Unsure about which CMS to use for your website? Why not test some out?
There is a way you can test Sitefinity out for free. No install time, no configuration, and no credit card. (At least not yet.) It’s called a sandbox. And it’s what we’ll talk about in this post.
Why You’d Want to Test Sitefinity (or any CMS) Before Investing in It
You wouldn’t buy a car without test-driving it, right? Same thing goes for a Content Management System. In fact, there are several good reasons to test out a CMS before spending any money or time to work with it.
- You’ll use this CMS for a while. You will need to know it will do what you need it to, and remain stable the whole time.
- If you’re going the CMS route, you want to make sure it’s a route you’re comfortable with!
- Testing a CMS beforehand lets you familiarize yourself with its interface, how it displays websites, and how technical a user needs to be to work effectively within it.
- Can’t sell co-workers (or a boss) on a CMS if you don’t know anything about it!
Many other CMS offer trials & sandboxes for those considering its use. Sitefinity isn’t alone in this respect. Fortunately, their option for a trial is full-featured and easy to set up.
Jump Into the Sitefinity Sandbox
A “Sandbox,” in web development terms, is a version of the Content Management System you can use for testing. It’s normally a full demo, hosted right on the CMS maker’s servers or a third party.
You can open a fresh sandbox with a trial account. Then you’re able to play around in a temporary copy of the CMS. Test out every feature you want. Don’t worry about breaking anything; the sandbox will only last for a limited time, after which it’s automatically deleted.
Ready to try out a Sitefinity Sandbox? Here’s how you start.
How to Use the Sitefinity Sandbox
Head to this webpage: Free 30-Day Trial of Sitefinity – Sitefinity.com
You have two options. You can set up a Sitefinity trial locally if you want, but the Online Sandbox is easier & faster. Click the “Online Sandbox” button.
Next, enter your contact information in the form. This sets up a new Sitefinity sandbox linked to your email address.
(You can also click the “Already have an account? Sign In” link at the top if you have a Sitefinity.com account already.)
Once you’ve entered your information & clicked Submit, you should see an “Activate” button like this:
You’ll see a screen like this afterward. It contains the URL to see your new Sitefinity Sandbox, the URL to access its admin interface, and your username & password. You’ll also receive an email with these details.
(Pardon my blacking out some of the details. This was just a temporary sandbox to show you how easy it is to make one.)
Click the admin interface URL to open it. Enter the username & password given to you. A moment later, you’ll see the Sitefinity (sandbox) Dashboard!
(The Sandbox always uses the “Quantum International” company name. You should always see that at top left after logging in.)
Things to Do in the Sandbox
So…what do you do first?
This is the point where a lot of people realize, “I have no idea what to do here!” Not to worry, there’s plenty to do! Here are a few things to get you started:
- Create a new Page – click Pages in the nav bar, and click the “Create a Page” button.
- Create a Blog Post/News Item – click Content in the nav bar, and click either “News” or “Blogs.”
- Upload images – Image libraries are under Content > Images.
- Upload files – Document libraries are under Content > Documents and Files. Upload any type of document you want! (It’ll get deleted with the sandbox after 30 days.)
- Edit a page (drag-drop) – There are sample pages in the sandbox you can edit, or the page you created.
- Add images to the page – look for the Image widget in the Page Editor dropdown list.
- Create a page template – click Design in the nav bar, and click “Page Templates.” You can edit the sample templates if you want, as well.
- Apply the page template to an existing page – this is a great way to troubleshoot page templates, believe it or not!
- View your pages on 2 other devices (one of which should be a phone)
For more detailed instructions on how to do these tasks, check these posts:
How to Use Sitefinity’s Content Editor for Website Updates
Sitefinity Templates: What is a Page Template?
How to Import Content from Word to Sitefinity (Without Issues)
Try out Sitefinity in a Sandbox for Yourself!
All Sitefinity sandboxes auto-delete after 30 days. So you don’t need to clean up any accidents. At the same time, I wouldn’t recommend uploading your company’s entire Intellectual Property into the sandbox! But a few Word docs or PDFs is fine.
Sandboxes are a great (not to mention free) way to try out all kinds of software. Sitefinity’s CMS sandbox gives everyone the chance to see how much capability it has, before you get the checkbook!
What would you like most to try out in a Sitefinity CMS sandbox?