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Overview of sites and site collections in SharePoint Server

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APPLIES TO: 2013 2016 2019 Microsoft 365APPLIES TO:2013 2016 2019 SharePoint in Microsoft 365

A site collection is made up of one top-level site and all sites below it. As shown in the following figure, it is the top level of organization in a SharePoint Server web application. The number of site collections you can have in a web application depends on the capacity of your server infrastructure can have in a single web application depends on the capacity of your server infrastructure.For more information about SharePoint Server boundaries, see Software boundaries and limits for SharePoint Servers 2016 and 2019.

Figure: Structure of a site collection in SharePoint Server 2016Figure: Structure of a site collection in SharePoint Server 2016

The SharePoint Server 2019 modern experience is similar to the experience in SharePoint in Microsoft 365.The main difference is in hub sites aren't available in SharePoint Server Hub sites aren't available in SharePoint Server. We do recommend that you use the same process as in SharePoint in Microsoft 365, create site collections for each unit of work instead of creating subsites.This will make it easier when migrating your SharePoint farm to SharePoint in Microsoft 365.

The following guidelines show the relationship between SharePoint Server sites and site collections, and content databases:

  • All of the content in a site collection must be stored in a single content database. You cannot store the contents of a site collection in multiple content databases. You can't store a site collection's content across multiple content databases.

  • Content databases supporting a site collection can be scaled up centrally. You can scale up content databases that support a site collection. You can also scale-out a content database at the web application level to support additional site collections.

  • A site collection can exist in only one content database, but one content database can host the content for multiple site collections.

  • A website cannot exist outside of a site collection and can exist in only one site collection. A site can't exist outside of a site collection and can only exist in one site collection but a site collection can host many sites.

Overview of SharePoint site collections

You create a site collection to host sites that have something in common. For example, the sites can share a common management or branding limit sites might be in a common administrative boundary or share common branding. The site collection might be created to house all the sites and content for a business unit Or, a single site collection might have become too large to manage, and it must be split into smaller ones. Ultimately, some site collections are created solely for specific SharePoint Server functionality , like Business Search Center, or Hosting My Web Sites. Lastly, some s ite collections are created exclusively to host specific SharePoint Server functionality, such as Enterprise Search Center or to host My Sites. Site collections are a way of organizing sites for a common purpose.Es We recommend that you create site collections for each unit of work instead of creating subsites.

SharePoint Server supports two types of site collections: host-named site collections and path-based site collections. In path-based site collections, all subsites of the site collection use a parent or root URL (DNS name). In a path-based site collection, all the subsites in the site collection will share a root or parent URL (DNS name). For example, Team A could have a site collection at http have a site collection at http://contoso.com/sites/teamA, and Team B would have a site collection at http: //contoso.com/sites/teamA, and Team B would have a site collection at http: //contoso/sites/teamB.://contoso/sites/teamB. All sites in both site collections have the http-All sites in either site collection would have the http://contoso.com/sites/teamA or / teamB root .: //contoso.com/sites/teamA or / teamB root. The only way to have a different URL root is to create a different web application.

To better align with SharePoint best practices, you should use host-named site collections. Host-named site collections allow you to assign custom names to any site collection you use in a web application Host-named site collections allow you to assign custom names to each site collection that you create in a web application. For example, you can have two site collections in the same web application addressed like this: http://TeamA.contoso.com and http://TeamA.contoso.com and http://TeamB.contoso.com.://TeamB.contoso.com. This is much more scalable and has been heavily tested in SharePoint.

Because there are hierarchical relationships between site collections and sites, certain aspects of control and functionality can be configured at the site collection level and used at the site level. This offers numerous advantages: Because site collections and sites exist in a parent-child relationship, there are aspects of control and functionality that can be configured at the site collection level and used at the site level. This provides many benefits as follows:

  • For site designers, a site collection's galleries and libraries (such as the Master Page Gallery or the Site Collection Images library) provide a means for creating a unified, branded user experience across all sites in the site collection.

