There seems to be some confusion on the difference between site collections and sites in MOSS2007. Almost everyone I speak to that has experience with SPS 2003 stumble with this when they first start working with SharePoint 2007. So for that reason…I shall write a quick post about it.
In SharePoint Portal Server 2003, whenever you went to the sites directory and clicked the Create Site link under the Actions menu, you were creating a site collection. Every site collection has a top level site where things such as site templates, list templates, and cross site groups existed. Within a site collection, additional sites could be created that would share certain things (such as the template galleries and potentially permissions) with the top level site. In essence the site collection was it’s own unique hierarchy of SharePoint sites and for the most part completely independant of other site collections. In a stand alone installation of WSS there was typically only one site collection. In SPS, there could be hundreds which is why organizing them effectively in the Sites Directory and Areas (via listings) was very important and crucial. In fact, the primary role of SharePoint Portal Server aside from the additional functionality it provided in enterprise features such as search, audiences and personal sites – was the ability to organize the massive amounts of data that exists across multiple site collections better.
By default in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (if you are using the Corporate Intranet Portal template as your default site) when you go to the “Sites” link and click the Create site button…you are instead creating a site that is a member of the site collection your portal is in. So instead of having a portal layer and then a large number of unique collaborative collections below – everything now exists in a single site collection by default. This is great if within your organization, you want to “easily” share things such as templates, site columns, content types and navigational elements. Plus security and user management is much easier using this approach.
However some organizations will still require unique site collections since their business units are very unique and very little sharing is anticipated between groups. If that is the case, then you may instead wish to create site collections from the sites directory. To do this, you need to:
- Enable Self Service Site Creation in the Central Administration (Steps Below)
- Change the configuration settings under the Sites Directory (Steps Below)
So in essense, the new way is really much better since we no longer have to manage two completely separate levels however if you liked the old way better and want more unique site collections for your collaborative areas, you can have that too.
Enabling Self Service Site Creation
- Log into the Central Administration Site (Note this is a unique site collection as well and if you have it located on a funny port number, it is usually a good idea to add it to your My Links)
- Click Application Management
- Click Self-service site management
- Select the correct web application (that step is easy to miss) and select On for Enable Self-Service Site Creation
- Click OK
Enable the creation of Site Collections in Sites Directory
- From the portal, use the Site Actions menu, select Modify All Site Settings. If you are not on top level site you will need to go to Top Level Site Settings.
- Under site collection administration, select Site Directory Settings.
- Select the checkbox to create new site collections from sites directory.