XM Cloud terminology


This topic explains general concepts and terms used within XM Cloud, the Cloud Portal, and adjacent Sitecore features.

Content Management instance

At the heart of your XM Cloud environment is a Content Management (CM) instance . The CM instance is where you create, store, and edit site content; and manage publishing, content modelling, versioning, workflows, translations, rules, and permissions. A content management instance includes your page layouts, components, data source configurations, localization, and personalization settings. You deliver the data from the CM instance to Experience Edge, using GraphQL.

Deploy app

The XM Cloud Deploy app is a user interface for managing environments and deploying XM Cloud projects. It includes a walkthrough for creating a project, a detailed log of every step of the deployment process, a status page, and a centralized location to manage your projects and environments. After you successfully complete the project creation flow, the app runs the following processes to complete the project creation:

  • Provision

  • Build

  • Deploy


An environment is an entity that holds a set of configurations, code, and implementations. Each environment includes the following:

  • A single content management (CM) instance

  • Experience edge tenant

  • Databases

  • Indexes

  • Automation clients

  • Environment variables

  • Rendering hosts

  • An app tenant that connects the CM instance with functionality such as Pages and Components

Each environment is isolated and unique. This allows you to have unique customizations, deployments, and configurations on your environment, based on implementation needs.

Experience Edge

Experience Edge is a GraphQL API-based service endpoint that allows you to retrieve layout and content, distributed through a CDN. Experience Edge is the XM Cloud publishing target, hosted by Sitecore.


An organization represents a business unit, such as a company or brand. Within Sitecore, it's a collection of your related team members and Sitecore products to which you are subscribed. An organization can have one or more Sitecore products, with multiple instances of each product.

An enterprise company or a solution partner might have access to multiple organizations, while a smaller company might have one organization. Each organization uses a set of rules to determine who can access each product and what work they can do. Organization management is handled in the Cloud Portal.


A project is a logical grouping of XM Cloud environments. Each project can include several environments, such as a development, testing, and production environment. In XM Cloud, you can create a project using the Deploy app, the CLI, or REST APIs.

When you create a project using the Deploy app, one environment is automatically created, and you can choose whether it’s a production environment (that gets faster support than the non-production environments). The number of projects you can create depends on your subscription.

Rendering host

See editing hosts and rendering hosts.


A site is a collection of one or more pages, and a page can have several components. Within XM Cloud, a site is always a headless site, meaning the front-end app, including a rendering host, is separate from the content modelling and business logic.

Site collection

A site collection is a parent item that groups related sites to organize them according to business unit, brand, or similar, and to share content between the sites, for example: data templates and digital assets.

Sitecore Cloud Portal

The Sitecore Cloud Portal is the central hub to access all Sitecore digital experience platform (DXP) products. You manage your organization and users in the portal, and manage access to apps such as XM Cloud, Content Hub ONE, and the XM Cloud Deploy app. Access the Cloud Portal at https://portal.sitecorecloud.io.

XM Cloud starter template

The starter template is a code base that’s intended to be the basis of most XM Cloud implementations. To use it, you select the starter template option when creating a new project. It is open source, and available on GitHub. Using the starter template ensures you get the most stable and up-to-date version of the assets, references, assemblies and artefacts we recommend using when you start building a solution with XM Cloud. It includes:

  • Local development workstation resources that support debugging and testing.

  • JSS and headless libraries.

  • Headless SXA reference components, written in Next.js.

  • Personalization and analytics middleware.

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