  • For site collection administrators, a site collection provides a unified mechanism and scope for administration. For example, security, policies, and features can be managed for an entire site collection. For site collection administrators, a site collection provides a unified mechanism and scope for administration. For example, security, policies, and features can be managed for a whole site collection; Site Collection Web Analytics Reports, audit log reports, and other data can help administrators track site collection security and performance.

    SharePoint Server 2019 offers the choice to create modern Team and Communication sites like in SharePoint in Microsoft 365, or keep the classic experience. Using the modern experience site collections is inline with our recommendation to create site collections for each unit of work to make it easier if you choose to migrate to SharePoint Create site collections for each unit of work to make it easier when you decide to migrate to SharePoint.

  • Farm administrators can move site collections between content databases. That way they can manage the size of the content databases. By doing this, farm administrators can manage the size of their content databases.

  • For site authors, shared site columns, content types, web parts, authoring resources, workflows, and other site collection features provide a consistent authoring environment.

  • For site users, a site collection's unified navigation, branding, and search tools provide a unified website experience.

Every site collection starts as a single, top-level site. Because it is a site, its structure and functionality is based on a site template. Because it is a site, its structure and functionality is based on a site template. SharePoint Server provides many site templates, plus you can also create and use your own as needed. The following tables outline the The following tables describe the site collection templates that are available in SharePoint Servers 2016 and 2019.

Table: Site templates in SharePoint Server 2016 and 2019Table: Site templates in SharePoint Servers 2016 and 2019

