Sitecore Interview Questions
Interested in becoming a Sitecore developer? That's exactly why you've come to the right place. Globally, Sitecore is the most popular .NET Content Management System (CMS), used by organizations of all sizes to create seamless, personalized digital experiences. Sitecore is continually evolving with new tools for its users.
Below you will find a collection of the top 30+ Sitecore interview questions and answers that companies often ask prospective candidates.
To begin, let's understand what Sitecore is all about...
What is Sitecore?
As one of the most widely used digital experience platforms (DXPs), Sitecore is a multi-tenant architecture built on ASP.NET for creating and managing compelling enterprise web applications. As a result, Sitecore offers seamless, personalized digital experiences for organizations around the world. With Sitecore's powerful CMS (Content Management System), web content editors and marketers handle all aspects of a website, including social media integration, blog posting, advanced personalization, etc. In addition, it's scalable, flexible, and can be easily integrated into third-party systems, giving users a very dynamic experience.
Since its launch in 2001, Sitecore has been using the .NET platform from the very beginning and has grown in popularity over the years. Not only does Sitecore help you manage your brand's digital content, but it also helps you test, optimize, personalize, and automate it. Additionally, Sitecore connects, gathers, and analyzes data pertaining to all of your customer’s interactions, both online and offline, enabling your team to gain insight into customer data.
Sitecore Interview Questions for Freshers
1. What are the essential features of Sitecore?
In order to help you better understand the benefits of Sitecore, here are some of the platform key features:
- Personalized Customer Data: Everything about customers, from their interactions to behaviours to data, is tracked and stored in order to provide insights to help the team deepen engagement and increase revenue.
- Sitecore Experience Database (xDB): By integrating all of your customer experience data (including data from CRM and non-Sitecore-based systems), the Sitecore xDB creates a single store for the entire experience. Finally, you can see the entire journey of every individual customer all in one place (single repository).
- Sitecore Experience Profile (xP): When xDB collects customer experience data, Sitecore XP creates an individual profile of each customer. The information in these profiles will help you to better understand your customers, such as what products they buy, what they click on, and how long they spend on your website.
- Multi-language and Multi-Site Content Support: Expanding globally brings many challenges, but delivering a consistent brand experience to new customers and employees is among the most crucial. Sitecore provides multilingual support to help you reduce your time-to-market and stay competitive, wherever you are.
- Marketing automation: Marketers can easily build automation campaigns that deliver real-time, automated responses in response to the actions visitors take on a site. For example, when a customer completes a purchase, an automated response email expressing appreciation for the purchase is sent.
- Sitecore Federated Experience Manager (FXM): Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to switch all your websites to Sitecore? Sitecore FXM lets you extend certain Sitecore features to non-Sitecore sites, ensuring that your customers have a seamless, positive experience across all of your websites (and ensuring accurate customer data is captured).
2. Explain the term “item” in Sitecore.
In Sitecore, an item represents any kind of information that makes up a webpage, including text, layouts, media files, and so on. Every item has a name, a unique ID (Identity), and a template defining the fields the item contains. Additionally, items may have multiple language versions. To edit, create, and insert items, you can use either the Content Editor (for managing and editing items on the website) or the Experience Editor (for editing items visible on the web page). Before you can edit an item in the Content Editor or Experience Editor, it must be in the editing state. If you want to ensure that no other content authors work on the same item simultaneously, you can lock the item before you begin.
3. What do you mean by Content Editor?
All of the content on your website can be managed and edited using the Content Editor (CE). User roles, local security settings, and any customizations on a Sitecore installation can influence the appearance and functionality of the Content Editor. CE user interface generally consists of three main sections or areas that can be customized according to your preferences. These are
- Ribbon: The area where you can access all the features of the Content Editor.
- Content Tree: An area in which all items are arranged and organized. All items within your Sitecore installation are displayed in the Content Tree.
- Content Area: This is where you can edit or make changes to your items.
