Common Sitecore Upgrade Issues You Need to be Prepared For!

Author: Anurag Agarwal | Categories: CMS, Sitecore CMS

Upgrading an application can be challenging, particularly if a clear roadmap is not drawn out first. Therefore, technical knowledge without proper planning may not be useful. The objectives (of the upgrade) and the solutions (fixes for upgrade issues) need to be considered right at the beginning of the planning stage so that all concerns are minimized.

While upgrading your present Sitecore implementation, it’s natural to juggle a few thoughts. Are you fighting to find the answers to the questions below?

  • How complex (or simple) is the Sitecore Version Upgrade process? Is it a 1-step process or does it involve multiple steps?

  • Do we need to move as per recommendations by Sitecore? Is it mandatory to upgrade to the suggested version of Sitecore or can we move to a later version even if Sitecore does not recommend it?

  • Should we upgrade the CM and CD environments together? Or, can it be done as a step by step process?

  • How to take care of multi-instance scenarios in the CM environment? Do we need to execute the upgrade package on all of the instances?

  • What all is included in upgrading a CD Server Application? Should we execute the upgrade wizard on CD Server too?

If you are inundated by these and other thoughts regarding why or why not to opt for an upgrade, download a free copy of my eBook on Considering a Sitecore 8.2 Upgrade? With a host of powerful marketing features and sophisticated CMS capabilities available in the latest version of Sitecore, you’d be missing out on much by not upgrading to the latest version.

However, once you’ve made up your mind to go ahead with the upgrade, don’t miss to browse through the checklist of upgrade issues that many encounter. These are generic issues that may crop up during the upgrade process – you can easily handle them by being aware.

I am discussing some of the common issues and their fixes here in this blog. Should you face an upgrade issue yourself, apply the solutions mentioned here and enjoy a hassle-free upgrade experience.

Configuration-related issues

While upgrading, you will come across a number of configuration-related changes. To make sure that you’re not bothered by an issue, take note of all the changes and handle them like a ‘pro’. Some of the common changes that are encountered include alterations in the .net framework, new assembly details, and so on.

“Sitecore.Speak.config”-related issue

In Sitecore 7.5 and 8.x, it’s common for the “Sitecore.Speak.config”-related error to occur. Since these details are not available on the Sitecore portal, the occurrence can leave you overwhelmed. However, there’s no reason to panic – on the newly upgraded version, Sitecore may add and/ or remove some pipelines from classes. Make a note of all the newly added or altered pipelines. If there is a code on which a pipeline override has occurred, take note of it and change the code as per enhancement.

“Sitecore.Analytics.config”-related issue

Another common issue that tech experts upgrading their Sitecore implementation come across is the “Sitecore.Analytics.config” related change in Sitecore 7.5 and 8.x. To fix this, changes related to this configuration need to be handled. In an upgrade instance, there can be a lot of changes in Sitecore Analytics. Add all the changes carefully to minimize (or completely eliminate) the impact on the Sitecore running instance. Analytics data is very important for marketers and need to be handled well.

“WebDB.config”-related issue

Changes may also occur in the “WebDB.config” while upgrading from an earlier version, such as Sitecore 5+ or Sitecore 6+, to Sitecore 7.1. This issue generally crops up during a manual upgrade activity. Sitecore has added new configurations in the Sitecore 7.1 version – you need to appropriately handle the configurations to ensure that the upgrade process is successful.

Connection string issue

Connection-related errors may occur during a Sitecore version upgrade activity. Sitecore has added some new connection elements in its 7.5 version. These changes need to be added in the upgraded version for the process to successfully complete.

Layout-related issue

In Sitecore 8.x, you may encounter layout-related issues. Sometimes, while manually upgrading, there may be conflict in the presentation layout details (in the upgraded version). This problem needs to be accurately identified via unit testing. Once we have identified the problem, enhancing the layout can help fix it.

Pipeline-related changes

Pipeline related changes may occur during the Sitecore upgrade process. Sitecore offers a number of changes in the upgraded version – add or remove the changes (as per applicable) in the version you are upgrading to.

Page Editor-related issue

Sometimes, we may get exceptions on the Page Editor. Script changes as a preliminary check can help fix the page editor issues.

Database script-related changes

Database-related changes may occur while upgrading to a later version of Sitecore. So, all database related exceptions need to be handled during the manual execution process. In the event that some of the most important scripts are missing, your Sitecore instance will become unstable. To avoid this, you’d have to run the scripts timely.

These are some of the commonest issues that you need to watch out for, while you are upgrading your present Sitecore environment. By being aware of these instances, you can prepare yourself to successfully upgrade the CMS version. If you have encountered some other nagging issue, which is not listed here, don’t miss to share it with us.