Kentico MVC vs. Portal Engine: Comparison & Support to Upgrade

In the early days of web development, developers had to write raw HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code from scratch for each project. With the increasing complexity of web applications, the need for more efficient and standardized development approaches became clear. Today, there’s a new component, web development frameworks, that have a significant impact on the way websites and web applications are built. Web development frameworks are ready-made code libraries that provide developers with a framework for constructing web applications. They include a range of tools, libraries, and proven practices that streamline creating web applications, boosting efficiency and reducing errors. 

The Kentico CMS is a content management system that simplifies the development of dynamic websites. Designed for the needs of web developers and their clients, the platform offers numerous benefits in web development, including built-in tools and features that allow developers to create and manage content, templates, and layouts more efficiently. The Kentico CMS, with its ease of use, flexibility, scalability, and security features, plays a significant role in web development by providing developers with a comprehensive platform to build dynamic and feature-rich websites.  

 Four professionals collaborating on a project in a modern office setting.


What is MVC and How Does It Work?

MVC (Model-View-Controller) is an architectural pattern commonly used in software development, especially in web applications. It separates an application into three interconnected components: the Model, View, and Controller.

  • The Model represents the application's data and business logic, and it communicates with the data sources to update, fetch, or manipulate data. It includes the data structure, database operations, validation rules, and calculations, but does not contain any presentation or user interface-related code.  
  • The View handles the display of information and presents the data from the Model to the users. It receives data from the Model and shows it in a format that users can understand, such as HTML, CSS, or other presentation technologies. It doesn’t contain any business logic but may contain some presentation-related logic.
  • The intermediary between the Model and the View is the Controller. It receives user requests from the View, processes them, interacts with the Model to retrieve or modify data, and updates the View accordingly. The Controller “controls” the overall behavior of the application by handling user input and managing the flow of data. It contains the business logic necessary to understand user actions and make decisions based on the data received.

Overall, the MVC architecture separates an application into three interconnected components (Model, View, and Controller), each with its own distinct role. This promotes code modularity and maintainability while providing a structured approach to software development.

MVC architecture allows developers to work on different components independently, making it easier to manage and update the codebase.  It promotes separation of concerns, which improves modularity, reusability, and maintainability. Changes made in one component do not directly affect the others, as long as the interactions between them follow the defined patterns. By dividing responsibilities among the Model, View, and Controller, the MVC architecture helps in achieving code organization, code readability, testability, and scalability in software development. 

ASP.NET MVC continues to be relevant in Microsoft's technology roadmap for several reasons. The flexibility, security, and performance of the ASP.NET Core framework have contributed to its widespread popularity and appreciation among developers. It is a lightweight, highly testable presentation framework that follows the MVC architecture, making it apt for developing desktop, mobile, and web-based applications. Additionally, ASP.NET MVC integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft technologies and frameworks, enhancing compatibility and interoperability.

Microsoft actively develops and supports ASP.NET MVC, ensuring its continued relevance. Overall, ASP.NET MVC holds an important place in Microsoft's technology roadmap due to its versatility, robustness, and the ongoing commitment from Microsoft to its development and improvement.

Kentico Portal Engine: An Overview

The Kentico Portal Engine was a web development framework that is part of the Kentico CMS (content management system). It was designed to provide developers with a flexible and powerful platform for building dynamic websites and web applications.

Although it is now no longer supported, the Portal Engine had many benefits and key features, including a drag-and-drop interface and a set of customizable web functions to enable developers to easily create and manage website content, navigation, and user interactions. It provided features such as page templates, document management, user roles and permissions, and integration with other systems.

Web Forms played a critical role when it comes to Portal Engines. The rise and dominance of Web Forms can be attributed to their ability to simplify the development of user interfaces for web applications. They provide a structured approach for creating interactive and dynamic web pages by allowing developers to define the layout and behavior of the user interface elements.

Support Ended for Portal Engine in 2023

Portal Engine was phased out at the end of 2023. This means that future versions of the Kentico CMS will no longer support the Portal Engine development model. Instead, Kentico is focusing on promoting the use of MVC as the preferred framework for web development with Kentico CMS. The decision to phase out the Portal Engine and transition to MVC aligns with industry trends and the growing popularity of MVC as a modern and flexible web development approach.  

Customers are encouraged to upgrade to Kentico Xperience, which is the latest version of the Kentico CMS platform. It’s important to note: this is not a “Hotfix.” A Kentico hotfix is a quick correction to fix a defect or bug. In this case, a transition to a newer version of the platform is necessary.

The MVC model offers more flexibility and allows for easier customization and development of websites. Additionally, the Portal Engine has been around for many years and is now considered outdated technology. By ending support for the Portal Engine, Kentico is focusing on providing better support and development for its newer technologies.

Existing Kentico Portal Engine users should migrate to MVC as soon as possible to ensure compatibility with future versions of the Kentico CMS. Kentico provides resources and documentation to assist in this migration process and encourages developers to make the switch to MVC for their projects. is a proud Kentico partner with years of successful experience. We can help with our Kentico upgrade consultation services

Why the Transition from Portal Engine to MVC?

The Kentico Portal Engine runs on ASP.NET Web Forms, a technology that is not compatible with the new .NET Core framework. Therefore, anyone using the Microsoft framework will need to switch to MVC and transition to .NET Core MVC. In the near future, there will be no new features or add-ons available for Web Forms and the old Full Framework.

The benefits of MVC, both from a developer and user experience standpoint, are immense.