4. The sea watchtower picture appears at Sitecore sign in/log in. What does it mean?
The sea watchtower picture shows up because you are logged into the Desktop (the developer tool) rather than the Content Editor (the editor tool). Click the button labelled "Sitecore" in the lower/bottom left corner of the screen and click "Log Off". This will take you back to the Sitecore login screen. You can now login as usual: click the "Content Editor" button and enter your login information. Then click the "Login" button.
5. State the difference between WordPress and Sitecore.
WordPress and Sitecore are popular content management systems (CMS), but each has unique features/functionalities that are better suited to different types of businesses.
WordPress vs Sitecore:
|WordPress offers thousands of plugins, themes, and customizations to choose from, which makes it an unmatched platform for flexibility.||In terms of flexibility, Sitecore is more rigid than other CMS platforms.|
|WordPress doesn't have great security features built-in.||This CMS platform comes with advanced security features by default. It is well-known that top security-sensitive organizations, such as those in banking, finance, government, etc., are proof of this.|
|As of right now, WordPress does not include great features for scalability. However, by using third-party integrations and plugins, you have almost limitless options for scalability on your WordPress website.||Sitecore has a reputation for handling massive traffic spikes for top websites without any glitches, so it's higher in terms of scalability.|
|This is an open-source platform.||A license is required to use Sitecore. This means that Sitecore is closed-source.|
|WordPress does not offer much marketing support. For basic marketing functions, it uses third-party tools, and some significant integrations will require development support.||For out-of-the-box solutions, Sitecore comes with an Experience Accelerator. Custom solutions, however, require custom development. You might consider Sitecore if your business needs a custom solution, and you are patient enough to wait for it to be built.|
|With cloud-based hosting and ready-to-use themes, WordPress has become easy to use and quick to get up and running. However, its ready-to-use themes are typically simple, generic, and not designed for marketing purposes.||Sitecore is well-equipped to handle various digital marketing needs. It has superior marketing features including content personalization which improves UX and influences conversions. Other relevant marketing tools help with testing, eCommerce, and email marketing.|
6. List the databases associated with Sitecore.
Sitecore CMS utilizes three SQL Server databases listed below:
- Core: This database contains all Sitecore settings, such as a large configuration file for the Sitecore UI. When customizing Sitecore, such as when adding applications to the Sitecore desktop, it can be used.
- Master: All versions of the content are stored in this database. Here, business users edit/modify the content.
- Web: Here you can find the most recent or latest version of published content that has reached the final stages of its workflow.
7. What do you mean by templates and write different types of templates in Sitecore?
Templates essentially provide a schema for content, and schema gives definition and structure to content. Generally, templates are items that provide structure and behaviour for other items. The following types of templates are available in Sitecore for different purposes:
- Data Templates: These are used to specify how data should be entered. Specifically, they determine which field sections, field types, and field names should be included in each item.
- Branch Templates: This allows you to create a set of items instead of just one. Each branch template contains a branch template definition item, which can consist of a single item, a hierarchy of items, or multiple hierarchies of items.
- Command Template: You can insert items through logic rather than by using a predefined structure. The data template and branch template use predefined structures, but command templates refer to Sitecore UI commands that invoke wizards or logic to create new items.
8. State difference between Sitecore and Drupal.
Sitecore and Drupal are incredibly powerful content management systems (CMS), but each has unique features/functionalities that are better suited to different types of businesses.
