If I open a Sitecore content item in Sitecore Page Editor, does it run on the master database or on web database?

4 Answers 4


The page editor (a.k.a Experience Editor) is used to edit content, so it uses the master database.

  • 5
    It will always be the page editor ;-) Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 20:12
  • A lot of great content below. "Cunningham's Law" at work. meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cunningham%27s_Law Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 21:44
  • Althought this answer is right, I would suggest to take a look at @jflheureux answer bellow, since I have been fooled more than once by setups with a different db running the pag/experience editor. Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 21:59

Answers here are a good start but the database the page/experience editor is using is configurable in the <site name="shell"> node of this website.

On Sitecore 8.0 and older, in your web.config file. On Sitecore 8.1+, in the /App_Config/Sitecore.config file.

The default configuration is:

<site name="shell" virtualFolder="/sitecore/shell" physicalFolder="/sitecore/shell" rootPath="/sitecore/content" startItem="/home" language="en" database="core" domain="sitecore" loginPage="/sitecore/login" content="master" contentStartItem="/Home" enableWorkflow="true" enableTracking="false" analyticsDefinitions="content" xmlControlPage="/sitecore/shell/default.aspx" browserTitle="Sitecore" htmlCacheSize="10MB" registryCacheSize="15MB" viewStateCacheSize="1MB" xslCacheSize="25MB" disableBrowserCaching="true" />

In this configuration we see that the default database used by the Sitecore admin tools (shell) is the master database due to the content="master" attribute.


Well it depends on which database you are working on. Default a content editor opens an experience editor and page editor on the master database. From there the changes will be saved and published towards the web database.

Here you see how that works out: Sitecore database setup

Working directly on the CD web database is not recommended as your change will be overwritten on the next publish action.


While Dan's suggestion is true for single instance Sitecore installations, the answer is not so straight forward in a distributed environment (i.e. separate CM and CD servers).

When configuring a CD environment, Sitecore recommends removing all references to the master database (using the SwitchMasterToWeb config patch), allowing the application only to access the web database.

If you have not removed/restricted access to the Sitecore client on the CD server your editors will be able to open the Experience Editor, and thus work on the web database.

  • In some hardening situations, you might have Sitecore accessible only from the local server IP, and this scenario from Kasper applies as well. Very important scenario to remember! Nice job Kasper Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 12:53

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