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How To Create and Manage Child Sites with Out-of-the-Box Plone

How To Create and Manage Child Sites with Out-of-the-Box Plone

Maintaining and managing multiple websites is no small feat. From installing new software instances to adding/managing users and groups to updating separated streams of content, each website has a laundry list of maintenance tasks. One way to alleviate the burden of website maintenance is to consolidate multiple websites into a single parent site using child sites.

With out-of-the-box Plone 5.0, developers have an intuitive interface to create and manage child sites — without the need for additional add-ons. Prior to Plone 4.3, developers used Lineage to create child sites.  

While Lineage does provide additional functionality for child sites, many organizations will find that out-of-the-box Plone suits their needs. To explore additional functionality for child sites, check out the collective.lineage add-on and its extension add-ons.

Below, take a look under the hood and learn how to create a child site using out-of-the-box Plone in just four steps. 

Child Sites Explained

Child sites, especially those with unique URLs, may seem like independent websites, but they are not. In short, the parent site has access to the content within the child sites, but the child site only has access to its own content. 

For example, child sites can be used to support a variety of clients including:

  • Events - If a parent organization hosts multiple conferences each year, the organization can create a child site for each new event. 
  • Colleges - A parent college website can contain child sites for each school and/or department to share unique content and news. 
  • Products and Branding - A parent company website site can feature child sites that represent each brand and/or product. 

In addition to reducing the overall time spent on website maintenance, there are many benefits to using a child site. 

With a child site, developers can: 

  • Manage a single set of users and specify sites that each user can administer/access.
  • Maintain brand consistency and visual identity throughout all sites.
  • Syndicate content between child sites or to the parent site. 
  • Prevent errors and discrepancies by limiting the duplication of tasks.

4 Steps: How to create a child site in out-of-the-box Plone

Plone has everything needed to setup a child site out-of-the-box: 

1. Create a new content type based on the Folder type.

    1. Go to Site Setup control-panel. Look for Dexterity Content Types under the “Content” Section. 
    2. Select the checkbox next to “Folder,” then click the Clone button to create a copy.
    3. Set Type Name  to “Child Site” (the Short Name is automatically generated for you).


2. Modify the Child Site content type and apply the Navigation root behavior.


    1. Click Child Site in the Dexterity Content Types control panel.
    2. Select “Navigation root” under the Behaviors tab.
    3. Click save.

Note: The Child Site content type works like a standard Plone folder, but has its own top-level navigation menu separate from the parent site. 

3. Head to the root of the Plone site, click  Add new… and choose Child Site.  

4. Enjoy! A new child site can now be created. 


This four-step process will work for both a new Plone site and existing sites, and is easy to adapt to existing websites.


Using child sites will streamline website creation and management processes. Now, with out-of-the-box Plone, child sites can be quickly created and managed as part of a parent site. 

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