Agility websites can run in a few different modes to let you build out the website code, check out content before it is published, and of course run it in live mode.
Normally, when you are running site on your local machine, or on a development server with unreleased code on it, you will enable development mode in the web.config file (this is an attribute in the agility.web section, developmentMode="true").
This means that you can view the latest version of the content of the site, but you don't have to synchronize content using a Web Server record in the Agility settings.
In order to make this mode work faster, we cache the data that is pulled down on demand from the Agility server on your local disk. Then we put a little reload button in the top corner of the "development bar".
Here is the development bar on a desktop browser.
So, development mode works great on a local machine, but it really isn't meant to be turned on, on a public server. For that, you need to set up a Web Server record for the server in Agility.
Staging and Live Mode
When an Agility website is deployed on a server, it needs to have a Web Server record created for it in the Agility settings section. Once you do this, all content for the website is synchronized to the web server and stored in content files on the server's file system. Well, not quite. Only the published versions of the content and pages are synchronized. The "staging" versions of everything are downloaded on demand from the server, similar to development mode, but this only happens when a preview URL is used.
Agility synchronizes pages to your site using a web service. In order to test the connectivity between your server and the Agility server, Agility will contact your server periodically using the "/AgilityWebsiteService.svc" URL. When you set up your website on a server, make sure you can hit that svc file in a browser.
Preview URLs put the site into "preview mode", which shows staging versions of pages and content by default, but it also allows you to switch to published mode so you compare and contrast the content.
When you run the site in Live mode, you will notice it's usually much faster than either development or staging mode. This is because caching is being used to keep the server from doing the same work over and over again to load content into the pages of the site.