Manage sites and site collections

Sites become difficult to maintain, out of date, and less useful when too many people are coming to the site for different things. For example, if the same site is used for tracking customers, storing company policies, and sharing documents about products under development, then the site is much harder to organize and can quickly become cluttered. On the other hand, if you have too many sites, it can be difficult to locate the information you need.

In this article

Determine the number of sites and site collections

Decide whether to use site collections or subsites

Design the hierarchy of the site

Monitor site usage

Manage unused Web sites

Determine the number of sites and site collections

A number of factors inform the decision about how many sites and site collections you need, such as:

  • How many people are using the sites.

  • How the people using the sites are related to each other or interact with each other.

  • How people will use the site.

  • What type of content you expect to store in the sites.

  • How complex the information is that you that are trying to organize.

You should determine your list of site purposes and users, and decide how many individual sites you need.

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Decide whether to use site collections or subsites

You should decide whether to create your sites as top-level Web sites in separate site collections, or as subsites within the same site collection. This decision is based on how much the sites have in common with each other, whether you want the ability manage them individually, and whether you want them to share elements, such as navigation or search.

Within a site collection, all sites can use the same following elements:

  • Navigation bars (top link bar and breadcrumb bar)

  • Content types

  • Workflows

  • Security groups

  • Lookup fields across lists

  • Search scope

  • Feature set

Choose top-level Web sites in separate site collections when you want to do the following:

  • Separate security for different sites.

    Note: Although you can have unique permissions for a subsite, at times you may want the two sites to have no users and permissions in common. In those cases, you should use separate site collections.

  • Move the site collection to a different database in the future.

  • Backup or restore just that site.

  • Scope a workflow to just that site.

  • Use quotas to separately manage the amount of space each site takes up.

  • Decentralize your administration and have site collection administrators perform tasks like approving requests for access or confirming site use.

Choose subsites within the same site collection when you want to do the following:

  • Share navigation between sites.

  • Have subsites inherit permissions from parent sites.

  • Share lists between sites.

  • Share design elements (such as themes or styles) between sites.

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Design the hierarchy of the site

Web sites typically exist in a hierarchy. At the top of the hierarchy is a top-level Web site. Under this top-level site, there can be multiple subsites (including Document Workspace sites and Meeting Workspace sites), and each subsite can contain other subsites. The entire structure of a top-level Web site and all of its subsites is called a site collection.

You can use a site planning tool that is compatible with Windows SharePoint Services, such as the downloadable Microsoft Office Visio drawing and diagramming software template, or other method to create a site hierarchy diagram, including all site collections, top-level Web sites, and subsites that you need.

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Monitor site usage

If you want to know what kind of effect your Web site has, you need to track how many users visit your site, the type and number of hits your site receives, and other site-usage information. Summary and detailed usage reports supply information such as the following:

  • Number of hits per page

  • Number of unique users

  • Browser and operation system information

  • Referring domains and URLs

Tracking usage information can be useful for identifying which content on your site is being heavily used (and therefore should be kept) and which content is not being heavily used (and may be a candidate for archival). In addition to site usage statistics, you can track how much storage space your site is taking up and the level of activity that your site is generating. Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 gathers this information as part of the quota tracking for sites.

As a site owner, you can maintain control over server resources and can carefully monitor areas such as storage space by checking quotas that have been set for sites.

To help manage site and server resources, an administrator of the local server computer can specify quotas that are used to limit the amount of storage available on a site and the number of users that are added to a site collection. These quotas helps to ensure that one site cannot deplete as many resources that cause other sites to no longer function.

The server administrator can use locks to stop sites from exceeding your storage quota limits, and to block all users from accessing a site if necessary.

A site can be locked automatically when the site exceeds the maximum storage quota. The server administrator can also lock a site manually if, for example, the site is in violation of site use policies. Depending on the type of lock, the result of a locked site is different:

  • When a site is locked for exceeding a storage quota limit, users who attempt to upload new content see a disk full error.

  • When a site is locked manually, users who attempt to view the site will see an access denied message.

Site administrators cannot unlock sites by themselves if the sites are locked for exceeding quota limits. Only a server administrator can clear a manual lock. To find out about current quota values and data for your site, contact your server administrator.

View quota data for a site

  1. On the Site Actions menu Button image , click Site Settings.

    Note: On a site for which the Site Actions menu is customized, point to Site Settings, and then click the settings that you want to view.

  1. On the Site Settings page, in the Site Collection Administration section, click Usage summary.

  2. To view details about the storage that is being used, in the Storage section, click Storage Space Allocation.

  3. On the Storage Space Allocation page, in the Select a View section, do one of the following:

    • To view storage space allocation for document libraries, click Document Libraries.

    • To view storage space allocation for documents, click Documents.

    • To view storage space allocation for lists, click Lists.

    • To view storage space allocation for items in the Recycle Bin, click Recycle Bin.

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Manage unused Web sites

To control the number of unused Web sites on your server, notices can be sent to site collection owners requiring them to confirm that their sites collections are in use. Unconfirmed site collections can also be deleted automatically. This feature can be enabled and configured in Central Administration.

Use confirmation is similar to alerts. When you create a site collection, the site is added to the database and is logged it as an active site. After a specified time, a e-mail notification is sent to the site collection owner asking the owner to either reconfirm or delete the unused site collection. The e-mail notification contains links to confirm that a site collection is active or to delete a site collection. After an e-mail notification is sent to the site collection owner, there are three possible outcomes:

  • If the site is in use, the site collection owner confirms that the site collection is active and the site collection is preserved. When the owner clicks the confirmation link, the certification date of the site is renewed.

  • If the site collection is not in use, the owner can delete the site collection by following the instructions in the e-mail notification, or can do nothing. The owner continues to receive periodic e-mail notifications according to the interval specified by the server administrator until the owner confirms that the site collection is in use or deletes the site collection.

  • If the site collection is not in use, and the server administrator has turned on the automatic deletion feature, e-mail notifications are sent to the site collection owner a specific number of times. If the site collection owner does not confirm site collection use, then the site collection is deleted automatically.

The following best practices are recommended to safeguard against the automatic deletion of a site:

  • Require a secondary contact when users create site collections.

    By default, the site collection creator is listed as site collection owner. Depending on your configuration, the user must also specify a secondary contact for the site collection. Confirmation notifications are automatically sent to the site collection owner and the secondary contact, if one exists.

  • Keep your organization informed of vacations and leaves of absence.

    For example, if a site collection owner is unavailable for four weeks, and the server administrator has set site collections to be deleted after four missed weekly confirmations, then the site might be deleted without giving the owner a chance to confirm usage.

  • Ensure that there is a regular schedule to back up site collections regularly so you can restore a recent copy if a site collection is deleted unintentionally.

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