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Is your Sitecore publishing slow? Are you running into issues publishing new content? Maybe it hangs on the Initializing screen, or the publish function fails completely.
Here’s an overview of the top 5 most common causes of Sitecore publishing issues.
5 culprits behind common Sitecore publishing issues
1. Poor training and documentation
The number one cause of publishing issues seems to be inadequate training, or no training and documentation at all, on how publishing works in Sitecore.
For example, Content Managers may not have been trained on how to publish all of the related items. In other cases, publishing restrictions may prevent you from publishing the item or one of its ancestors.
Additionally, Content Managers may not have been trained on which publishing option to select, and when. Here’s a hypothetical scenario: Editor 1 performs a republish on a large portion of the content tree (or maybe in conjunction with a site publish) and it takes a very long time to complete. Then Editor 2 and Editor 3 complain that they try to publish and get a message that publishing is queued. The correct thing to do in almost every case is use Smart Publish, which is much faster, and won't hold up publish operations for your other users.
Good training and documentation is vital to seamless publishing, so don’t let your Sitecore partner skimp or skip this very important step.
2. Poorly configured workflow
A poorly configured workflow can make it difficult to review content and move it to the final state so that it can be published—or even prevent it from making it to that state altogether.
The following are all indicators of a poorly configured workflow:
Approval steps that include users who log in infrequently
Lack of notifications telling users when content is ready for approval
No reduction in steps for users with more authority
Or, your workflow process may have been configured incorrectly altogether. For example, your partner may have set it up so that it only publishes the item being viewed, when in actuality a whole series of items make up a component, and all of those need to be published together.
An experienced and thoughtful Sitecore partner will take the time to understand your business, your process, and how you will be using Sitecore—and use that knowledge to configure an efficient and effective workflow.
3. Sitecore configuration issues
If you press Publish, and your content doesn’t appear, it could be due to an incorrectly-configured Sitecore instance. This could happen for a variety of reasons.
For example, if your content relies on search indexes, and the indexes are not properly updated, the content will not display. Or, if HTML caching is in use and the cache clearing mechanism is not properly configured, your content will not be refreshed after a publish.
Additionally, if your event queue was not properly configured, it can prevent your content delivery servers from being notified whenever you publish new content. As a result, Sitecore will fail to execute the appropriate tasks that need to be completed after publishing completes, and your new content will not appear.
Sitecore configuration issues can be a show stopper, so this should be one of the first places you look if you’re having problems with publishing.
4. Overcomplicated content structure
Many of the poorly-developed Sitecore solutions that we end up fixing at Engagency suffer from unnecessarily complicated content structure and presentation setup.
In some cases this is due to a lack of experience with Sitecore, or a lack of knowledge of Sitecore best practices. In others cases, it’s due to poor development practices. Sometimes, content may be attached to a non-existent placeholder or a placeholder on a component that has been removed.
In one case, a new client came to Engagency with a brand new Sitecore implementation that didn’t allow them to copy content from one section of their site, to another. When they tried to copy content from another section of the site, it wouldn’t display upon publishing. As you might imagine, this caused them a lot of confusion and headaches. Luckily, it was easy to find and fix the problem.
Just because your vendor is a Gold or Platinum Sitecore Partner or has multiple MVPs, doesn’t mean they follow Sitecore development best practices. If you want to figure out who the real experts are, consult Sitecore partner Leader Matrices and client reviews from B2B research firms like Clutch.co.
5. Incorrect publishing mechanism for your needs
Sitecore’s traditional publishing mechanism was built into the CMS itself and worked well for customers with low-volume content changes. However, if your implementation contains multiple sites or has a lot of content that changes frequently, publishing operations using that method can take a long time to complete because it is quite resource-intensive.
Sitecore developed the Next-Generation Publishing Service as an alternative for customers with high-volume content changes and geographically distributed publishing targets. This service became available starting with the 8.2 Initial Release, is implemented as a separate microservice, and can publish content over ten times as quickly as the traditional publishing service.
A good Sitecore partner will work with you to gauge your current and future publishing needs, and implement the correct publishing mechanism accordingly.
Fixing your Sitecore publishing issues
From poor training to poor development practices, any of the above publishing issues are symptomatic of a botched Sitecore implementation.
If you’re tired of dealing with these issues and you just want your Sitecore implementation to work as expected, it may be time to consider looking for a new Sitecore partner. At Engagency, we’ve fixed dozens of Sitecore implementations rife with publishing issues, bad code, and more. Please reach out to discuss how we can help you.