Cheap Sitefinity DX 14.1 Hosting Recommendation
Sitefinity DX 14.1 has been released. Now, with Sitefinity DX 14.1 you can personalize each individual piece of content and image to create a near endless number of customized experiences on a single page, easier and faster than ever before. Some organizations want to keep their software behind their firewall, but for those that want to leverage great cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, Sitefinity DX 14.1 makes it easier than ever.
Sitefinity is a content management system designed by the Telerik corporation. Because it was built with the singular purpose of being a CMS for eCommerce retailers, it features powerful retail-improvement tools that many other content management tools lack. While, according to W3Tech.com, Sitefinity is only used by 0.2% of known websites at present, the user-base it has developed is made up of la creme de la creme of international commerce.
What’s new in Sitefinity 14.1
.NET Core is officially supported and ready for production use
.NET Core is officially supported and ready for production use
Next Generation Cross-Platform Development overdelivers in terms of development speed, performance, ease of upgrades, and frontend scalability. Plus, it plays along with your IDE of choice.
New page editing and widget toolset
The new “What You See Is What You Get” page editor displays the page during the editing process in the same way as it will appear on the frontend of the website. The .NET Core Renderer provides a new way for creating page layouts and styles.
The WYSIWYG editor comes with a set of new .NET Core widgets for displaying content, images, and navigation.
Login and registration capabilities
Sitefinity .NET Core Renderer now has a full set of login and registration widgets, so that you can manage your website authentication. It also supports external identity providers.
.NET Core forms
With Sitefinity CMS .NET Core Forms you can create rich interactive forms directly in your browser using the .NET Core page editor.
You can utilize a wide array of form widgets, such as textbox, multiple choice, dropdown lists and rearrange and manage them to display default choices, implement limitations, instructional text, and so forth.
Customizable widget designers
Sitefinity CMS autogenerates multiple types of properties in the .NET Core widget designers. With their help developers deliver complex business requirements for widget configuration with no coding. For advanced marketing scenarios, widget designers also support full customization.
Page and widget-based personalization for the .NET Core pagesPersonalizing widgets, or, creating different versions of pages, is a way to present targeted content that reflects the visitor’s context and segment.
Develop with .NET Core
To help you create and extend widgets and layout files, we provide multiple samples and demos in a GitHub repository.
- Support for Digital Asset Management (DAM) integration with Cloudinary and Frontify
Support of server-side Blazor components
You can wrap Blazor components as Sitefinity CMS widgets.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) integration with Cloudinary and Frontify
The new integrations now available in Sitefinity DX enable seamless connection to Cloudinary and Frontify DAM systems. They allow you to select media items (images, documents, videos) using an integrated media picker from a DAM provider and incorporate them in Sitefinity content via the rich text editor (MVC content block, .NET Core content block, long text fields), related media fields, and .NET Core Image widget. You can connect to Cloudinary or Frontify by simply configuring one of them as a storage provider in Sitefinity. The media items are served directly from the DAM, with their metadata stored in Sitefinity. The images selected from the DAM work with the thumbnail profiles available in Sitefinity and support contextual properties such as alt text and margins.
Custom integrations with other DAM providers can be simplified by leveraging the newly added extension points.
Expanded search options
Scoring profiles for Azure Search Service
Boost search results by leveraging the Azure search scoring profiles. Use the Azure Portal to create and manage scoring profiles for your search indexes and then select the desired profile from the Search Box widget. Adding profiles allows you to deliver prioritized search results set for each profile. For instance, you can configure the search results with profiles to show newer or tagged content first.
Personalization for the Search widget
Set different properties to the search widget (scoring profile, scoring parameters, search index) for different user segments. Use personalization to reorder the search results for different segments of your audience.
Redesigned UI for creating search indexes
The user experience for creating search indexes has been significantly improved. Several new options are now available:
- Select all content types for indexing (default option)
- Easy way to distinguish dynamic content types via a breadcrumb displaying their hierarchy
- Index content from a specific set of sites, which you select
- In Advanced settings, you can specify the type of additional fields for indexing
Exclude libraries from search indexing results
You can exclude top-level libraries from being indexed and their content from being shown in search results.