Drupal vs Sitecore:
|This is an open-source platform and free to use.||This is a closed-source platform and a license is required to use it.|
|Some of the world's largest and most complex websites are powered by Drupal, and the platform is an excellent choice for organizations looking for seamless integration.||For organizations that are serious about journey orchestration, marketing, and content personalization, this platform is ideal.|
|It offers better scalability and performance. A number of modules are included to assist with database optimization, caching optimization, and handling errors on the website.||Performance and scalability are a challenge for Sitecore, but the company has managed to overcome them in recent large-scale deployments.|
|Using Drupal as a content management system offers better features out-of-the-box, such as support for WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications).||It offers relatively fewer features of web accessibility as compared to Drupal.|
9. Explain Helix and Habitat.
- Sitecore Helix: It is a set of guidelines and recommendations that govern the development of Sitecore websites. Essentially, Helix describes the overall architecture of your Sitecore solution and explains design principles that are versatile and adaptable to any Sitecore project. It mainly focuses on reducing dependencies between software modules, how they should be structured, and how individual sites can use them. Helix is a set of recommendations meant to make building, testing, extending, and maintaining a Sitecore project as easy as possible.
- Habitat: This is a working Sitecore project built on the Sitecore Experience Platform utilizing Helix design principles and recommendations. The project serves as an example and shows how Helix's principles are applied, and allows developers to experience a project that is aligned with these principles. In addition, it saves the developer from having to create modules from scratch, as well as provides an excellent basis for developing additional modules and extending existing ones.
10. State difference between AEM (Adobe Experience Manager) and Sitecore.
AEM (Adobe Experience Manager) and Sitecore are two of the most popular enterprise-level CMS (Content management systems). Below are some key differences between Sitecore and AEM that will help you determine which is best for your business.
AEM vs Sitecore:
|With 9 different product offerings, AEM has separated several marketing features like analytics and campaigns into separate "products" for purchase. This is great for those who just need one feature, for example, Adobe Analytics, but if you want the full marketing package from Adobe, you have to buy those features separately rather than as part of one package.||There are four different products offered by Sitecore under the "Sitecore Experience Cloud". Only offering four platforms is wonderful because it packages up features so that they do not need to be acquired separately, and it also saves time and resources in configuring all the platforms to work together.|
|With Adobe having acquired a number of different systems, Adobe Experience Cloud is comprised of different languages and databases. From a development standpoint, this is challenging since developers are likely to encounter issues while trying to build across multiple platforms and languages. Development for Adobe can therefore be more time consuming, costly, and complex.||All of Sitecore's products are built on top of the ASP.NET framework. It is easier, flexible, and more cost-effective to develop on Sitecore, and having .NET expertise is sufficient to develop across all platforms.|
|Adobe's community and partner network are significantly less developed than Sitecore's and do not actively encourage community participation.||As a result of its active and large partner network, Sitecore users are rewarded for their contributions to the Sitecore community through incentives and discounts.|
11. Explain standard values in Sitecore.
Data template fields have default values known as Standard Values. In Sitecore, a standard value is a way to specify a default value for a field, so that whenever items are created, it is possible to specify a field value that must be used by default. The standard values associated with each data template are stored in a child item of the data template definition item called "Standard Values". Whenever the value of a field for an item is NULL, standard values are used.
As you can see in the above image, the "Sample item" data template basically contains the "Data" data template section definition item. The standard value of the "Sample" data template is stored as a child of the "Data" data template definition item named "_Standard Values."
12. Explain how to implement Sitecore.
Sitecore CMS is based on .NET technology. Comparatively, Sitecore is better than a large number of other .NET-based platforms, such as OpenText or Sharepoint. Like any software implementation, Sitecore implementation can also be time-consuming and expensive. However, it doesn't have to be complex. The following are some key points as part of the implementation process.
- Identify Implementation Type: A CMS implementation may involve a complete redesign or maybe more of a re-platforming. It is beneficial to meet with your stakeholders before implementing to determine what is best for your business.
- Prepare Implementation Document: As every Sitecore implementation is unique, you should create an architecture document that outlines your requirements and provides stakeholders with an overview of the project. This will prevent any unpleasant surprises in the future.
- Set up a timeline: If you want your Sitecore implementation to succeed, you need to set a timeline. This will give you a rough estimate of how long the project will take and will also help you plan for any downtime that may occur.
