Friends. I have a confession to make.
Some of you know I’ve been a Salesforce Admin at my org for a few years. But for the majority of that time, I made a common rookie’s mistake.
That’s right. I didn’t use sandboxes. Didn’t even know what they were at the time I started my accidental admin journey.
Whether you’re brand new to Salesforce or been at it a while, listen up. A sandbox is an experimental Salesforce environment, created by “copying” your real instance. It allows you to work in separate orgs, without adversely affecting your org’s real data.
For those wondering “when would I use this?”, I use them to test automations. You can also use them for trainings, or for configuring new metadata assets like objects & apps. When those assets are ready to go live, you just deploy them to your real org in a matter of clicks.
Even if you’ve made it this far without a sandbox….consider the fact that this is a dangerous way to live! And they’re an industry best practice. So if you’re a serious admin, you’ll at least want to know how to set one up.
But I promise. Once you get past the daunting feeling that comes with learning any new Salesforce thing, you’ll see they’re pretty great. Here are some notes to help you get started.
1. You can easily create a sandbox in Salesforce setup
Getting a sandbox doesn’t require a separate signup process or anything like that! Just go to the Salesforce setup section and create your preferred sandbox from there. Instructions for how to do this here, but if you’re a visual learner, you can also check out this 5-minute video.
2. A sandbox uses a modified version of your existing login
When you sign into a sandbox, you don’t use the same login that you would for production. Instead, you need to append a period and the sandbox name to the end of your username.
So if my normal Salesforce login is email@example.com, and I create a sandbox called “sand”, then my sandbox login is firstname.lastname@example.org
3. You decide how much data gets mirrored in your sandbox
There are limits to how many sandboxes you can have & the data that carries over. For a full explanation on the different types (and to see what’s available for your given plan), check out the Salesforce Help site.
4. You can refresh your sandbox with updates from your production org
As long as the sandbox’s source org is your production environment, you can perform a sandbox “refresh” to make sure that new metadata components make their way into your sandbox. Instructions for how to refresh a sandbox here.
Sandboxes are a smart move for smart admins. So if you haven’t used them before, consider this my challenge to you! Find a time to set one up this week. (And if you’re feeling extra enthusiastic, be sure to let me know how it goes – either in the comments or on Twitter!)