Enables in-app user notifications. Notifications included out-of-the-box:
- Notification when a form entry has been submitted. The notification leads to the form responses (requires a subscription to the form)
- Workflow events (when a content item is sent for approval or rejected). Clicking on the notification takes you to the content item. (requires a subscription to the workflow cycle)
- Implementation of custom user notification (through custom code)
The system notifications are on by default but can be turned on or off by Sitefinity users.
Notifications are managed/deleted by a scheduled task that can be configured by Sitefinity administrators.
Concurrent Site Sync execution for content editors
Site Sync can now be configured for concurrent execution in addition to the already existing queue based approach. This option can be activated through SiteSync advanced settings.
Bootstrap 5 MVC resource package
All the goodies in Bootstrap 5 are now available to Sitefinity frontend developers. In addition, Bootstrap 5 resource package provides optimized RTL support and custom Sitefinity CSS. Bootstrap 4 will still be available in GitHub for download.
Additional robust Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF/XSRF) protection for login forms and Sitefinity forms
- Robust protection of out-of-the-box login form widgets
- Uses the double submit cookie method as recommended by OWASP
- The feature is turned on for new projects and disabled by default for upgraded projects, because previously customized templates need to be updated for this protection to work properly.
- Can be customized via code and utilized in custom widgets or even outside Sitefinity
Out-of-the-box integration with MOVEit for secure file upload
Progress.Sitefinity.MOVEit is an optional package that implements ready integration with MOVEit, the Managed File Transfer solution by Progress. This integration enables you to securely upload and store documents with sensitive information in MOVEit, making sure your organization is compliant with GDPR and PCI regulations. You can easily configure Sitefinity CMS so whenever users upload documents that contain sensitive data in Forms, the files are automatically transferred and stored in the MOVEit storage provider.
NativeChat connector enhancement
NativeChat FAQ chatbots
You can now send your FAQs created in Sitefinity, directly to NativeChat and train your bots, without the need to manually recreate and manage FAQs in both places. You can then add variations of your questions and answers in the NativeChat portal to improve the bot’s conversational responses. This integration is implemented using Sitefinity service hooks that allow automatic refresh of the bot FAQ content when it is published, unpublished, or deleted in Sitefinity.
NativeChat widget personalization
The NativeChat widget is now personalizable. This allows you to select a bot or different start of the conversation depending on the segment that the visitor belongs to.
Integration with Sitefinity Insight
Sitefinity reports the Sitefinity Insight context to NativeChat, which is later used to report user interactions with the bot (like starting a conversation, asking an FAQ, or a custom event) to Insight. You can also use information from Insight or other systems in NativeChat to personalize the conversation flow.
Corticon Business Rules Management Engine Connector
Progress Corticon Business Rules Management Engine Connector for Sitefinity CMS is a project in GitHub that showcases how forms enable users to connect their Sitefinity forms with a hosted Corticon decision service and leverage the powerful decision making capabilities of Corticon rules engine to build more interactive forms and get a quote based on form submission by their customers.
Sitefinity Design System Website
The website is targeted at Sitefinity clients , partners, and development agencies who want to know more about and understand the design and user experience concepts of Sitefinity Reinvented UI. Following the recommendations of the Design section of the website, it is easy to extend Sitefinity Reinvented UI and keep the same user experience. In the Components section, there is information about each visual component of Sitefinity Reinvented UI, its variations, and how it is combined with other components. Also, for each component variation, there is an example of how to use it via code – for example, from Sitefinity Component Framework or native HTML5. In the Utilities section, all utility CSS classes of Sitefinity Reinvented UI are listed, documented, and ready to use.
Tracking and personalization using Sitefinity Insight
Personalization by conversion or touchpoint
Two new segmentation criteria are available now in the Sitefinity Insight group – Conversion and Touchpoint. You can use any conversion or touchpoint from Sitefinity Insight, with additional conditions of the time frame in which the event occurred, as well as apply negative operation.
Redesigned stage selection process for lead scoring personalization
The user experience for selecting stages when adding a lead scoring characteristic to a personalization segment has been improved. Now you can choose a specific stage or a set of stages up to the end of the customer journey.
Client-side tracking for file downloads
File downloads are now tracked client-side, enabling Sitefinity CMS to support library storage providers different than the built-in database and file system.
Now, you can track interactions when a file is downloaded from cloud BLOB storage providers, such as Azure, Amazon (with or without CDN configured), or DAM-based providers like Cloudinary and Frontify.
Other enhancements and improvements
To enhance the user experience when the User Groups feature is enabled, when the user is assigned to more than one user group, the user group is automatically detected on the login page based on the provided credentials. No drop-down for selection of User Group is presented on the login screen anymore in such a scenario.
- Classic content UI
Farewell to the old UI. The New UI is now the only interface available for all Sitefinity CMS users (“the content management UI”). It is no longer possible to switch between the New and the Classic interface.
- Web Forms framework
The following feature set has been discontinued: Web Forms widgets for front-end development; Web Forms widget templates; Hybrid page templates; Responsive & Mobile design module (only used in relation to Web Forms).
For new projects on version 14.1, the listed features are not available.
For projects upgraded to version 14.1, the features will be available so that the projects are not broken upon upgrade, and you have more time to plan and execute a migration. However, w e are sunsetting these capabilities, and therefore we no longer invest in feature development or bug fixes.
Alternative options: .NET Core widgets, pages, and templates; MVC widgets, pages, and templates.
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How to Choose Cheap Sitefinity DX 14.1 Hosting Recommendation
Reliability and Speed of Access
Not only should the web host be reliable and fast, it should guarantee its uptime (the time when it is functional). Look for a minimum uptime of 99%. In fact, even 99% is actually too low — it really should be 99.5% or higher. The host should provide some sort of refund (eg prorated refund or discount) if it falls below that figure. Note though that guarantees are often hard to enforce from your end — especially if the host denies there was any downtime. However, without that guarantee, the web host will have little incentive to ensure that its servers are running all the time.
Data Transfer (Traffic/Bandwidth)
Data transfer (sometimes loosely referred to as “traffic” or “bandwidth”) is the amount of bytes transferred from your site to visitors when they browse your site.
Don’t believe any commercial web host that advertises “unlimited bandwidth”. The host has to pay for the bandwidth, and if you consume a lot of it, they will not silently bear your costs. Many high bandwidth websites have found this out the hard way when they suddenly receive an exorbitant bill for having “exceeded” the “unlimited bandwidth”. Always look for details on how much traffic the package allows. I personally always stay clear of any host that advertises “unlimited transfer”, even if the exact amount is specified somewhere else (sometimes buried in their policy statements). Usually you will find that they redefine “unlimited” to be limited in some way.
In addition, while bandwidth provided is something you should always check, do not be unduly swayed by promises of incredibly huge amounts of bandwidth. Chances are that your website will never be able to use that amount because it will hit other limits, namely resource limits.
To give you a rough idea of the typical traffic requirements of a website, most new sites that don’t provide video or music on their site use less than 3 GB of bandwidth per month. Your traffic requirements will grow over time, as your site becomes more well-known, so you will need to also check their policy when you exceed your data transfer limit: is there a published charge per GB over the allowed bandwidth? Is the charge made according to actual usage or are you expected to pre-pay for a potential overage? It is better not to go for hosts that expect you to prepay for overages, since it is very hard to forsee when your site will exceed its bandwidth and by how much.
For the same reason as bandwidth, watch out also for those “unlimited disk space” schemes. Many new sites (that don’t host videos or music) need less than 20 MB of web space, so even if you are provided with a host that tempts you with 100 GB (or “unlimited space”), be aware that you are unlikely to use that space, so don’t let the 100 GB space be too big a factor in your consideration when comparing with other web hosts. The hosting company is also aware of that, which is why they feel free to offer you that as a means of enticing you to host there.
