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Create powerful Web sites on Force.com

Knowledge Article Number 000025312
Description

Everyone loves great Web sites - and every company wants them. However, building and running such sites can be complicated and expensive. With Force.com sites functionality, you can build and run public, unauthenticated Web sites on the Force.com cloud platform. You don't have to worry about running a data center to host your servers or maintain multiple software applications. Plus, building applications on Force.com is 5 times faster, at about half the cost of traditional software platforms.

By using the Force.com pages functionality and leveraging the data in your Salesforce account, you can build sites users can access through a custom Web address known as a custom domain. This document best describes common use cases for the sites functionality, the skills needed to build them, and best practices and considerations.

Resolution

Build your own sites: Use cases
Some types of sites are well suited for Force.com sites capabilities, but others are not as good a fit. Here are some common use cases:

  • Corporate or intranet Web sites that display information to visitors. Such sites are the easiest to build, even with limited HTML knowledge. You can use the free CMSForce content management application from the AppExchange to help build your pages. These sites are the easiest to create and only contain static pages. However, they're not as flexible as the example sites below.
  • Store locators or product catalogs that capture or push information to your visitors. Because such interactive sites leverage Force.com pages functionality and Force.com code (Apex), they're more flexible, but you'll need a developer or your IT department to build them.
  • Insurance applications or event management applications that integrate your Salesforce account. Such sites not only capture or push information to visitors, but bring data into the application. For example,w hen your visitors fill out applications or sign up for events, that information is automatically pushed into Salesforce CRM. Because building such sites uses the page functionality and Force.com code, you'll need development resources.

For examples of such Web sites, please visit the Sites Gallery.

Other types of sites are not a good fit for the sites functionality, including sites with heavy bandwidth requirements. Because such sites use large file uploads, downloads, or require heavy processing, which make them bump up against daily bandwidth limits, they're not good candidates.

For more information about these limits, please view the Sites Best Practices page.

Best practices and considerations
When building sites on Force.com, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Content - Because your sites will be available to the public, don't publish anything inappropriate or confidential.
  • Testing - Test your site for every type of visitor and any kind of demand. Although your site may perform well on a test with 10 people, it could fail if thousands visit. Also, test different browsers to ensure all visitors have the same experience.
  • Performance and daily limits - Salesforce.com imposes some limits on your sites pages. Make sure you're aware of these limits so your visitors' experience is not degraded by poor performance. Refer to the Caching, Performance, and Daily Limits page for more information.
  • Schema design - This design influences database management and information retrieval. Well-written queries and careful schema design are keys for top performance, especially for high-traffic sites. Also consider indexing your design schema to optimize data retrieval.
  • Site design - When building your site, take into account whether you're porting an existing site or building a new one. Porting existing sites may affect the site's performance.
  • Web authentication - If you need a password protection or visitor authentication, build your site using a customer or partner portal to prevent access to protected content.

Additional resources
For additional considerations, best practices and information about Force.com, please review the following resources:





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