Building a release test is just one use case for using SiteSpect's Alternative Proxy feature.
Sometimes in the course of your work, you may need to test an entirely new release of your web site or a deployment to an entirely new server. SiteSpect allows you to test these scenarios using our alternate origin capability. For example, let's say you are developing an entirely new website and you want to test it. You've got your usual production environment (www.site.com) and then you want to test it against an entirely different environment (say www.adifferentsite.com). You can create a Campaign that will test the two environments against each other on your live traffic. The following example describes how.
The steps look like this at a high level:
- SiteSpect Professional Services configures the Alternative Proxy Path and URL.
- The SiteSpect user then creates an Origin Experiment to define the changes.
- Validate that the alternate origin is accepting traffic from SiteSpect.
Here is another page that describes how Alternative Proxy works.
Configuring the Alternative Proxy Path and URL
- Choose the domain that you want to use as an alternate origin. This domain must already exist in SiteSpect. Select Site, Configuration, Domains. Select the domain from the Domain List that you want to edit.
- Configure the Domain settings using the Alternative Proxy Path and Alternative Proxy URL fields. Select Site, Configuration, Domains, Header Control.
- Enter an Alternative Proxy Path. When SiteSpect sees a URL with this path prepended to it, SiteSpect proxies traffic to the alternate origin. Using the example from above, this is __www2.
- Enter an Alternative Proxy URL. This is the alternate origin. Here, you’ll use a backend name. This field is similar to the Backend Name fields on the General tab in the Domains area. You can use either a domain name or an IP address. Using the example, this is www2.site.com.
When SiteSpect sees a URL that contains the Alternative Proxy Path, it proxies the request to the Alternative Proxy URL. SiteSpect removes the Alternative Proxy Path from the URL; it will not be visible by end users and the alternate origin.
Creating the Origin Experiment to Define the Changes
SiteSpect allows you to redirect traffic to a new URL without changing the URL the user sees in their browser's address bar. You can create a Variation to do this as part of creating a new Campaign.
- Select New, then A/B Campaign.
- Enter a Name for the Campaign and select Origin from the Type drop-down. This tells SiteSpect that you're testing a different Origin instead of running a standard Campaign that tests swapped out content. When you make this selection, SiteSpect automatically selects the Origin Experiments Set.
- Open the Variations section of the page.
- Rename Variation Group 1 to Alternate Origin or whatever name works for you.
- Rename Variation 1 to URL Rewrite or whatever name works for you.
- In the When to Change (Triggers) area, select URL as the type. Then select Does not contain from the drop-down and enter __www2. This tells SiteSpect to apply the Variation whenever the visitor lands on a page that does not contain __www2 in its URL.
- In the What to Change area, select URL from the Type drop-down, which means that SiteSpect is to consider the URL when performing the Find and Replace described by the What to Change fields.
- Select the RegEx button in the upper right of the What to Change area to indicate that you’re going to use Regex to enter text in the Find and Replace fields.
- In the Find this field, enter ^/. When SiteSpect sees the URL in the visitor's browser that matches this one, it replaces it with the value in the Replace with this field.
- In the Replace with this field, enter the URL where you want to send the visitor. In our example, it looks like this: /__www2/
SiteSpect sends the visitor to this URL, but the visitor continues to see the URL name from the Find this field in their browser's URL bar. Visitors don't know they have been redirected.
The entire Variation looks like the following:
Validate that the Alternate Origin is Accepting Traffic From SiteSpect
Preview Variation Group 1 (named Alternate Origin above) and ensure that traffic is routing through the alternate origin as expected.
In some instances, if the origin refuses traffic, setting a host header for the alternate origin can solve the problem:
Make sure to turn off the corresponding Variation under the Control Group. The Variations area should look like the following image: