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SharePoint site structure

SharePoint is a web application with a confusing structure. When an administrator setup SharePoint server they usually create a site collection, when a company signs up for Office 365 with SharePoint they get a site collection. The web url for the first site collection for Office 365 is company.sharepoint.com, if a company wants to setup another site collection in Office 365 the url is usually company.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename. A site collection can consist of several subsites with a url for the first Office 365 site would be company.sharepoint.com/subsite1.

One of the bigger advantages of SharePoint site collections with subsites is inheritance from the top site to the subsite, the company.sharepoint.com is the first top site. A new site collection that ends with the url /sites/sitename is another top site. This to can consist of several subsites, and even a subsite of a subsite. Inheritance can not be between site collections.

Inheritance is usually the security permissions of a site collection, and it is also site collection features, site columns and content types. Security permission will be explained further next week on this blog. Site columns and content types will be explained further on if you do want a good one I can recommend Sharegates blog, http://en.share-gate.com/blog/sharepoint-columns-site-columns-or-content-types  .

Why split information into site collections, subsites? One of the bigger advantages is that you don’t have to break inheritance if you want different security permission. Usually companies setup site collections to establish collaboration sites for a group of users, it can be for a department, a project team or other sets of users. To create a design my advice is to document the structure it is very easy to do with Powerpoint and even better with Visio from Microsoft. Without documentation it is extremly easy to get lost and create mistakes.

What are the reasons for creating a new site collection?

  • Different security permissions
  • Other type of site template
  • Specific site features
  • External users or not
  • Use different layout(CSS)
  • Separate applications, such as Project Online(it is an application that is run on SharePoint)