TypeTypeSurnameSurnamedescriptionDescriptionAvailabilityAvailability
CollaborationCollaboration
Team Site
A place to work together with a group of people.
SharePoint Server 2019 offers a modern and classic team website.SharePoint Server 2019 offers a modern and classic team site.
Site collection and site
CollaborationCollaboration
BlogBlog
A site for a person or team to post ideas, observations, and expertise that site visitors can comment on.
Site collection and site
CollaborationCollaboration
Developer Site
A site for developers to build, test, and publish apps for Office.
Site collection only
CollaborationCollaboration
Project Site
A website for managing and collaborating on a project. A site for managing and collaborating on a project. This site template brings all status, communication, and artifacts relevant to the project into one place.
Site collection and site
CollaborationCollaboration
Community Site
A place where community members discuss topics of common interest. Members can find and search relevant content using each category, sort discussions by popularity, or only view posts that have the best answer. Members receive reliability points for their participation in the community, for example for starting discussions and for given answers, as well as for clicking "Like" on contributions and giving best answers. A place where community members discuss topics of common interest. Members can browse and discover relevant content by exploring categories, sorting discussions, by popularity or by viewing only posts that have a best reply. Members gain reputation points by participating in the community, such as starting discussions and replying to them, liking posts, and specifying best replies.
Site collection and site
CompaniesEnterprise
Document Center
A site to centrally manage documents in your enterprise.
Site collection and site
CompaniesEnterprise
In-Place Hold Policy Center
A site to manage policies to preserve content for specific amounts of time.
Site collection only
CompaniesEnterprise
eDiscovery CentereDiscovery Center
A site to manage the preservation, search, and export of content for legal matters and investigations.
Site collection only
CompaniesEnterprise
Data Archive Records Center
This template will be used to create a records management website. For records management, the routing table can be configured to route incoming files to specific locations. The website also allows you to specify whether records can be deleted or changed after they have been added to the repository. Records managers can configure the routing table to direct incoming files to specific locations. The site also lets you manage whether records can be deleted or modified after they are added to the repository.
Site collection and site
CompaniesEnterprise
Business Intelligence CenterBusiness Intelligence Center
A site for presenting Business Intelligence content.
Site collection and site
CompaniesEnterprise
Compliance Policy Center
A site to manage policies and delete documents after specified times.
Site collection and site
CompaniesEnterprise
Enterprise Search Center
A site focused on delivering an enterprise-wide search experience.
Note:Grade:
Search Centers should be separate site collections because they search for information across a company portal or division. If you are creating a search center as a subsite, you must may have to create some workarounds for a full customization. For more information, see Customizing the Search Center.For more info, see Customizing the Search Center.
Site collection and site
CompaniesEnterprise
My Site Host
A site used for hosting personal sites (My Sites) and the public People Profile page.
Site collection only
CompaniesEnterprise
Community Portal
A site for discovering communities.
Site collection only
CompaniesEnterprise
Basic Search Center
A website to provide simple search functionality.It includes a welcome page with a search box that connects users to a search results page and an advanced search page. This search center is not displayed in the navigation. A site focused on delivering a basic search experience. It includes a welcome page with a search box that connects users to a search results page and an advanced search page. This Search Center will not appear in navigation.
Note:Grade:
Search Centers should be separate site collections because they search for information across a company portal or division. If you are creating a search center as a subsite, you must may have to create some workarounds for a full customization. For more information, see Customizing the Search Center.For more info, see Customizing the Search Center.
Site collection and site
CompaniesEnterprise
Visio Process Repository
A website for viewing, sharing, and saving Visio process diagrams. It includes a versioned document library and templates for standard flowcharts, cross-functional flowcharts, and BPMN diagrams. A site for viewing, sharing, and storing Visio process diagrams. It includes a versioned document library and templates for Basic Flowcharts, Cross-functional Flowcharts, and BPMN diagrams.
Note:Grade:
The Visio Process Repository site template will be removed in the next version of SharePoint Server.
Site collection and site
PublishingPublishing
Publishing Portal
An initial hierarchy for a web site intended for the Internet or a large intranet portal. This website can easily be given recognizable branding. Most of the time, this website has many more readers than contributors and is used to publish websites with approval workflows. A starter hierarchy for an Internet-facing site or a large intranet portal. This site can be customized easily with distinctive branding. Typically, this site has many more readers than contributors and it is used to publish web pages with approval workflows.
Site collection only
PublishingPublishing
Enterprise Wiki
A site for publishing knowledge that you capture and want to share across the enterprise.
Site collection and site
PublishingPublishing
Product Catalog
A site for managing product catalog data that can be published to an Internet-facing site through search.
Site collection only
PublishingPublishing
Communication Site
Available in SharePoint Server 2019 only as a modern experience.A website for posting dynamic, modern content to people in your organization to keep them updated on topics, events, or projects. A site for publishing dynamic, modern content to people in your organization to keep them informed and engaged on topics, events, or projects.
Site collection only
CustomCustom
<Select template later…>
Create an empty site and pick a template for the site at a later time.
Site collection only

The following table describes the 2013 experience version site templates that are available in SharePoint 2013.

Table: Site templates for the 2013 user interface version of SharePoint 2013Table: 2013 experience version site templates in SharePoint 2013