- Outline Expectations: Together with a timeline, you can outline what to expect during the implementation process. Using a CMS like Sitecore won't instantly solve all of your business's problems and it also doesn't mean you can use all of its features. The most valuable thing you can do when you start is to know what to expect and what limitations you might face.
- Be aware of Costs: Costs can be high when implementing Sitecore. It is essential that you have a clear understanding of the project costs as well as the features and functions that are most important to your business.
- Implementation Process: Finally, your implementation partner will walk you through the entire implementation process. In addition to the timeline and costs, any additional resources and personnel required will also be considered. In addition, it will outline the steps that will be taken by teams working together and which project management style will be used to implement the changes, either waterfall or agile, or any other.
13. Explain what you mean by Solr in Sitecore.
In essence, Sitecore Solr is primarily an indexing technology. Sitecore basically offers two search engines, Lucene and Solr, that can be used to search Sitecore's content databases as well as the operational databases used to gather analytics data, test data, and more. Solr can also be used for the following reasons:
- Solr performs better when indexing large quantities of items (50,000 and above).
- Solr has more robust capabilities. Solr is recommended if the search is the primary interface for your site.
14. What is SXA (Sitecore Experience Accelerator)?
The Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA) is a tool that enables web development teams to develop websites faster and reuse components, templates, and layouts across multiple sites. SXA basically separates structure and design, which enables frontend/backend developers, content authors, and creative designers to work simultaneously, and you can deploy and maintain multiple sites efficiently and cost-effectively. After the user experience plan has been developed, everyone can get started on the platform. As an example: while the front-end developer is working on the theme, the content author enters content into the wireframe environment. Meanwhile, the developer sets up the data templates.
15. How to add SXA into Sitecore?
First, you need to deploy the Sitecore Experience Platform on your on-premises content management system before installing the Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA). You can then go to the Sitecore Downloads page and download the SXA package that corresponds with the version of the Sitecore Experience Platform you are using.
Sitecore Interview Questions for Experienced
1. What do you mean by tokens? List types of tokens supported by Sitecore.
A token is simply a way to assign values dynamically when creating an item. Some strings in Sitecore begin with the $ symbol (such as $name), mainly in standard values (_Standard Values) in templates. If we create an item using the same template, a particular field will be replaced with a readable name (i.e. item name). The magic in this scene comes from the $name, usually referred to as Tokens in Sitecore. In a similar vein, Sitecore offers many built-in tokens as follows:
- $name: The name of the newly created item/
- $id: The new item's ID.
- $parentid: The ID of the new item's parent.
- $parentname: The name of the new item's parent.
- $date: Current date in yyyyMMdd format.
- $time: Current time in HHmmss format.
- $now: Current date and time in yyyyMMddTHHmmss format.
2. Why XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) is considered better than C# in Sitecore?
XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) has an advantage over other programming languages in that you can customize or reuse different structures or pages for source or other documents. This will require a rule-based processing model, which most people dislike due to its obvious complexity upon first use. At first, it might seem daunting, but it is a wise investment. We tend to have fewer performance problems with XSLT until we use wrong querying, such as an XPath query. If a website appears to experience performance issues, it may be for another reason.
4. Explain the meaning of Pipeline in Sitecore.
In Sitecore, a pipeline is a set of actions that perform a specific task in sequence. Processes in Sitecore are typically defined or considered as pipelines. Developers can modify pipelines to alter, add, or remove functionality from Sitecore.
5. What do you mean by Processor?
Each pipeline comprises one or more steps, also known as processors. There is a method named Process() for each processor in a pipeline. Process() method takes a single argument and returns a void. Processors can abort pipelines, preventing Sitecore from triggering further processors.
6. How many processors are under the pipeline?
The Sitecore pipeline has 19 processors by default, however, this can change depending on what modules you have installed in Sitecore. If you install Sitecore DMS (Digital Marketing Systems), for example, you will see 21 processors under the <httpRequestBegin> pipeline.
