Our content authors want to do a trial publish before making all their content live; part of their approval process is examining how the layouts pull in all the other 3rd party content etc.

Could we setup a parallel site to the "real" site somehow, and allow people to push content to that preview version.

3 Answers 3


Yes. But it can potentially involve a lot of steps, depending on how complex your solution is.

I'll outline the headlines.

  1. Set up a new database to act as "web" for this site; e.g. approval_web
  2. Configure this database in your <databases> section
  3. Create a Publishing Target for your approval site
  4. Map up a new <site> entry and give it a host name; e.g. approval.site.com

Your editors can now publish to this new Publishing Target and pass it on for internal review - before publishing to the "real" public facing website.

The most comprehensive guide I know for this is: Setting up content staging

Lastly; I seem to recall Sitecore making this easier in some recent release - but I can't find anything on it. It would involve the above principles anyway however.

  • 1
    I believe it is more simple now. Good example of this approach is here getfishtank.ca/blog/… with more Sitecore docs here doc.sitecore.net/sitecore_experience_platform/content_authoring/… Oct 4, 2016 at 12:02
  • One piece of this answer that is missing is the ability to specify publish targets as being for non-final workflow states. this way you can integrate the publish to "review" as part of your workflow process. It prevents publishing to the wrong target kinds of mistakes, because the regular publishing process will only publish "final" workflow state Items. Nov 2, 2016 at 14:07

Another option, if you are running Sitecore in a distributed environment, is to configure the website on the CM server to run in "Live Mode", running of the master database: http://www.verndale.com/insights/blog/2012/october/sitecore-live-mode/

In this way, the content editors can review their changes directly on the CM website, before they publish to the live site (CD).


One of the solutions I have worked with, had this kind of scenario.
They had another third sitecore instance (Stage instance) between CM & CD instances.

Editors can publish there changes to Stage instance first, before proceeding to CD instance.

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