Our existing public website consists of a mish-mash of asp.net pages with mostly static content and some real web applications that are set up as virtual directories. We're now looking at installing Umbraco, which requires that you install it at the root of the website.

Since the CMS would be at the root of the website, I'm assuming it's a bad idea to run our existing pages and web applications underneath Umbraco (due to the URL rewriting it performs and inheriting web.config settings, etc.) So how do we make everything co-exist peacefully both while we transition to the CMS and after we're finished?

My only idea so far was to set up the CMS and the applications as separate websites and then use some sort of URL rewriting/reverse proxy to make everything resolve correctly:

  • www.example.com would keep resolving to our old homepage
  • www.example.com/dept1 would keep resolving to the old dept1 page
  • www.example.com/dept2 would resolve to the new dept2 page on the CMS
  • www.example.com/app would resolve to an existing web application

2 Answers 2


I've faced this situation several times and unless you're going to set up different sub-domains, e.g.

  • sub1.example.com (umbraco)
  • www.example.com
  • www.example.com/dept1

it is better to install it in the root and set up the other applications as virtual directories/applications. You'll need to edit the configuration files in each of the child applications to add at the top of the relevant sections (connectionstrings,namespace) to stop config cascading and test, test, test.

The URL re-writing is not such a problem, if you add the root folder name of each child application to the umbracoreservedurls / directories.

Its a pain I know - unfortunately that is just the way Umbraco works for now.

  • Neil, thanks for the response. What I'm considering doing now is setting up the subdomains like you mentioned, and then using something like ISAPI rewrite to seamlessly redirect there without the URL changing. Have you tried doing anything like that? Nov 6, 2009 at 14:49

I second Neil's comments but I'll reply as an answer so that I can format my reply better.

Here's a URL Rewrite 2.0 rule for you:

RewriteCond  Host:  (www\.)?domain\.com
RewriteRule  (?!/domain)(.*)   /domain$2 [I]

Put your site in a folder called /domain. Obviously you can change the URL and folder.

This ensures that anything with /domain doesn't redirect, but everything else does. That allows asp.net redirects, and other things that URL Rewrite isn't aware of, to still work.

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