Upgrading Your Kentico Site: What You Need To Know

Every year, Kentico releases a major version upgrade. As part of your active license, you receive immediate access to the latest version as soon as it’s released. More recently, Kentico has begun rolling out updates in phases to allow its community to better take advantage of new features. 

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Looking over the shoulder of a web developer monitoring a website on multiple monitors

While it may seem appealing to jump right in—especially when you consider loads of new game-changing features—there’s a lot to consider before upgrading. So here’s what you need to know before taking the leap into the next version of Kentico.

Before you begin:

  • Upgrades must be applied to your original project before creating a new deployment.
  • If you are upgrading from a version lower than 12, you will need to go through separate upgrade procedures for each version.


Kentico Xperience 13

The new Kentico 13, release in October of 2020, focused on retiring the portal engine and XPPX templates in favor of creating a more robust user experience. They have enhanced their marketing automation tools, put additional focus on reusable content, and created a tool kit for third-party platforms. They have also created a structure for future-proofing in their web framework. 

Refresh 1

The first refresh phase, released in March 2021, spends more time evolving individual assets. This includes creating a more powerful search index, simplifying the object selector, debugging.net core, and creating a cash tag helper. They also took this opportunity to create content personalization using Recombee AI

Refresh 2

The second refresh phase, released in June 2021, focuses more on the market or experience. They updated its segment analysis and form builder properties, created an alias for dynamic routing, and invested in editable widgets for the page builder tool. 


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When to Upgrade

Each year brings with it a new version of Kentico, and each version brings with it a mass of new and improved features. That begs the question: Should we upgrade? 

To answer that question, ask yourself a few other questions:

Was the latest version just released?

If your answer is “yes,” you may want to stop here. A release of any major software comes with kinks that will need ironing out. Whether this means bugs or incomplete features, it’s often best to wait a month or two to ensure any major issues have been dealt with prior to implementation.

What is the reason for the upgrade?

Do you want to upgrade because you saw a must-have feature in the latest version that will improve your day-to-day operations? Do you want to upgrade because you want the latest security updates? Do you want to upgrade because you saw the new and improved user interface? Or, do you want to upgrade just to upgrade? If you chose the latter, you might want to reconsider.

How much is this going to cost me?

This is probably going to be one of the more difficult questions to answer because your Kentico solutions partner will need to take into account the following:

  • Which version are you upgrading FROM?
  • Which version are you upgrading TO?
  • What is the full scope of customizations that were completed on the project?
  • Are there any third-party integrations?
  • When does the upgrade need to be completed?



There’s a subset of upgrades that Kentico dubs hotfixes. These are the minor version updates that address specific bugs/issues within the major version. Hotfix builds are released on an as-needed basis, and there’s usually about one hotfix per week. In a perfect world, hotfixes would be applied to all projects as they are released, but this practice would likely be considered a waste of time and money for most Kentico customers.

While hotfix updates aren’t as time-consuming to complete as major version upgrades, many interim versions will address issues in a module or application that is not currently being used. Therefore, we recommend applying hotfixes only when they address a specific issue a client is experiencing.


So, Should I Upgrade?

Deciding to upgrade a core component of your business is not always an easy choice. There’s a lot to consider, including cost, development effort, and the impact the new interface will have on end-users. It’s crucial to consider all factors and upgrade at the right time for your organization.

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