How to connect to the UAT databases using Siteore Rocks

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This post won’t explain how to install Sitecore rocks and connect to local machine. Please see John’s blog post in depth first for more details: https://community.sitecore.net/technical_blogs/b/sitecorejohn_blog/posts/sitecore-rocks-connections

The intent of this post is to give guidance on how to connect to the UAT or any environments using Sitecore Rocks. Although it may be a very old information, I sometimes forgot the steps to do it hence I created this post.

Prerequisite: Ensure that you ping the CM server.

To connect:

    1. Open the Sitecore Rocks in Visual Studio Professional, Ultimate or Enterprise.
    2. Create a connection, hostname: <CM URL> and the SC Admin Username and Password.
    3. Click Test, if the “Do you want to update server components” prompted you, click Yes.

  1. Click Update button, click OK.
  2. Put your files in the Desktop, and you’ll get 2 folders with Sitecore rocks files inside.

  1. Drop the files in your UAT/PROD CM servers
    1. \bin\Sitecore.Rocks.Server.dll
    2. \sitecore\shell\WebService\Browse.aspx
    3. \sitecore\shell\WebService\Service2.asmx
      1. Hard Rock Web Service – Service2.asmx – Has more features that Good Old Web Service like XPath Analyzer.
      2. Good Old Web Service – Service.asmx
    4. \sitecore\shell\WebService\Sitecore.Rocks.Validation.ashx
  2. Once the files were dropped, from your favorite browser, acess this URL http://<CM_URL>/sitecore/shell/WebService/Service2.asmx
  3. You should see a page like this.

  1. If instead you see a ‘Document not found’, in IIS ensure that the /sitecore/shell/WebService folder Anonymous Authentication status is Enabled.


  1. Go back to your Visual Studio and try to establish a connection to your UAT/PROD CM servers again.
  2. At this point, you should be able to connect to the core, master and web database of your UAT/PROD CM servers.

Try it and let me know if it works for you.




How to create a custom application pool identity in IIS using windows DOMAIN\User for your #Sitecore instance

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This is a continuation of the series Login failed user DOMAIN\User post. If by any chance you bumped into this post, you may still continue as it has no dependency with the previous post.

In this post, we will create a custom application pool identity in IIS using the windows credential of your machine.

The steps are very easy to follow.

  1. Open the Internet Information System a.ka IIS
  2. Navigate to the Application Pools 


  1. Select the application pool of your Sitecore instance, in my case sitecore.blacksmith
  2. On the right Actions pane > click the Advanced Settings
  3. Once the Advanced Settings is opened, look for the Identity and click the “…” beside it.
  4. The Application Pool identity window will show up, then change it to Custom Account
  5. Click the Set… button, and the Set Credentials window will appear.
  6. You’ll noticed that you have to provide the User name and Password, and that’s because we’re trying to use the windows credential of the machine.
  7. Use your windows username: MARVINGDL and windows password: SECRET!HACKER
  8. Then, you’re all set 🙂


In other scenarios, let’s say on your production environment, you may use the DOMAIN\USER when creating a custom application pool identity.


Username: TECL\SCSTG


Related Posts:

[Fixed] HTTP Error 403.14 – Forbidden

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Issue: The Web server is configured to not list the contents of this directory.



Solution: Ensure that it is pointing to the correct website root. To check, In IIS, go to Sites > {YOUR_WEBSITE} > Actions pane > Basic settings > Physical path.



Personal note: I might forget the solution for this problem in the future. So by creating a note or a blog post for myself, I would be able to remember the steps to fix the issue which is the best thing to do.

How to connect to two (2) sitecore instances from virtual machine / rdp simultaneously

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In this post, I would tackle the procedure on how to establish a connection from a virtual machine a.k.a RDP on your local machine.

Important note: This is for Development / System Integration (SIT) environment only.

The two (2) things:

  1. Configure to expose the two (2) SC instances to your network.
    1. Assumption: You’re connected on the same network.
  2. Connect from your local machine.
    1. Assumption: You’re connected to LAN. 🙂

The why? 

1. Easy to access

2. Less stress/processes on the virtual machine.

Let’s imagine you’re working with other 5 developers, and everyone are trying to connect to it. All of you may – for sure – experience the so-called ‘slowness’.

3. Easy to configure

The scenario:

Say you’re working on an upgrade, and you want to access both SC instances simultaneously . This time, not inside a virtual machine because your team should also connect to it and should be composed to the Project Manager, QA, FE and your boss. Amazing! 🙂

The variables:

Sitecore Instance 1: local.sitecore.com (eg. v. 7.2)

Sitecore Instance 2: upgraded.sitecore.net (eg. v.8.1 Update-3)


1.  Configure your two (2) SC instances from the virtual machine

In IIS, for local.sitecore.com, leave the Host Name empty, Port to 80 – default and IP Address to All Unassigned.

local.sitecore.com IIS bindings

In IIS, for upgrade.sitecore.com,

upgrade.sitecore.com:80 * : The binding when accessing the site inside RDP

upgrade.sitecore.com:80 : The binding when accessing the site outside RDP (This is what we want)

upgrade.sitecore.com:443 : The binding when accessing the site secured outside RDP (https)

More about creating self-assigned certificate here.

upgrade.sitecore.com IIS bindings

For hackers out there, FYI, the IP address is fake.

hacker everywhere

Leave as is. This is the default value of the SC instances upon installation.

File location : C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\host


2.  Connect from your local machine

Update your host file.

File location : C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\host


Note: For some cases, you need to put the website in your proxy settings, but for this case we don’t need to.

At this point, you would be able to access you site from your favorite browser in your local machine. What you only need to do is, just type the local.sitecore.com OR upgrade.sitecore.com in your browser.



Two (2) mandatory basic steps to tune up your Sitecore CM site, to keep it always up and running.

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I learnt these practices in a very hard way. When we had a client that was having the unexpected shutdown, and a slow start up load time issue on their production environment, a month ago.


1. Adjust the app pool recycle from every 1740 minutes to off-peak hours of your Geo location daily. (eg. 3:00 AM, 4:000, 5:00 AM)

Open the IIS > Application Pools > Actions pane > Recycle…

app pool recycle settings

2. Adjust the settings for the Idle Time-out to zero (0). This is to make your website load fast.

Open the IIS > Aplication Pools > Actions pane > Advanced settings

Idle time-out

Note: Leaving the Idle Time-out to 20 minutes by default is only best applicable for bulk hosting where you want to lessen the memory usage. When you have 20 minutes without any traffic then the app pool will terminate, and will just start up again on the next visit.

The main problem is that the first visit to an app pool needs to create a new w3wp.exe worker process which is slow because the app pool needs to be created. ASP.Net or another framework needs to be loaded, and then your application needs to be loaded, as well.