A mirror allows you to deploy the same codebase to multiple applications, each with its own billing, database, media storages and other services.
Mirrors are particularly valuable in white-label applications, and large multi-domain sites.
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For product companies, mirrors are a convenient way to provide standalone instances of their product to different customers.
Each mirror is locked to the codebase of the original, and can be kept in synchronisation. Deployments can be applied to mirrors selectively, or rolled out en masse (across hundreds or even thousands of mirrors at a time) with a tiny fraction of the effort usually required to manage such operations.
Mirrors share only a codebase: there is complete isolation of data between mirrors and their original. Billing and access control across mirrors are similarly independent.
Mirrors help maintain complex multisite/multidomain applications, providing centralised administration.
Although by default mirrors are completely independent, they can be configured to share a database and other services. This makes it possible to have independent applications, running the same code, responding to requests on different domains. Each mirror can have different CPU and memory resources allocated to it according to requirements.
See for example How to create a multisite project using mirrors in our Developer Handbook.
Mirrors provide convenience for development/production workflows. For example, development of a base project can make use of a complex dataset for testing and quality assurance purposes, completely independent of its mirrors that use the same codebase.