MVC is much faster than the Portal Engine. For developers, the time to build the application in Visual Studio is quicker, time after an IIS reset is faster, and, for the user, the overall performance of the live site is faster. MVC has several additional benefits, including improved SEO, better control over website semantics, easier adherence to accessibility standards, simplified processes, future readiness, streamlined development operations, and easier delivery across multiple channels.

Features and Advantages of Kentico MVC vs. Portal Engine

MVC improves website performance by allowing full control over HTML output, resulting in SEO benefits, faster page loading, and improved site interaction. It is important to note that search engines consider page speed when determining rankings. MVC supports SEO-friendly web app development and makes it simple to create SEO-friendly URLs for increased website traffic.

Modern frameworks are important for hiring the best developer talent because they demonstrate a developer's ability to work with the latest technologies and stay current with the latest industry trends. It’s also a clear indicator that the developer is going to be more efficient and productive in their work.

MVC architecture also helps in upgrades, maintenance, and flexibility because of the separation into three distinct components, which makes it easier to modify and upgrade individual components without affecting the others. It also simplifies maintenance as each component can be modified separately. Additionally, the flexibility of MVC allows for easy integration of new features and functionalities without affecting the existing codebase.

MVC makes page builder development simpler and more manageable by dividing the concerns into separate components. This enables easy maintenance and code modification. This separation simplifies the development and maintenance of complex web applications such as page builders. It offers a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface, customizable templates, and the ability to preview changes in real-time, all of which contribute to an optimal UX (user experience).

Open-source components eliminate the need to build everything from scratch, saving time and money. Additionally, open-source components are often well-maintained and have a large community of contributors, which can help ensure their quality and reliability. MVC widgets can be tailored to meet specific project needs by customizing their appearance and behavior through configuration options and event handlers.

Infographic comparing Kentico Portal Engine and MVC features and advantages.


Kentico's Support Timeline: What You Need to Know

Kentico has embraced the demand for MVC development and has made the decision to transition completely. This move brings a host of benefits, including improved performance, enhanced flexibility, and better support for modern web development practices.

Kentico made the decision to officially support Kentico 12 Portal Engine projects until the end of 2023.It's important to transition as soon as possible because Kentico is no longer provide security updates, bug fixes, and technical support for the Portal Engine version, leaving your website vulnerable to security risks and potential issues. It’s critical to get in touch with a Kentico development partner to ensure a seamless transition for your website. 

Timeline of Kentico support and best practices from 2018 to 2027.

FAQs for Kentico Portal Engine vs. MVC Transition

How to identify if your site is running on Portal Engine?
To find out if your site is running portal engine, log into the admin and edit a page. If the tabs in the right panel show Page | Design | Form | Master Page, then it is. An MVC instance will not have Design or Master Page.

What is the difference between Portal Engine and MVC?
The main distinction between the two frameworks lies in how projects are developed from the viewpoint of a developer. It’s a lot easier using MVC.

How to upgrade a Kentico Portal Engine to Kentico Xperience MVC?
Kentico recommends upgrading to the latest available version and MVC is the recommended approach and, therefore, customers should consider transitioning as soon as possible. Contact a trusted Kentico development services partner like to help you with the transition. Check out some of our Kentico Manufacturing Web design examples to find out more about our Kentico experience.

What does the transition from Portal Engine to MVC look like for existing customers?
When a website is nearing the end of its lifespan and is due for a redesign, it is recommended to use the Model-View-Controller (MVC) approach for the new design. This allows for the reuse of certain content, OM and EC data, and extensions, while the front end is typically created from scratch. If a website is nearing the end of its lifecycle within the next few years, it may be more beneficial to wait until that time to redesign it. If the site is not going to come to the end of its lifecycle in the near feature and full support will still be required, the transition from Portal Engine to MVC must still be performed.

How long is Kentico supporting Portal Engine?
Portal Engine was supported until the end of 2023; it's no longer supported at this time. 

What are the action steps for those still on Portal Engine?
There isn’t a tool to automatically convert Portal Engine front end to MVC front end because the two technologies are very different. It’s important to contact a development team to help you with this important transition. 

Kentico's Future with MVC

The migration of web applications from older frameworks like Portal Engine to modern ones is an essential task for ensuring long-term viability, performance, and security. The importance of continuous support, improved security, and the benefits of SEO with MVC are clearly evident.

Kentico Xperience 13 is a cutting-edge platform that utilizes the ASP.NET Core MVC framework to deliver lightning-fast load times and optimal website performance. With a smaller footprint, you can process larger volumes of data and handle more traffic efficiently, all while utilizing fewer resources. It’s critical to adopt this technology to stay in sync with the latest advances in technology. is a certified Kentico Solutions partner. We specialize in implementing, customizing, and deploying solutions using the Kentico platform. As a Kentico development agency, we provide comprehensive digital experiences to help customers reach their business goals.

If you want to learn more about our Kentico experience and your transition to MVC, call at 877-WEBNOW-1. You can contact us through our online form as well. 

Comparison chart explaining Kentico's shift from Portal Engine to MVC framework.

About Author

Shawn Griffin
Shawn has been with since 1999 in a variety of roles. Currently, Shawn is part of our digital marketing and content team. In addition to editing and producing written company pieces, he produces copy for clients and he also helps to produce our radio and TV spots. He wants to make sure everybody knows that it’s truly a collaborative effort – between many, including the people he’s worked for during the past 20+ years!

Featured Posts