Can someone confirm for me: If I have an external multimedia component in Tridion 2011, will it get downloaded to the content delivery and presentation servers when the page is published?

I have several thousand large images and videos which I would like to upload to a CDN and provide URL references as external multimedia components in Tridion - as suggested in post Best practice for storing multimedia content.

However, if Tridion is going to download the file locally anyway then the benefits of using a CDN disappear.

Please can you confirm?

Also, question 2 - Will Tridion generate thumbnail images for content created as an external multimedia component? If so, how and where are the thumbnails stored?

Hope someone can help.

  • You don't have to add the images to the package. Don't use the default finish actions template building block and reference image paths (FileName) instead (at least for external multimedia components). I'd imagine your users may still appreciate the performance from a CDN regardless of where you publish/host your original images. You could also opt for non-multimedia components to "store" (identifiers for) these external items. Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 17:29

2 Answers 2


Publishing to a website/publishing target.

By default, using the default TBBs, the publisher will download the images and store them on the content delivery server. The image will not be stored in the content manager or publisher and the image will not be re-sized.

This is Tridion, so of course you can change this behavior by not using the default TBBs or implement a TBB which changes the default benhaviour. I.e. you could leave the external URL to the CDN intact instead of downloading the image and publishing it to the presentation server.

Preview in CME

Same behavior as in publishing, but the image will not be stored on the contend delivery end but in the content manager sever in order to be able to run the preview.

CME thumbnail

The content manager explorer will show a thumbnail of the image. This thumbnail is stored in a cache on the CME. The image is for CME use only, it is not accessible though an API and it is not available on the content delivery. The thumbnails will be stored in [Tridion installation folder]\web\WebUI\WebRoot\ThumbnailCache.

Other Tridion modules

As an example, the connector for SDL Media Manager has a TBB which is executed before the Default Finishing Actions TBB. The Media Manager Connector TBB will resolve the multimedia component links (i.e. in an image tag) for specific multimedia component schemas. This way the links are already resolved before the Default Finishing Actions will attempt to download the image from the CDN.

SDL Media Manager is SDL's Media Asset Management system which uses a CDN.

  1. Binary will be downloaded locally at a render time and added to package. In case of preview it will be stored in \web\Preview. Not sure where will it be in case of real publishing.
  2. Thumbnail will be generated, but I'm not sure where will it be stored. I think it has something to do with \web\WebUI\WebRoot\ThumbnailCache

The benefit of external binary is that it's not stored in the database

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