TypeTypeSurnameSurnamedescriptionDescriptionAvailabilityAvailability
CollaborationCollaboration
Team Site
A place to work together with a group of people.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
BlogBlog
A site for a person or team to post ideas, observations, and expertise that site visitors can comment on.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Develop siteDevelop site
A site for developers to build, test, and publish apps for Office.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Project SiteProject Site
A website for managing and collaborating on a project. A site for managing and collaborating on a project. This site template brings all status, communication, and artifacts relevant to the project into one place.
Site collection and site, Server only
Community SiteCommunity Site
A place where community members discuss topics of common interest. Members can find and search relevant content using each category, sort discussions by popularity, or only view posts that have the best answer. Members receive reliability points for their participation in the community, for example for starting discussions and for given answers, as well as for clicking "Like" on contributions and giving best answers. A place where community members discuss topics of common interest. Members can browse and discover relevant content by exploring categories, sorting discussions, by popularity or by viewing only posts that have a best reply. Members gain reputation points by participating in the community, such as starting discussions and replying to them, liking posts, and specifying best replies.
Site collection and site, Server only
CompaniesEnterprise
Document Center
A site to centrally manage documents in your enterprise.
Site collection and site, Server only
eDiscovery CentereDiscovery Center
A site to manage the preservation, search, and export of content for legal matters and investigations.
Site collection only, Server only
Records CenterRecords Center
This template will be used to create a records management website. For records management, the routing table can be configured to route incoming files to specific locations. The website also allows you to specify whether records can be deleted or changed after they have been added to the repository. Records managers can configure the routing table to direct incoming files to specific locations. The site also lets you manage whether records can be deleted or modified after they are added to the repository.
Site collection and site, Server only
Business Intelligence CenterBusiness Intelligence Center
A site for presenting Business Intelligence content.
Site collection and site, Server only
Enterprise Search CenterEnterprise Search Center
A site focused on delivering an enterprise-wide search experience.
Note:Grade:
Search centers should use their own website collections as they are used to search for information in company portals or departments. If you are creating a search center as a subsite, you may need to provide a few workarounds to allow full customization. For more information, see Customizing the Search Center in the MSDN Library. Search Centers should be separate site collections because they search for information across a company portal or division. If you create a search center as a subsite, you might have to create some workarounds for a full customization. For more information, see Customizing the Search Center in the MSDN Library.
Site collection and site, Server only
My Site HostMy Site Host
A site used for hosting personal sites (My Sites) and the public People Profile page.
Site collection only, server only
Community portalCommunity portal
A site for discovering communities.
Site collection only, Server only
Basic search centerBasic search center
A website to provide simple search functionality. It includes a welcome page with a search box that connects users to a search results page and an advanced search page. This search center is not displayed in the navigation. A site focused on delivering a basic search experience. It includes a welcome page with a search box that connects users to a search results page and an advanced search page. This Search Center will not appear in navigation.
Note:Grade:
Search centers should use their own website collections as they are used to search for information in company portals or departments. When creating a search center as a subsite, you may need to provide a few workarounds to allow full customization. For more information, see Customizing the Search Center in the MSDN Library. Search Centers should be separate site collections because they search for information across a company portal or division. If you create a search center as a subsite, you might have to create some workarounds for a full customization. For more information, see Customizing the Search Center in the MSDN Library.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Visio Process RepositoryVisio Process Repository
A website for viewing, sharing, and saving Visio process diagrams. It includes a versioned document library and templates for standard flowcharts, cross-functional flowcharts, and BPMN diagrams. A site for viewing, sharing, and storing Visio process diagrams. It includes a versioned document library and templates for Basic Flowcharts, Cross-functional Flowcharts, and BPMN diagrams.
Note:Grade:
The Visio Process Repository site template will be removed in the next version of SharePoint Server.
Site collection and site, Server only
PublishingPublishing
Publishing Portal
An initial hierarchy for a web site intended for the Internet or a large intranet portal. This website can easily be given recognizable branding. Most of the time, this website has many more readers than contributors and is used to publish websites with approval workflows. A starter hierarchy for an Internet-facing site or a large intranet portal. This site can be customized easily with distinctive branding. Typically, this site has many more readers than contributors and it is used to publish web pages with approval workflows.
Site collection only, server only
Enterprise WikiEnterprise Wiki
A site for publishing knowledge that you capture and want to share across the enterprise.
Site collection and site, Server only
Product CatalogProduct Catalog
A site for managing product catalog data that can be published to an Internet-facing site through search.
Site collection only, server only
BlankBlank
Publishing site
A blank website to expand your website and publish web pages quickly. Contributors can work on draft versions of pages and publish them to make them visible to readers. The website contains document and picture libraries for storing web publishing objects. Contributors can work on draft versions of pages and publish them to make them visible to readers. The site includes document and image libraries for storing web publishing assets.
Website only, Server onlySite only, Server only
Publishing Site with workflow
A website for publishing web pages on a schedule and with approval workflows. It contains document and picture libraries for storing web publishing objects. By default, you can only create websites with this template on this website. It includes document and image libraries for storing web publishing assets. By default, only sites with this template can be created under this site.
Website only, Server onlySite only, Server only
CustomCustom
<Select template later…>
Create an empty site and pick a template for the site at a later time.
Site collection only, Server and Foundation

The following table describes the 2010 experience version site templates that are available in SharePoint 2013.

