs. For example, Image of Buildings or Videos.
    • Server: Enter the URL or IP of the SFTP or FTP server. For example, or Prepend with "p:" for passive FTP, or "s:" for SFTP.
    • Username: Enter the user name for the SFTP or FTP account.
    • Password: Enter the password for the SFTP or FTP account.
    • FTP Root: Enter the root path for the SFTP or FTP account. For example, /public_html/_resources/videos. 
    • FTP Home: Optional; a subdirectory of FTP Root where users may edit content. 
    • HTTP Root: Enter the URL of the equivalent to the FTP path. This is what is appended to the FTP path. For example,
    • FTP Path: Optional; a subdirectory of FTP Home where users are placed by default.
  4. Repeat the steps for any additional auxiliary sites to be created and click Submit

When these fields are filled, a back-end regex (regular expression) will make sure the entries follow the expected syntax for each specific field.

To delete an existing auxiliary site, click on the Delete link for the site no longer desired.

Reorder the auxiliary sites by dragging and dropping the boxes to the order they should appear in the drop-down.


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Here is an example of several auxiliary sites with all of completed fields:



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Using Auxiliary Sites

After creating an auxiliary site, using it is quite easy. When a user is browsing for a link, image, or video, they will see a drop down menu in the browser:

Omnibrowser w/ dropdown


Clicking on the drop down menu opens up the list of available sites, including the usual staging and production servers:

Open drop down menu

A user can choose another server and it will appear in the browser window just like the normal staging and production servers.  From this point, the process is just like inserting a link, image, or video normally.


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Best Practices

There are some important things that an administrator should be aware of when creating an auxiliary site. 

  • The regex for the various fields does not guarantee that the information is correct, merely that it follows proper syntax.  It is the responsibility of the administrator to supply the correct FTP address, username, password, etc. in order for the site to function correctly.
  • The http:// requires a forward slash, /, at the end of the url.
  • This functionality does not create the auxiliary site, it only allows the OmniUpdate system to retrieve files from an already existing site.


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