When you use the SiteSync module to promote content form one environment to another, SiteSync takes care of creating the items on the destination environment with the same ID that they have on the source environment. However, if you have enabled user input on your website frontend, for example by using Forums or Forms modules, new content items will be created in parallel on the destination environment. Each of these items will have a new unique ID assigned. There is a risk that some of these user-generated items end up having the same ID as other content items which have been generated on the source environment. When promoting content via SiteSync, if an item with the same ID already exists in the destination environment database this will cause conflicts and unexpected behavior.
To address this risk SiteSync introduces the concept of a Site key, which is a number between 0 and 100. The site key participates in the Sitefinity CMS incremental GUID generation algorithm, ensuring that any GUID generated with one site key is different from any GUID generated with any other key. Thus, when you configure different Site key on each environment, items created on your staging environment have IDs that are guaranteed to be different from the IDs of the items created in parallel on your production environment. This mechanism guarantees no ID clashes during synchronization.
By default, the source environment does not need to have a Site key explicitly configured (it defaults to 0), unless it serves as both source and destination (for example a Staging environment in a setup like Content authoring -> Staging -> Production). You must configure a Site for any of the environments that serve as destination for content promotion via SiteSync. The Site key of the next destination environment must always be incremental to the one configured on the previous destination environment. For example, if you have Content authoring -> Staging -> production, and you have configured Staging to have a Site key value 1, the value on Production must be 2.
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