Table: Site templates for the 2010 version environment in SharePoint 2013Table: 2010 experience version site templates in SharePoint 2013

TypeTypeSurnameSurnamedescriptionDescriptionAvailabilityAvailability
Collaboration
Team Site
Same functionality as the 2013 Team site.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Blank site
A blank site for you to customize based on your requirements.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Document Workspace
A website where colleagues can collaborate on a document. It provides a document library for storing the primary document and auxiliary files. It provides a document library for storing the primary document and supporting files.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
BlogBlog
Same functionality as the 2013 Blog site.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Group Work Site
This template provides a groupware solution that teams can use to create, organize, and share information. This template provides a groupware solution that enables teams to create, organize, and share information. It includes a Group Calendar, Circulation, Phone-Call Memo, a document library, and other basic lists.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Visio Process Repository
Same functionality as the 2013 Visio Process Repository.
Site collection and site, Server only
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Meetings
Basic Meeting Workspace
A website for planning, organizing, and recording the results of a meeting. A site to plan, organize, and capture the results of a meeting. It provides lists for managing the agenda, meeting attendees, and documents.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Blank Meeting Workspace
A blank meeting site for you to customize based on your requirements.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Decision Meeting Workspace
A website for meetings where you can track status or make decisions. A site for meetings that track status or make decisions. It provides lists for creating tasks, storing documents, and recording decisions.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Social Meeting Workspace
A website for planning social occasions and events. It provides lists for tracking attendees, giving directions, and saving pictures of the event. A site to plan social occasions. It provides lists for tracking attendees, providing directions, and storing pictures of the event.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Multipage Meeting Workspace
A website for planning, organizing, and recording the results of a meeting. In addition to two blank pages that you can customize as required, it offers lists for managing the agenda and meeting participants. It provides lists for managing the agenda and meeting attendees in addition to two blank pages for you to customize based on your requirements.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
EnterpriseEnterprise
Document Center
A site to centrally manage documents in your enterprise.
Site collection and site, Server only
Data Archive Records Center
Use this template to create a records management website. To do this, the routing table can be configured to route incoming files to specific locations. Records managers can configure the routing table to direct incoming files to specific locations.
Site collection and site, Server only
Site collection and site, Server only
Business Intelligence CenterBusiness Intelligence Center
Same functionality as the 2013 Business Intelligence site.
Site collection only, server only
Site collection and site, Server only
Enterprise Search Center
A website for providing the search environment. It includes a search box with general purpose and person search areas. You can add and customize tabs to allow for more search areas or types of results. It includes a search box with scopes for general searches and for people searches. You can add and customize tabs to focus on other search scopes or result types.
Site collection and site, Server only
Site collection and site, Server only
My Site Host
Same functionality as the 2013 My Site Host site.
Site collection only, server only
Site collection and site, Server only
Basic Search Center
A website for providing the search environment. A site for delivering the search experience. The site includes pages for search results and advanced searches.
Site collection and site, Server and Foundation
Site collection and site, Server only
FAST Search CenterFAST Search Center
A site for delivering the FAST search experience.
Site collection and site, Server only
Site collection and site, Server only
Publishing
Publishing Portal
Same functionality as the 2013 Publishing Portal site.
Site collection only, server only
Enterprise Wiki
Same functionality as the 2013 Enterprise Wiki site.
Site collection only, server only
Site collection only, server only
Publishing Site with Workflow
Same functionality as the 2013 Publishing Site with Workflow site.
Version 2010 website only, Server2010 site only, Server only
Site collection only, server only
Custom
<Select template later…>
Same functionality as the 2013 option. option.
Site collection only, Server and Foundation