7. Write different types of publishing modes in Sitecore?
The three modes of publishing a website are as follows:
- Incremental Publish: It only publishes items currently present in the publishing queue. Modifying or changing an item automatically adds it to the publishing queue. This method of publishing is faster since Sitecore does not utilize resources to compare different versions of items in the publishing queue before publishing them.
- Smart Publish: In this publication, all items that have changed since the last publication are published. A Smart publish compares each item in the master database with its equivalent item in the target database, and if there have been any changes, the item gets published. This involves comparing all items in the database, which is a time-consuming process for publishing an entire website, particularly if there are many items in the content tree.
- Republish: Everything is published there. Every item in the target database is overwritten by the equivalent item in the Master database, even if the item has not changed. By republishing, all obsolete versions are deleted from the target database. It can be used to bring an entirely new web database online, restore a backup of the master database, and add new content languages, publishing targets, and other system elements to the website.
8. Explain how you will add a new site to Sitecore.
Consider a new site whose name will be 'local.sitecore92.com'. Configuring this site to Sitecore requires the following steps:
- Step1: Select an existing item in the content tree (or create one from scratch).
- Step2: Add your site name to Sitecore Instance and it can be done in the following two ways:
Add the <site> element under the <sites> section of the sitecore.config file.
Add the <site> element under the <sites> section of the SiteDefintion.config file.
Adding a new site to the config file is only the first step. To access the newly added site, there are two other steps that need to be completed outside of Sitecore.
- Step3: Add the site name to the IIS binding.
- Step4: Add the site name to the host's file of your server.
You can now access your newly added Sitecore website after completing these three steps.
9. What do you mean by the media library in Sitecore?
All media content hosted on Sitecore can be managed using the Media Library. The Media Library let you store and upload images (jpg, gif, png), non-HTML files (PDF, DOC, PPT), videos, and audio files which can be accessed by the Content Editor later on. All your media items can be managed from the Media Library, such as images that visitors can download or can be embedded on your website.
- In addition, all media files can be kept in a single location and arranged in a folder structure like a Content tree.
- Media items may be found quickly by using the Sitecore search engine or by navigating the content tree.
10. Write down the steps to add a new command in Sitecore.
The steps to add a new command in Sitecore are as follows:
- Create a class that inherits from the Sitecore.Shell.Framework.Commands.Command class
- Either add the command to the /App_Config/Commands.config file or create a patch file in /App_Config/Include.
- Add/Include your command definition in the core database.
11. Explain different types of rendering in Sitecore.
In Sitecore, renderings are used to display or render a page or part of a page. Some of the renderings in Sitecore are as follows:
- View Rendering: This type of rendering is used in components that involve little logic and don't have database transactions or MVC controllers. This should be used for rendering item content that doesn't require substantial business logic or presentation logic.
- Controller Rendering: With this type of rendering, you supply the model, controller, and view. This should be used for rendering item content that requires significant business logic or presentation logic and relies heavily on external data.
12. What is Versioning in Sitecore?
In Sitecore, the versioning system allows creating multiple languages or number versions of any item. The Content Editor or Experience Editor allows you to create new versions of any item in Sitecore, and you can create as many versions as you want. There are two types of versions:
- Numbered versions: It offers versions in the same languages of an item. As an example, you can make a different version of your products page that can be used during special promotions. You can also create a new version of an image for the promotion, and then after the promotion, you can change it back to the original version.
- Language versions: It offers versions in the different languages of an item. For example, you can add an English version of the item in French. To display alternative text in both languages, you should also include additional versions of the item's images.
