Platform Administration and Architecture

Walkthrough: Configuring a private session state database using SQL


How to use the SQL service provider as your private session state store.

In private session state, the session state database collects and saves all data related to a specific interaction, such as viewed pages, converted goals, triggered campaigns, or accumulated engagement points.

You can use the Sitecore ASP.NET Session State Provider for SQL Server to configure a SQL Server database as your private session state store. 

The SQL Server provider supports the session-end event that is required by the xDB in order to track website visits.


Content Management (CM) servers do not support using an external session state database. On CM servers you can only use in process session state.

This walkthrough outlines how to deploy a SQL Server session database, optimize SQL Server performance, configure Sitecore, and adjust private session state settings.

Deploy a SQL Server session database


You can store shared and private session state information in the same database. The database is able to distinguish between the types of session.

To deploy the SQL Server session database:

  1. Start Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio 2016 or later.

  2. Connect to the server node that you want to install the Session database on.

  3. Expand the server node, right-click Databases, and then click Deploy Data-tier Application…

  4. In the Deploy Data-tier Application wizard, on the Select Package page, click Browse.

  5. Select the Sitecore.Sessions.dacpac file and click Next


    You can find the file in the Databases folder in the root of the Sitecore archive.

  6. In the Update Configuration step, specify the name of the database, click Next and, after validating summary information, click  Next. When the deploy is completed, the session database appears in your list of attached databases.

  7. Add the following connection string to the ConnectionStrings.config file:

    <add name="session" connectionString="user
            Source=_sqlserver_;Database = _session_database_name_"/>

Configure Sitecore

To configure Sitecore to use the private session state provider for SQL Server:

  1. In your site root folder, open the web.config file and locate the sessionState line:

     <sessionState mode="InProc" cookieless="false" timeout="20" 

    Change this line to:

    <sessionState mode="Custom"
        customProvider="mssql" cookieless="false"
  2. Update the sessionState section by adding the SQL Server provider as shown in the following example. Change the name attribute value to mssql:

    <sessionState mode="Custom" customProvider="mssql" cookieless="false" timeout="20">
        <add name="mssql" 

Adjust private session state settings

To adjust the private session state settings:

  • In the web.config file, edit the following configuration options:





Contains the connection string that Sitecore uses to connect to the session database.

Edit to specify the session state database that you want to use. In the xDB, this database is called session.


Specifies the time interval in seconds that the session-state provider uses to check if any sessions have expired.


Indicates that you want session-state data to be compressed.

The default value is true. Compressing session state data reduces the amount of data that you must transfer between the database and the Sitecore instance. This can cause some additional CPU overhead.


Indicates whether the type of session state is private or shared.