Create or delete a site collection

Overview of site collections

A Microsoft SharePoint Online site collection is a top-level (or root) site that contains subsites. The subsites share administration settings, navigation, and permissions (each of which can be changed for individual subsites as needed). You can create multiple site collections in Office 365 business plans other than Office 365 Business, Office 365 Small Business, and Office 365 Small Business Premium plans (which cannot have more than one site collection).

Hierarchical diagram of a site collection showing a top-level site and subsites.

The sections below provide you with step-by-step instructions for how to create and delete site collections.

As a SharePoint Online admin, you can create organization-wide site collections and assign site collection administrators to set up and maintain the sites, features, and settings for their collections.

  1. Sign in to Office 365 as a Global or SharePoint Online admin.

  2. Select the app launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon in the upper-left and choose Admin.

  3. Choose Resources in the left navigation and then Sites.

    Office 365 admin sites
  4. Choose Add a site.

    Office 365 admin center create site collection

    Note: If you do not see the options above, choose Admin centers > SharePoint and then choose New > Private Site Collection. Site Collection page with New selected

  5. Fill out the new site collection properties:

    New Site Collection dialog box (top half)
    • In the Title box, type a name for the site collection.

    • In the Web Site Address drop-down lists, select a domain name and a URL path—either /sites/ or /teams/—and then type a URL name for the site collection.

    • In the Template Selection section, in the Select a language drop-down list, choose a language for the site collection. You can enable the SharePoint multiple language interface on your sites, but the primary language for the site collection will remain the one you select here.

      Note: It's important to select the appropriate language for the site collection, because once it's set, it cannot be changed. After creating a site collection, verify the locale and regional settings are accurate. (For example, a site created for Chinese will have its locale set to China.)

    • In the Template Selection section, under Select a template, choose the template that most closely describes the purpose of your site collection. For example, if your site collection will be used for a team collaboration, choose Team Site.

      Tip: For more information on templates, see Using templates to create different kinds of SharePoint Online sites.

    • In the Time Zone box, select the time zone that’s appropriate for the location of the site collection.

    • In the Administrator box, type the user name of your site collection administrator. You can also use the Check Names or Browse button to find a user to make site collection administrator.

    • In the Storage Quota box, type the number of megabytes (MB) you want to allocate to this site collection. Do not exceed the available amount that is displayed next to the box.

    • In the Server Resource Quota box, type the amount of resources you want to allocate to the site collection.

      The server resource quota is a number that represents a quantity of resources such as processor time and memory shared between site collections. If your site collection is a typical out-of-the-box team site, personal site, etc., you can accept the resource quota default. If you are creating a customized site collection or sandboxed solution that will run code or have heavier usage overall, you may want to increase the number for those site collections. For more information on managing server resource quotas, see Manage SharePoint Online server resource quotas for sandboxed solutions.

  6. Click OK.

    The new site collection will appear in the URL list. The URL is the site collection location at which the administrator can start to create and manage sites.

    Tip: To learn about creating sites, see Create a site.

If a site collection is no longer needed, you can delete it. For example, if you created a team site to track progress on a specific project, and the project has ended and you decide to delete the site collection after a certain amount of time has passed. Deleted site collections go into the site collection Recycle Bin and are retained for 30 days by default.

Important:  Before you delete a site collection, be sure you have read the SharePoint Online Service Description for your plan. This document outlines the data backup schedule maintained by Microsoft for Office 365 SharePoint Online sites.

When you delete a site collection, you’re also deleting the hierarchy of sites in the collection. This includes all content and user information, such as:

  • Documents and document libraries.

  • Lists and list data, including surveys, discussions, announcements, and events.

  • Site configuration settings.

  • Role and security information that is related to the site or its subsites.

  • Subsites of the top-level website, their contents, and user information.

You should also notify the site collection owners and subsite owners in advance to give them time to move their data to another location, and tell users when the sites will be deleted. Users can access a deleted site collection for up to several minutes after it has been deleted.

If you accidentally delete a site collection, it can be restored from the site collection Recycle Bin by a site collection administrator within 30 days. If you need a site collection restored after this 30-day period has elapsed, it can be restored by Microsoft within 14 days by contacting Office 365 via a Service Request.

After you’ve taken the proper precautions, you can delete a site collection by doing the following:

  1. Sign in to Office 365 as a Global or SharePoint Online admin.

  2. Select the app launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon in the upper-left and choose Admin.

  3. Choose Admin centers > SharePoint.

  4. Select the check box next to the site collection that you want to delete. You can bulk delete by selecting multiple site collections.

  5. On the Site Collections tab, select Delete.

    Site Collection page with Delete selected
  6. Confirm the information in the Delete Site Collections dialog box, and then select Delete.

    Delete Site Collection dialog box

See Also

Enable or disable site collection features

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