MVC modes

Sitefinity CMS supports three MVC modes. The mode used depends on your development process as well as the functionality you want to implement. The following sections describe each mode.

Classic (bypass the Sitefinity CMS engine and directly use native controllers)

Classic mode is functionally equivalent to ASP.NET MVC. You can take regular controllers that you implemented in a non-Sitefinity CMS ASP.NET MVC project, include them in the Sitefinity CMS project, and register routes that use them. This mode lets you reuse a lot of legacy code that you may want to move from a regular application to a Sitefinity CMS application. In this mode, you do not work with Sitefinity CMS pages at all.

Working in Classic MVC mode is suitable when you need to implement a custom scenario with a very particular and specific functionality and behavior. For example, your scenario requires to implement a number of single-page-application pages that are constructed with SPA framework, such as Angular. 

Another example is when you are porting an existing MVC app into Sitefinity CMS, and want precise control over your URLs, you may want to use the Classic MVC mode.

You can read a detailed description of how you can use the classic mode in For developers: Classic MVC mode.

Pure (multiple controllers per page, page is MVC)

The pure mode lets you use MVC controllers and views as widgets on a Sitefinity CMS page. There is one major functional difference between pure and classic modes – you can use multiple controllers on the same page. Each controller becomes a widget on the page and is responsible for rendering a portion of it. You cannot use WebForms widgets on such a page.

An example of a scenario when you use Pure MVC mode is in case you need clear markup, a lot of client code and are willing to sacrifice the ViewState and postback model.

You can read a detailed description of how you can use Pure mode in For developers: Pure MVC mode.

Hybrid (Mix MVC and WebForms on the same page)

The Hybrid MVC mode goes even further than Pure MVC mode and lets you mix WebForms and MVC widgets on the same page. It has to keep all WebForms-related markup to enable ViewState, but it can also render the output of MVC controllers. There is one limitation – in your MVC controllers, you cannot use the regular BeginForm helper but should use the Sitefinity CMS helper instead. The reason is that the WebForms model can only allow a single form on the page.

You can read a detailed description of how you can use Hybrid MVC mode in For developers: Hybrid MVC mode.

Mode comparison table





Uses a Sitefinity page




Uses ViewState (clean markup)




Controllers per page




Sitefinity CMS Forums widgets No No Yes
Sitefinity CMS Ecommerce widgets No No Yes

Form helper


@Html.BeginForm and @Html.BeginFormSitefinity

RECOMMENDATION: We recommend that you use the @Html.BeginFormSitefinity helper since it ensures that you can use your widget on both hybrid and pure pages.



Route registration





Increase your Sitefinity skills by signing up for our free trainings. Get Sitefinity-certified at Progress Education Community to boost your credentials.

Get started with Integration Hub | Sitefinity Cloud | Sitefinity SaaS

This free lesson teaches administrators, marketers, and other business professionals how to use the Integration hub service to create automated workflows between Sitefinity and other business systems.

Web Security for Sitefinity Administrators

This free lesson teaches administrators the basics about protecting yor Sitefinity instance and its sites from external threats. Configure HTTPS, SSL, allow lists for trusted sites, and cookie security, among others.

Foundations of Sitefinity ASP.NET Core Development

The free on-demand video course teaches developers how to use Sitefinity .NET Core and leverage its decoupled architecture and new way of coding against the platform.

Was this article helpful?