Site shield: View unpublished websites

You can use the Site shield feature to protect a website that is under development from unauthorized access, but to allow users without backend permissions to view it while it is been developed. For example, when stakeholders want to evaluate the progress of a website, but they do not have backend permissions. 

PREREQUISITES: To use Site shield, make sure the following prerequisites are valid:
  • By default, Site shield module is deactivated. To use it, navigate to Administration » Modules & Services and install the Protection shield module.
  • You must have Multisite license and you must have configured your system to send emails. For more information, see Notification service: Send emails

Activate and setup the Site shield 

To activate the Site shield and allow certain users to view the site behind the shield, perform the following: 

  1. Navigate to Sitefinity CMS backend and use the site selector in the upper-left corner to select the site where you want to activate the Site shield. 
  2. Navigate to Administration » Site Shield
  3. Click Activate for this site
    The shield is activated on the site. You can deactivate it, by clicking Deactivate for this site
  4. Click Invite users
    A dialog box appears where you enter the email addresses of the users whom you want allow to browse the website under development.
  5. Enter one email per line or separate them by comma, semicolon, or space.
    The users will receive email invitations with a link to the website that contains a unique access token. 
  6. You can set expiration date and time for the access that you have given. 
    To do this, select Revoke access for users above on… and enter the date when the access link to the website will expire for all users in the list. 
  7. Click Send invitation
    The system sends each user an email with a link to the website that contains a unique access key. 

Browse the website 

To browse the website, follow the link that you received by email. 
The link contains an access token in the form of yoursite.com?accessToken=***. When you open the link in a browser, a cookie is added to the browser. You can continue to browse the website without the token. If you want to change the browser, you have to use the link with the token again. 

Manage users that have access to the website 

After you have granted access to users, a list of all users that have access appears on the Site shield page. 

User information 

The list displays the following information: 

  • The email of the user 
  • Whether the user is allowed or denied access to the website or whether the invitation was not successfully sent 
  • The number of devices that the user has used to access the website 

Available actions 

Using the Actions menu of each user, can perform the following: 

  • If the invitation was not successfully sent to the user, you can resend it. 
  • You can block a user that has been previously granted access. 
  • You can unblock a users that has been previously blocked. 
  • You can remove a user from the list.
    This way you deny access. 

Select a notification profile for sending emails

The Sitefinity CMS Site shield module sends email invitations to users with a link to the website that contains a unique access token. This way users can preview unpublished websites.

By default, if you have configured the Sitefinity CMS email settings, the Site shield module will send notifications using the default notification profile. For more information about configuring Sitefinity CMS email settings, see Administration: Configure email settings.

NOTE: If you have created your website with Sitefinity CMS version 11.2 or older, the Site shield module in these versions used the legacy system SMTP settings. In Sitefinity CMS versions 12.0 and later all system modules use Notification service instead. To preserve working email functionality, after upgrading to Sitefinity CMS version 12.0 or later, a dedicated Notifications profile, named SystemConfigSmtpSettingsMigrated has been automatically created for you. The profile uses the same values as the legacy system SMTP settings and is configured by default for all modules, that were using the system SMTP settings in older versions.

If you want to explicitly specify a notification profile for the Site shield module, follow these steps:

  1. In the main menu, click Administration » Settings » Advanced.
  2. In the treeview on the left, click ProtectionShield » Notifications 
  3. In the SenderProfile textbox type the name of the notification profile you want to be used to send emails for the Ecommerce module. If you do not fill in a name explicitly, the default notification profile is used. For more information about Sitefinity CMS notification profiles, see Administration: Configure notification profiles.
  4. Click Save changes

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