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Utilizing your Sitefinity CMS license on various work environments

by Anton Hristov

In my previous blog post I wrote about how to make the most out of your Sitefinity license file. In today’s post I will continue the licensing topic and provide you with further insight on using your license on development, staging, and production environments. Let’s look at how to best utilize the license for those work environments.

Development environment

Developers usually like to work on their machines with a local website copy, so that they can freely experiment in their sandbox environment. The Sitefinity license allows for all developers working on a project to be assigned as licensed users, which will allow them to obtain a copy of your license key and install Sitefinity on their local machines. Moreover, being licensed users will allow developers to submit support tickets form their own Sitefinity.com accounts. Licensed users can also share tickets between each other for better knowledge management and collaboration in a globally distributed team. In case you have more than one Sitefinity license, you should assign developers as licensed users only to the license used for the Sitefinity website they are working on.

Unlike other Telerik products that are licensed per developer seat (e.g. Telerik Ultimate Collection), Sitefinity allows for unlimited number of developer seats (licensed users). Developers can be assigned as licensed users from the Licensed Developers page of your account. All licensed users can login to their accounts and be able to download your Sitefinity license key that will allow them to them to work with Sitefinity on their localhost domain.

Source control tools can be used with Sitefinity in the same way as they are used with standard ASP.NET websites. There is also TeamPulse, which is a great project management tool that integrates with Microsoft Team Foundation Server and it helps teach you best agile software development practices.

Staging environment

Staging environment is often used to test a website before it is moved to production. Such environment should be set up on a similar server configuration as the one used in production. You can host a staging copy of your Sitefinity website using your production license file.

The server can be set up a in a way that the staging website is accessible from a subdomain (e.g. staging.mywebsite.com) of your production domain (e.g. mywebsite.com). You should make sure that you registered your production domain name with the Sitefinity license and updated your license file in order to disable the Sitefinity copyright page for the staging subdomain. Refer to my previous blog post for details on that.

The Sitefinity license allows you to have unlimited number of subdomains for your registered root domain. The CMS will never display a copyright page for such a subdomain and your project stakeholders can browse the staging website as if they were browsing it on a production server.

Production environment

Before you transfer a website to a production server, it is important that you have:

  • fully tested the website
  • registered your domain with the Sitefinity license and updated the license file used for the website

Then, it is just a matter of copying all files in the website folder from your development/staging environment to the production server. The files can be coped via an FTP client such as FileZilla. You should then configure IIS on the production server, change the Sitefinity database connection string(s) to reflect the location of the production Sitefinity database. Details on website deployment are available in the documentation.

While transferring a Sitefinity website between different work environments is somewhat a standard ASP.NET website transfer process, we are looking into ways to provide automatic website synchronization between those environments by end of this year or beginning of next year.

I’m wondering what are your existing website development/deployment processes and what will have the most value for you in a website synchronization feature? Please, share your feedback in the comments below.

8 comments

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  1. Michael Russell May 17, 2011
    So are any plans in the works to make DataConfig.config easier to manage between the different environments?  In an ideal world, we'd be able to use the transforms feature in VS2010 to handle the different connection strings to dev/QA/production SQL instances...    
  2. Anton Hristov May 27, 2011
    Michael, check out Gabe Sumner's blog post How to use 'web.config' transformations with Sitefinity 4. The idea for his post came out from your comment. Thanks!


  3. AP May 28, 2011
    Hi Anton. Personally, I'm using two domains for the live and testing environment. It allows me to 100% separate the environments, including domain wide (IIS) settings, and restart a complete domain, for example. The license warning on the test domain doesn't bother me too much, but it helps that I don't have clients testing it.

    Regarding existing website development/deployment processes you asked about: please consider this forum thread when you start designing synchronization features.

    One more thing that it not completely clear to me is how to move a site from one domain to the other. It's not something that a site owner would frequently do, but there are reasons to move to a new domain (e.g. the brand name changed). If fact one would need two licenses during the transition period (a week or so). I was reassured that something like this could be solved on a case by case basis, but I don't think there's a standard procedure for it.
  4. Anton Hristov May 28, 2011
    @AP We will definitely consider the forum thread you suggested when we start work on a site-sync feature. Thanks for linking to that thread here.

    Once a domain name is registered with a Sitefinity license, it is not possible for clients to change it. If you would like to request a domain change for a Sitefinity license, please contact the sales team at sales@sitefinity.com. They will inform you whether it would be possible to change your domain and what the process will be. It is on a case by case basis because each client has unique needs that sometimes can and sometimes cannot be accommodated.
  5. Nikolay Popov May 31, 2011

    Hi there,
    I'd like to add a suggestion and share my experience. I've done many times the transfer of DB + WEB server files from DEV -> to PRODUCTION, this works also for local upgrade (new version migrations) in DEV and later -> transfer to PROD. What is trickier is to transfer (sync if you like) just some content items (e.g. news items in some category) from DEV to PROD , or IMPORT these from e.g. some comma-separated file in the PROD DB, this is not difficult to code by using the SDK, but I think it'll be nice to have some UI in the backend to import( or sync) such data  by requiring some predefined structure of the fields in the source data or defining some simple mapping. I also like to share may experience using Publish and Precompile future in VS 2008 - as Sitefinity is standard ASP.NET, this just works, haven't tried deployment services in VS 2010 (Publish command or Build deployment package - and publish on PROD), but believe there shouldn't be a problem either.

  6. Georgi Jun 14, 2011
    Hi Nikolay,

    We are planning to have such feature, built-in the CMS. I cannot provide you with a time frame for this implementation, but we consider this feature as important - needless to say, we will implement it as soon as possible.
  7. Jorge Jan 24, 2013
    Hi,

    I have a question here, may be the solution is quite simple but Ive been looking for a while with out luck.

    What if I have a site for example http://www.mysite.com/ and I want my site to also be navigated OR redirected (we dont mind about it we just want users to get to the .com site when they type different urls) from http://www.mysite.net/ or http://www.mysite.com.somethingelse/ ?. There's lots of workarounds with subdomains and languages but not this case in particular, we want to know if sitefinity allows us to configure it so it will redirect any page to the correct site the site google like with the url http://www.googlr.com we dont have intentions on buying other licenses by the way.

    We're getting the copy right message with our project on the .net domain and we had to take it down for a while. Is it possible?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  8. Anton Jan 24, 2013
    Jorge, it looks like you want to forward the domain mysite.net to mysite.com where the domain mysite.com points to a Sitefinity website, which is licensed for it. What you can do is forward your other domains mysite.someting.something to mysite.com. Note that this domain forwarding is done outside of Sitefinity, typically you can configure domain forwarding from the control panel of your domain provider. In the case of domain forwarding you don't need to purchase additional Sitefinity licenses because in end you are directing your visitors to the domain, which you have a Sitefinity license for. Just search Google for "how to forward a domain" to find out more about the process.

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