How Magnolia gave Ancestry the freedom to grow

Ancestry’s sites help millions of subscribers discover, document and share their family history. To do this, they must deliver a sophisticated user experience while simultaneously managing and providing access to an ever-growing collection of billions of digital assets. Migrating to Magnolia gave Ancestry the power and freedom they needed to meet both of these challenges, while also helping them be prepared for the future.

Industry: Technology
Country: United States

Why Ancestry chose Magnolia


Ease of authoring

Magnolia’s intuitive authoring tools are quick to learn and easy to use.


Faster time to market

Authors can produce content faster, while developers can develop new site features more quickly.


The app framework

Magnolia’s app framework gives Ancestry’s development team a solid base to build on.


Integration capabilities

Magnolia’s APIs make it easy to integrate with Ancestry’s existing and future infrastructure.



Ancestry’s development team can easily customize any part of Magnolia, thanks to its flexible architecture.


Performance and scalability

Magnolia is twice as fast as the old CMS, and continues to scale effortlessly.


Magnolia is twice as fast as our old CMS. It delivers the availability, performance and scalability that we needed.

The challenge: a more efficient system to allow Ancestry to grow

In 2014, Ancestry needed to replace an aging and unwieldy content management system that was slow to operate and hard to use and extend. They needed a more user-friendly system that enabled rapid publishing while giving developers the flexibility and power they needed to keep pace with changing technologies.

Also, with a rapidly growing subscriber base across multiple countries and an ever-increasing number of digital records, the new system had to be able to serve personalized multi-channel experiences in multiple languages rapidly, reliably and at scale. Finally, the new CMS had to integrate easily with Ancestry’s existing infrastructure and be a good bet for integration with future infrastructure.


The solution: flexible integration and seamless scalability

Ancestry carried out a careful evaluation of the content management systems on the market to see which could meet their demanding requirements. Magnolia met Ancestry’s requirements with a flexible architecture that also offered future-proof development options for scalability.

Magnolia’s ability to integrate seamlessly with other systems made it possible for developers to fit it into Ancestry’s existing architecture. Magnolia's app framework allowed Ancestry not just to use out-of-the-box apps to manage content and users, but also to develop its own customized apps.

Ancestry was impressed by how easy it was to develop within Magnolia, but also by the company’s attitude to support, and its commitment to meeting Ancestry’s needs.


Magnolia has made creating and finding content easier. We’re now able to deliver an enhanced and personalized customer experience.

The result: a system that's twice as fast and gives the freedom to develop

Magnolia’s ease of development has allowed developers to work faster, as well as giving editors more freedom. The time savings that have been delivered reach across the board, with training times cut and publishing times halved. Ancestry now finds it much easier to create, manage and publish content, and it can also be sure that its sites won’t go down.

As Ancestry enters new markets, Magnolia enables it to offer compelling cross-platform digital experiences and raise awareness of its brand. Even as technology changes, Ancestry now knows that it has the tools it needs to continue growing.


Magnolia enters the Forrester Wave™

The Forrester Wave™
Web Content Management Systems, Q1 2017

Magnolia’s component design leverages content pools to drive dynamic content, while back-end extensibility builds on open source and offers flexible integration.

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