Note: The SharePoint Online Public Website information in this article applies only if your organization purchased Office 365 prior to March 9, 2015. If you purchased Office 365 after March 9, 2015, use an Office 365 website hosting partner.
If you’ve been using Office 365 for a while, your account was updated to the latest version of Office 365. As a result, you now have two public websites—your existing, or pre-upgrade, website and the new website introduced with the upgrade. You can keep and use both sites and share them publicly. But only one public website can be associated with your custom domain.
There are many new features in the new public website that make designing a professional-looking website easier, so we encourage you to give it a try. Or you can continue using your original website—there’s no need to upgrade. When you’re ready to take advantage of the new features of the new website, including updated design tools and new templates, you can upgrade your public website. If you don’t like the result, you can always stick with your existing website. With both websites available, you can take your time upgrading.
If two public websites appear on the Manage public website page in Office 365, you can decide which website—but only one website—to use with a custom domain. Click Change address next to the website that you want to use with your domain. In the drop-down list, select the domain name that you want to associate with the site, and then click Save.
Note: If you see only one public website on the Manage public website page, that’s fine. It means that you haven’t worked with an earlier version of Office 365.
You can use only one website with your custom domain. Which one should you use?
If you already are in the process of designing a website or have a completed website, you can stay with the earlier website, which appears on the top of the Manage public website page.
If you haven’t yet finished designing your website, we recommend using the new website and tools. Creating the look and feel that you want is faster and easier (see Get started with the public website for a list of new features). Or, you can upgrade your existing public website.
Whichever one you choose to use, to design your website so it has the features and look and feel that you want, click Design this site next to the website you want to update.
Change the address of a public website
After you’ve created the look and feel you want and you’re ready to use a website as your public website, change the address so that customers can get to the website by typing your domain name.
On the Manage public website page, next to the website you’ve updated, click Change address. In the drop-down list, select your domain name, like http://www.fourthcoffee.com, and then click Save.
Note: You might see messages in the drop-down list, saying that a domain is already in use. You can take steps to work around this situation.
It takes a little while to update the URL to your domain. Two things to keep in mind:
Until the change is complete, you’ll see a message on the page, telling you that the update is still in progress. When you see that the Current address for the website has been updated, the change is complete.
The Change address option is unavailable until we’ve finished making the address change. You can’t use the Change address option again for either website until the change in progress is complete.
When is your website visible on the Internet?
Other people may be able to see one or both of your public websites on the Internet, but it depends on the website.
For the earlier website:
The website can always be seen by people on the Internet at the address shown as Current address.
If you set up your website with your custom domain but now you don’t want to use that website for your business, you can change the address back to the initial domain name so the website’s not easily discovered. Click Change address next to the website, and then select the initial address, like contoso.sharepoint.com. People will still be able to see your website if they type contoso.sharepoint.com.
For the new website:
You can decide when to make the website public on the Internet for everyone to see, at the address shown as Current address. At the top of the page, click Sites to go to your website, and then click Website offline to switch the setting and make the website public (online). The new website isn’t initially visible on the Internet.
You can, alternatively, manage if the website is seen and can be changed by a small group of people that you choose. Click Sites > Share, and then type one or more email addresses.
Working with common errors and messages
This section explains several common errors and messages that might occur when you change the address for your public websites.
Use a domain that shows this message: Domain name already in use or Another domain name already in use
When you choose Change address, one of the domain names in the drop-down list may have a note that says (domain name already in use). If you have more than one custom domain in Office 365, you’ll also see another note: (another domain name already in use).
These messages mean that you’re already using a custom domain for your other public website. You won’t be able to change the address for this website to use a custom domain until you remove the domain from the Office 365 public website that’s currently using it.
Here’s how to use a custom domain with the other public website.
On the Manage public website page, next to the Office 365 website that has a custom domain URL set, like www.fourthcoffee.com, click Change address.
In the drop-down list, select the initial domain name, like contoso-public.sharepoint.com or contoso.sharepoint.com.
When the change is complete, you’ll be able to use the custom domain for the address of the website you were originally working with.
Understanding the following message: Overwrite DNS record?
You’ll see a message titled Overwrite DNS record? when you’ve set a custom domain for one public website. You’ll then remove the domain and add it to your other public website. When you see this message, click Update to continue and complete the change.
This message lets you know about a DNS records change that Office 365 makes in the background to make sure that the address change will work correctly. If you had a custom domain setup that used these DNS records, the message would alert you that the records were being changed to make sure that you wanted to continue.