Does its technical support function 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (often abbreviated 24/7), all year around? Note that I will not accept a host which does not have staff working on weekends or public holidays. You will be surprised at how often things go wrong at the most inconvenient of times. Incidentally, just because a host advertises that it has 24/7 support does not necessarily mean that it really has that kind of support. Test them out by emailing at midnight and on Saturday nights, Sunday mornings, etc. Check out how long they take to respond. Besides speed of responses, check to see if they are technically competent. You wouldn’t want to sign up with a host that is run by a bunch of salesmen who only know how to sell and not fix problems.
Email, Autoresponders, POP3, Mail Forwarding
If you have your own site, you will probably want to have email addresses at your own domain, like [email protected], etc. Does the host allow you to set up whatever email addresses you want on your domain, so that mail can be forwarded to your current email address, or placed into a mail box on your web hosting account itself? Can you set an email address to automatically reply to the sender with a preset message (called an autoresponder)? Can you retrieve your mail with your email software?
This is called various names by different hosts, but essentially, they all allow you to manage different aspects of your web account yourself. Typically, and at the very minimum, it should allow you to do things like add, delete, and manage your email addresses, and change passwords for your account. I will not sign up with a host where I have to go through their technical support each time I want to change a password or add/delete an email account. Such tasks are common maintenance chores that every webmaster performs time and time again, and it would be a great hassle if you had to wait for their technical support to make the changes for you.
Web Server and Operating System
Is the type of operating system and server important?
In general, most people will want to sign up for a web host offering a Unix-based system (like Linux, FreeBSD or OpenBSD) and running the Apache web server. Most web-based software assume your website is running on such a system, and you will usually experience fewer compatibility issues with it. There are also a lot of guides available on the Internet on configuring such systems, so finding help when you need it is easier as well.
In my opinion, the only time when you will want to use a Windows server is if you’re running Windows-specific programs, like ASP scripts. But even then, you’ll probably be better off looking for a PHP-equivalent, and using a Unix-based system.
I was actually hesitant to list this, but I guess it’s futile not to. However, I would caution that while price is always a factor, you should realise (“realize” in US English) that you often get what you pay for, although it’s not necessarily true that the most expensive hosts are the best.
Monthly/Quarterly/Annual Payment Plans
Most web hosts allow you to select an annual payment plan that gives you a cheaper rate than if you were to pay monthly. My current personal preference is to pay monthly with all new web hosts until I’m assured of their reliability and honesty. Paying monthly allows me to switch web hosts quickly when I find that the current host does not meet my requirements: this way, I’m not tied down to a bad web host because I have prepaid for an entire year. I do this even if the new web host guarantees that they will refund the balance if I’m dissatisfied, since at the point I sign up, I have no assurance that they will honour their guarantee. Later (usually after a couple of years), when I’m satisfied with the host, I may change payment plans to the discounted annual plans.
Not all hosting companies own or lease their own web servers. Some of them are actually resellers for some other hosting company. The disadvantage of using a reseller is the possibility that you are dealing with people who don’t know much about the system they are selling and who take longer to help you (they have to transmit your technical support request to the actual hosting company for it to be acted upon). However, this also depends on both the reseller and the underlying hosting company. It is thus wise not to rule out all resellers; there are a number of reliable and fast ones who are actually quite good and cheap. In fact, a number of resellers sell the same packages cheaper than their original hosting company. If you find out that a particular company is a reseller, you will need to investigate both the reseller and the real hosting company.
If you don’t stay in the USA, you have the option of hosting your site with some local provider. The advantage here is the ease of dealing with them (they are after all easily accessible by phone call or a visit), your familiarity with the local laws and easy recourse to those laws should it be necessary. It should be your choice if your target audience is local (eg a local fast food delivery service). On the other hand, hosting it in USA has the advantage of faster access for what is probably the largest number of your overseas visitors (particularly if you have an English-speaking audience). You also have a large number of hosting companies to choose from, and as a result, cheaper prices too.