Umbraco Preview: Are my changes live or not?

This post is based on the following Umbraco setup.

  • Umbraco v7.2
  • Azure Sql Server – Web Edition


Preview in Umbraco lets you quickly see how your page will look on different devices. It allows content editors to switch between different devices previews and see how their content will display on a number of common device sized before making their changes live. Recently I had a client raise a few concerns about how the preview functionality worked and so this post is for all those who have to do the same in the future.
Where’s my preview button?

The first problem the client had was not being able to see a preview button on their newly created pages. In order to preview content, the content must first be saved. Once saved (but not necessarily published) the preview button will appear in Umbraco.

Is it live or not!

When a content editor clicks preview they are able to see what the website will look like before it is published and available to all website members. Umbraco does this by setting a cookie in the user’s browser which is persisted until they log out of the CMS. This caused great confusion with my client who was concerned the preview functionality was broken. They had made changes and previewed them in the cms. They had then visited the main site as a member, while still logged in to the CMS. As the preview cookie had not been cleared they could see their unpublished changes on the live site. Of course the changes were not live, and once they logged out of Umbraco, normal service was resumed. However, we now always advise….

Once content editors have finished previewing content, they should always logout of Umbraco to ensure they are seeing live content rather than preview content.