What is a Salesforce Sandbox? A Beginners Guide

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Salesforce Sandboxes are an important feature when you are looking to develop new functionality within your organization. 

This post will equip you with everything you need to know about Salesforce Sandboxes, as well as the different types, and how to use them. 

Salesforce Sandboxes

A Sandbox lets you develop and test your configuration, in the safety of a controlled environment. They are copies of your production environment that have the same platform customizations (Such as custom fields, code, and automation), and in some Sandbox types, also a copy of your production data (Such as Leads, Accounts & Contacts).

Sandboxes are a vital part of a good deployment process. While it’s sometimes tempting to make changes directly in production, you could be negatively impacting users, and disturbing their day-to-day work. 

Sandboxes come into play to allow you to make changes, and test new functionality out, without impacting users.

Sandbox Types

There are four types of Sandboxes, each with its own set of characteristics that make them fit for a specific purpose. Each Sandbox type has a few different variables…

  • How often you can refresh a sandbox to mirror your production Org
  • How much information you can store across data storage, and file storage. 
  • Whether just metadata, or data is copied over.
  • Which Salesforce licenses include which Sandbox types

1. Developer Sandbox 

The most basic type of testing environment is the Developer Sandbox. These are included with most Salesforce licenses, and allow you to create a testing environment with a copy of your Metadata from Production.

Developer Sandboxes can be refreshed once per day, and have a data and file storage limit of 200mb each. 

2. Developer Pro Sandbox 

Developer Pro Sandboxes are very similar to standard Developer environments but have slightly higher storage limits. They provide you with 1GB for both data storage and file storage. The refresh limit stays at 1 day. 

Developer Pro Sandboxes are only included with Unlimited & Performance editions of Salesforce, but can be purchased separately.

3. Partial Copy Sandbox 

This is the first type of Sandbox that allows you to not only copy metadata, but also a portion of your data. As the name suggests, you can select a sample set of data using a Sandbox Template

This Sandbox is very helpful if you wish to test new functionality on live data, or if you wish to train users using live data, in a test environment.

Partial Copy Sandboxes are included with Enterprise, Unlimited & Performance edition Salesforce licenses, and can be purchased separately

The Partial Copy Sandbox has a refresh interval of 5 days, and allows data storage up to 5GB, and file storage mirrors that of your production Org.

4. Full Sandbox 

As you might have guessed from the name, a full copy sandbox copies all of your production metadata and data. This gives you an exact replica of your production Org in order to fully test functionality, as well as train new users.

Full Sandboxes have a 29 day refresh interval, and mirrors the storage limits of your production Org for data nad file storage. 

These Sandboxes are only included with Unlimited & Performance editions of Salesforce, but can be purchased separately.

How Do I Use a Salesforce Sandbox?

Sandboxes can easily be created from your production org by headings into the Setup menu in the backend of Salesforce, and typing in “Sandboxes” into the quick search.

Here you will see an overview of the Sandboxes that are currently in use, and a few details about each of them. 

New sandboxes can easily be created by selecting the “New Sandbox” button and then defining the parameters of your new Sandbox.

The length of time it takes to “spin” up a new Sandbox can be anywhere from a few minutes for Developer Sandboxes, to 24 hours or more for a Full Copy. This will depend on the amount of data and metadata that is being copied over.

Once a Sandbox has been created, you will need to login via the sandbox login URL which is https://test.salesforce.com

Logging into the sandbox also requires you to modify your username slightly. Your username and password will be the same as production, but you will need to append the sandbox name to your username e.g. [email protected]

14 thoughts on “What is a Salesforce Sandbox? A Beginners Guide

  1. Salesforce Sandboxes are really great as it only takes a couple of clicks to create a copy of your production environment. But the one thing a little annoying is with the partial sandboxes. They only copy the first 50k records of an object. So if you have a large org you usually end up with the oldest and usually most incompleate records in your org. It would be much better if you got the latest 50k records instead or have a choice.

  2. This is a great topic – thanks for posting this and giving some good insights into the possibilities. We see Salesforce customers doing all kinds of odd things to provision sandboxes and the like, but it is good to see the choices!

  3. Hi, small mistake in your description about Developer sandbox “These sandboxes are meant to be used for testing and/or coding in an isolated environment. This sandbox includes your production org’s meta data, can be refreshed every 29 days and whose storage limit is based on your productions.” -> Developer – may be refreshed every day, does not include any data automatically but allows 200 MB of data to be imported or created.

  4. Small correction in your description (“Performance Edition includes licenses for 1 Full sandbox, 1 Partial Copy sandbox, 5 Developer Pro sandboxes, and 30Developer sandboxes.”)…Performance Edition includes 100 Developer Sandbox

  5. Note – Only 10K rows / object gets copied over into Partial Copy. It would be great to choose the range. Not entirely sure of the order of records that gets copied over.

  6. Can I ask, Is it advisable to have a full sandbox available to use? I am working in an Enterprise edition and we are not using a Full Sandbox? In my experience, I’ve always used a full sandbox to to the final testing. Thanks for any advice?

  7. What type of sandbox is typically used for hotfix branch in CI/CD scenario. Logically, I would choose a Developer Pro, or a Developer Sandbox because it can be refreshed everyday. But then again, perhaps a Partial would be better so you can get some data. What is the best practice?

    1. I have the same question about the hotfix. I think that Developer and Developer Pro is the apt solution here. In case you get hotfixes very regularly, a possibility to refresh the hotfix after each deployment would make things so much easier. In my opinion, Partial copy and Full copy with longer refresh intervals are not good enough.

  8. Does anyone know the server performance capacity for sandboxes V production? There used to be a page a few years ago in Salesforce help pages but I haven’t been able to find it again. I often get the request for a prod like environment for performance testing but its hard to explain to non-salesforce people the sandbox landscape without any details from Salesforce

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