Even with good governance, SharePoint sites can proliferate and grow out of control. Sites are created as they are needed, but sites are rarely deleted. Having sites persist when they're no longer needed takes up storage space, and may also be undesirable for compliance reasons.
You can use site policies to help control site proliferation. A site policy defines the lifecycle of a site by specifying when the site will be closed and when it will be deleted.
Closing a site indicates that the site is no longer in use, so that the site can eventually be deleted according to a schedule. A closed site does not appear in other places where sites are aggregated – for example, Outlook, Outlook Web Access, or Microsoft Project – but users can still modify a closed site and its content by using the URL to reach the site.
A site policy specifies the conditions under which to close or delete a site automatically. There are four options:
Do not close or delete the site automatically. If a policy with this option is applied to a site, the site owner must delete the site manually.
Delete the site automatically. If a policy with this option is applied to a site, the site owner must close the site manually, but then the site will be deleted automatically. A policy that deletes the site automatically specifies a rule for when to delete the site, and has the following options.
The action that triggers the site to be deleted, and the amount of time to wait after the trigger occurs before deleting the site. The trigger can be either site creation or site closure. For example, you could create a policy that deletes a site three months after the site is closed, or a policy that deletes a site one year after the site is created.
Whether to have SharePoint send a notification email message to the site owner a certain amount of time before the site is scheduled to be deleted.
Whether to allow site owners to postpone deletion of the site.
Close the site automatically and delete the site automatically. This option allows the same choices for how to delete the site, and also requires you to specify how long after its creation time the site will be closed.
Note: A site owner can re-open a closed site from the Site Closure and Deletion page in the Site Settings menu.
Run a workflow to close the site , and delete the site automatically. This option allows the same choices for how to delete the site, but also requires you to specify a workflow to run to close the site. When the workflow completes, SharePoint closes the site. You specify the name of the workflow, how long after the site is created to run the workflow, and whether to rerun the workflow periodically until the site is closed.
A site policy can also specify that if it is applied to the root site in a site collection, then when the root site is closed, the root site and all sub-sites will become read-only.
You define site policies from the root site of a site collection by using the Site Policies page in the Site Collection Administration menu. The policies are then available in every site in the site collection. Site owners can apply a policy to a site by using the Site Closure and Deletion page in the Site Settings menu. Site owners can also close a site by using the Site Closure and Deletion page.
Note: The site closure and site deletion dates on the page shown below are approximate. Sites are closed or deleted by a timer job that runs weekly by default. Therefore, sites will be closed or deleted within one week of the dates shown on the Site Closure and Deletion page.
To delete a site manually, a site owner must select Delete this site page from the Site Settings menu. The Site Closure and Deletion page shows when a site will be deleted automatically, but it does not provide an option for the site owner to delete the site manually.
If the site collection in which you define site policies is a content type hub, then you can publish policies and share them across site collections. Find more information about publishing and content type hubs in the See Also section.
Site policies are particularly valuable when you use them together with self-service site creation. When a farm administrator enables self-service site creation on a web application, the farm administrator can specify that users must classify each newly-created site by selecting a policy to apply to the site. The farm administrator can specify that site classification is required, optional, or hidden from the user. By using site policies together with self-service site creation, you can allow users to create their own sites, but also ensure that the sites will be deleted after a certain period of time.