Guide to Sitefinity Environment Configurations

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The Ultimate Guide to Sitefinity Environment Configurations

Sitefinity Environment Configurations

Do you want to move your project in development to a continuous environment, but don't know how? Or do you want tips for your Sitefinity system requirements? Or perhaps, do you simply want to learn more about how different environments work? Because if any of these sounds like you, we've got the answer you need - the Sitefinity CMS.

At the end of the day, the Sitefinity CMS is incredibly easy to work with. And not only is it user friendly, but it also gets phenomenal results every single time. And its various environments are the definition of efficiency.

In this article, we'll do a couple of things. Starting with the basics of what a multi environments setup is, we'll work through setting up a continuous environment and end with tips to make the most of your Sitefinity CMS.

Any Sitefinity Developer can use SiteSync to push their content in various environments. In most instances, this refers to having more than two settings, for example, Content Authoring, Staging, and Production. Here, some of these environments act as both as source and destination.

To use such a setup, you need to configure SiteSync on your environments. Follow the following specifications:

  • Environments acting as source and destination need to:
    - enable the setting option 'Allow content from other sites to be published to this site.'
    - have the address for the destination environment.
  • Environments that aren't solely acting as a source need to have a unique Site key. Also, this key must be incremental for each destination.
Migrating Data, Configuring Develoment Environments, and More

Setting Up a Continuous Delivery

A lot of Sitefinity developers have projects deployed on a development environment and want to change it. In such an instance, they have a couple of options for this shift. These include continuous integration in:

  • Development environment
  • One or more test environments
  • Live environments

The process is simple and follows a couple of steps.

Migrate the configurations: Before you start setting up your continuous delivery, you need to find out what storage mode your configuration files use. Click here if you don't know how to. And if your configurations are stored in the database, click here to learn how to migrate them.

Setup the development environment by opening the project in the development environment and do the following:

  • Turn off the Read-only mode of configurations.
  • Deactivate the Staging and Syncing module.
  • Set your deployment mode to 'source.'
  • Activate Auto-storage mode of configurations.
  • Restart your application.

Your deployment environment is now ready for continuous development and testing.

  • Deploy your project and its database to your test environment from your development.
  • Open the project's settings and make these changes:
    - Set deployment mode to target
    - Turn on Read-only mode of configurations
  • Read up on the best practices: testing and continue with testing.
  • If your project fails any of the tests linked above, there's an issue with it, and you need to make changes. Go back to the development environment and do the following:
    - Export the project and import the changes to your test environment
    - Run the project on your test environment
    - Go back to step 3
  • Go through this process for every test environment.

Setup the live environment: After your project has passed all the tests, you can deploy it and its database to the live environment. Read through instructions on how-to here. Then just open the environment and run your project.

Features and Settings for Project Configuration

Configuring your Project

Whether you’re working with the Sitefinity CMS or a competitor, you will always need to make changes to the project configuration. And since Sitefinity keeps most of its configuration in separate files in the App_Data folder, it's easy to make these edits.

When you start making changes, there are a few things you should keep in mind. You must pay attention because these changes are going to affect your entire project.

Switch Off Debugging

When you're developing a web project, you need to turn this setting on. It will make your job easier and help you out. However, it is imperative that you switch it off once you're done. Debugging can cause a lot of problems in a production environment. Just some of these include overhead and disturbance. Furthermore, it isn't even needed at that point of the process. You can find more information here.

Web.config Transformations

Keeping track of the differences between debug and release files is a lot of work. And sometimes, it just doesn't seem worth all the hassle. If this sounds like you, all you need to remember is what to add or remove in each deployment. For example, Microsoft has started using configuration transformations, and you can use it too. Meaning, you keep two versions of the config file - one for release and one for debugging environments. Depending on the build configuration you're using, ASP.NET chooses the correct file itself.

Set Caching Options

The CMS, instead of ASP.NET, manages Sitefinity CMS pages. And so, the CMS uses caching options. You should always enable these as they will help manage your work. However, some instances, such as dynamic content pushed by a widget, will prevent you from using them

Custom Errors

If your Sitefinity CMS server goes down, it will present an error screen to users. This screen is known as the yellow screen of death and can contain sensitive data. For example, essential variable names, your connection string, etc. So you have to configure your error pages not to display this information. Click here for more details on custom errors.

Disable Service Tracing

The Sitefinity CMS user interface uses WCF services to read operations on data. And Sitefinity developers often enable tracing to locate errors or wrong usage. While this may be helpful, it causes overhead. So if you don't need tracing, turn it off.

You can enable it, restrict the sources you are tracing, and use the service selectively.

You have to determine if you need this service and where. If you enable it without reason, you will just reduce efficiency.

Static Content Cache Expiration

IIS serves both dynamic and static content. Dynamic content goes in through the ASP.NET pipeline. It then executes code on your pages. On the other hand, static content goes back to the browser. These are items such as images, CSS, etc.

Now, the browser can usually catch the static content and doesn't need to go back to the server to use it. However, static content expires after a little while - the default setting is 31 days. You can edit this setting according to your use.

How can we help

Clarity Sitefintiy Experts

The Sitefinity CMS always gets fantastic results. But some settings can make that result go from a 10 to an 11. And when the environment and its settings are concerned, you should think of the following:

  • Using a 64-bit processor to run the application
  • Downloading the latest .NET Framework version
  • For a faster startup, using a Multi-Core Just-In-Time compilation
  • Using a background garbage collector

The Sitefinity CMS is a wonder. And it can only help your business grow. With its various environments and testing series, it will smooth out any rough edges in your project. The end product you get will boost profits and help you stand out from the competition.

Clarity Sitefinity CMS Experts

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