How to create a sandbox instance for testing

It is absolutely best practice to never make major changes or test new software in your main production instance. If something goes wrong, you can have a big mess on your hands. Instead, best practice is to make a Sandbox that you can use for testing.

What are the different types of sandboxes?

Salesforce provides all nonprofits with a choice of 2 different sandboxes for no additional cost. Either Developer or Developer Pro. The key difference between these two are how much data can be stored.

In both cases, NONE OF YOUR DATA IS COPIED TO THE SANDBOX. This is critical. When you create a Sandbox, you are only getting your setup information - fields, configuration, etc. No records. No users. You will have to create test records on all objects first before you can test anything else.

If you want a sandbox that includes your data, you will need to speak with your Salesforce Account Executive about purchasing a Full or Partial Sandbox at an additional cost.

To view your sandboxes, click Setup and type Sandbox as shown, then click on the result.

What are the different types of sandboxes?

Here you can see the Sandboxes you have available. Nonprofits typically get 6 Developer and 1 Developer Pro.

Any Sandboxes already created are listed below. You can see the date they were last copied from the production instance, and what server they're on (Location).

Under the Sandbox History tab, you can see all the times the sandbox was refreshed.

Logging in to a Sandbox

You can log in to a sandbox by clicking on the Login link on the sandbox list. Your login for the sandbox will be the same as your current instance except your username will have the sandbox name appended on the end.

For example if your login to Salesforce is [email protected] and you want to log in to your Testing sandbox, your login to your sandbox will be [email protected]

If you want, you can go to to login to a sandbox instead of going to your organization's sandbox screen. Just make sure you use the right sandbox username as above.

Logging in to a Sandbox

You know you're in a sandbox by the black bar in the top right hand corner.

Refresh an existing Sandbox

When you want to copy the metadata (field and object definitions, workflow rules, email templates, reports, etc.) from the production instance you can click Refresh.

Refresh an existing Sandbox

Click Refresh to confirm.

Note: Any customization in the sandbox will be deleted when you refresh it and there's no change of getting your changes back. Proceed with caution if others are actively already using the sandbox.

After refresh, the sandbox will be in a pending state.

Soon thereafter you'll get an email letting you know the refresh is done.

Log back in to Salesforce and click the Activate link by the sandbox you just refreshed.

Click the box to say you understand the operation will delete your existing data in your sandbox. It will not affect your production data at all. Then click Activate to go to the final step.

When you get this email your sandbox is ready for use.

Create a new Sandbox

If you don't want to refresh an existing sandbox, and you have extras, you can create a brand new sandbox by clicking on the link.

Create a new Sandbox

Give the sandbox a descriptive short name and a longer description so you know the kind of data it will be testing.

Click Next for the sandbox you're creating and then you will get similar email from Salesforce as when you refreshed the data.