When a lot of newcomers start with Sitecore, one concept that people can struggle with is the difference between the Core, Master and Web databases. In most CMS systems you have a single database instance that stores everything related to your site. In Sitecore things are a little different. In Sitecore we have three databases by default:

  • Master / Authoring : This database contains all versions of every Sitecore asset.
  • Core : All the Sitecore objects. If you want to customise Sitecore, this is the place you would define your custom objects.
  • Web : A lightweight database that only contains the latest published versions of Sitecore assets

After you first log into the Sitecore content editor, or Sitecore Desktop, by default, Sitecore will be rendering the Master database. A lot of people have commented that there is no visible indication on the desktop or the editor that shows which database version you are using, or how to switch Sitecore to use the Core, or, Web. Checking which database is being used is very simple. On the desktop, at the bottom, next to the time, you should see a server looking icon:


Next, click on the server icon, you should see a list of the databases. The current database Sitecore is using should have a little tick next to it:


One very handy feature you may notice is the 'Show Database Name' option, available at the top of the menu.


If you select this, then the database name will always be displayed on the desktop :)