13. What are the steps to disable analytics in Sitecore?
Analytics can be disabled in Sitecore by changing a couple of things in Configurations as follows:
Step 1: Disable analytics
Go to /App_Config/Include/Sitecore.Analytics.config and set Analytics.Enabled to false:
<setting name=”Analytics.Enabled” value=”false” />
Step 2: Comment out connection strings related to analytics:
Go to /App_Config/ConnectionStrings.config and comment out the following connection strings:
<add name=”analytics” connectionString=”mongodb://localhost/analytics” /> <add name=”tracking.live” connectionString=”mongodb://localhost/tracking_live” /> <add name=”tracking.history” connectionString=”mongodb://localhost/tracking_history” /> <add name=”tracking.contact” connectionString=”mongodb://localhost/tracking_contact” /> <add name=”reporting” connectionString=”user id=user;password=password;Data Source=(server);Database=Sitecore_Analytics” />
14. Can you explain what a CMS (Content Management System) is in Sitecore?
The Sitecore CMS (Content Management System) is a platform that allows you to create, publish, and manage content for your website. The CMS allows you to create, manage, and modify digital content with ease, thus improving your customers' digital experience. A CMS is a tool for collaborating on the creation, editing, and publishing of digital content, such as web pages and blogs.
15. What do you mean by CM (Content Management) and CD (Content Delivery)?
- Content Management: CM is the "world of content editing" in Sitecore. The feature is only available to content editors so that they can add, edit, and update content on their websites. Editors can access the Sitecore dashboard via the Sitecore Experience Platform. This dashboard contains several options depending on the editor's role. It is ultimately the "content editor" that would be accessed to manage the changes to content as shown below:
Content Delivery: It determines which content to serve and renders output in the appropriate format for each channel, thus driving the experience for visitors across all channels. Several content delivery servers can be configured for increased scalability and better performance.
Once a content editor has finalized and processed their piece of content, making it "live" is the next step. For this process, they have the option of "publishing" the content. Consequently, behind the scenes, that piece of content is moved from the "master" database to the "web" database and once it appears in the web database, it becomes live and visible to everyone. Content delivery servers exclusively connect to the "web" database for content, they do not access the "master" database.
16. Compare these Content Management Systems: Sitecore, Umbraco and EPiServer.
- Umbraco: Umbraco is a free and open-source CMS solution, making it perfect for small and medium businesses that can't afford dedicated IT departments and who need a website very quickly. Since its inception in 2000, Umbraco has undergone significant changes and enhancements. However, it has yet to become an all-in-one solution. It remains a simple, but well-constructed, content management solution.
- Sitecore: Sitecore is a powerful enterprise-level web content management system that comes at an enterprise price tag. It is highly extensible, offers lots of community and developer support, and is very developer-friendly. This CMS is highly customizable, highly extensible, with a clever caching system, powerful search capabilities, and a powerful page editor.
- Episerver: Optimizely (rebranded from Episerver in 2021) is a world-class CMS renowned for its innovative approach to using content, experimentation, and new technologies to create fantastic digital experiences. Using EPiServer is easy and friendly for developers and users. There are a number of features available out of the box, along with an easy-to-use UI and page editor, good drag-and-drop functionality, and ease of customization.
Sitecore is a highly powerful content management system and it is highly used by companies all over the world. But the question that pops up in our minds is how to crack the Sitecore interview process. Don't worry, we can help you improve your Sitecore skills in a systematic manner and pass the interview with flying colours.
Here at InterviewBit, we have categorised the recently asked Sitecore Interview Questions into the basic and advanced levels, which will help you prepare for the interview successfully, and ultimately land your dream job with a prestigious company. The answers to these questions are explained in a way that is simple and easy to understand.
Ready to nail your Sitecore interview now?
Sitecore MCQ Questions
CMS stands for ___.
Which of the following is a feature of Sitecore?
Which of the following is not a type of publishing mode in Sitecore?
Which of the following is not a type of template in Sitecore?
What are the types of databases associated with Sitecore?
Which of the following is not an area of CE interface?
Which type of publishing mode published all items that changed since the previous publication?
What is the default number of processors in the pipeline?
Does Sitecore offer which of the following built-in tokens?