Plan My Sites
Updated: February 26, 2009
Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007
In this article:
To effectively plan My Sites, you must decide the following:
Whether or not to activate the My Site feature.
Which users you want to have My Sites.
Where to store and manage personal sites within and across Shared Services Providers (SSPs).
Which templates will be used in My Sites and which Web Parts will be used to extend their functionality.
Which policies will be applied for viewing user profile information in the public profile.
Which personalization sites to create on other site collections.
About My Sites
In Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, My Sites are special SharePoint sites that are personalized for each user. My Sites are enabled by default, and every user in an organization has a unique My Site.
A My Site is composed of three types of My Site pages, each with its own template:
Public profile page Anyone in the organization can see a public profile page, which is hosted in the My Site template.
Personal site This is for storage of each user's content and for easy collaboration with colleagues. Each personal site has a private home page that only that user can see.
Personalization site This is owned by site collection administrators or users designated as site administrators by the site collection administrator, and contains information personalized and targeted to the user. Each My Site provides a personalized navigation bar that connects personalization sites with other parts of the My Site.
My Sites also include personalized views of links, documents, and other Office SharePoint Server 2007 features.
Each user can view the My Site by clicking on the My Site link in the portal site. The My Links menu includes links to all sites of which someone is a member, and links to pages where users can add to and manage the links.
Users can navigate between their personal site home pages, the public profile, and personalization sites by clicking the tabs in the My Site top link bar.
The common features of all personalization sites include:
Branding This is inherited from the main site, and replaces the site banner logo with the My Site logo.
Top and left navigation sections The left pane contains a picture of the user and the Quick Launch, and the top link bar is specialized for My Sites.
Four Web Part zones The four zones include top, bottom, middle left and middle right.
The administrator of each part of My Site has a Site Actions menu that has the following actions available:
Create The administrator can add a library, list, or Web page on the site collection that contains My Sites. This library typically contains content, such as pictures for users, lists for business data Web Parts, and other documents and files needed for public profiles and My Site.
Edit Page The administrator can edit the Web Parts for the page.
Site Settings The administrator can change the settings for the page.
When planning My Sites, ensure that there is a common look that sets them aside from other pages in the site, while still being consistent with the overall appearance of your site. The templates used for My Sites can be customized just as any other template or site. Before you modify the templates for My Sites, it is a good idea to understand the default appearance and functionality of the templates, and the individual Web Parts used by default or available for each site.
For more information about templates and Web Parts in My Sites, see Plan for personalized Web Parts.
About the public profile page
The public profile page, also known as the My Site Public Page, is the public view of each user's user profile and My Site. The public profile is accessed by clicking any link to a user within a portal site or site collection, including links in search results. Users can link to edit their own public profiles on the My Profile link in their My Sites.
The layout of public profiles is designed by the site collection administrator for the site that hosts My Sites, and possibly a designer. Though the same user profile is used in every site collection in a single SSP, the look of the public profile can vary from SSP to SSP. Some consistency of the public profile is a good idea, but different sites created for different purposes have good reasons to vary some of their content and appearance. The default layout includes:
Quick Launch Links to shared lists, such as Shared Documents and Shared Pictures, and My Site subsites, such as workspaces. These links enable users who visit someone's public profile to quickly view shared content.
As seen by drop-down list Seen by users who view their own profile, and has options to see how the public profile looks for different groups of users. The drop-down list is a good way to check that selected policies are working properly.
Web Parts These are in each of the four zones.
For details about the Web Parts available for the public profile, see Plan for personalized Web Parts.
From their own public profile pages, users can return to the personal site by clicking My Home on the My Site top link bar. Users who view public profiles for other users will not see a My Site top link bar because they are not viewing pages in their own My Sites.
About personal sites
The personal site is each user's My Site home page. The personal site is private by default, so the home page of each personal site can only be viewed by the site owner. The personal site is the page that appears when users click the My Site link for the site, and can also be accessed by clicking My Home on the My Site top link bar by users who want to view their own public profiles. It is also the page that appears when users click links to their own name.
Because the home page of each personal site is private, there are no policy considerations during planning. Each user that has a personal site is administrator of the site and can create and edit other pages, change the default layout or customize the page to personal taste, and change site settings. The default layout for personal sites includes:
Quick Launch links to:
View All Site Content page.
Public profile page and sections within the public profile.
Shared documents and pictures visible to other users on the public page.
Lists, discussions, surveys, and sites added by the user and visible to other users on the public page.
Web Parts in each of the four zones of the home page, and contain private content viewed only by the user of the personal site.
Recycle Bin for the personal site, which is visible only by the user of the personal site.
All of the Quick Launch links except the Recycle Bin are visible to other users on the public page.
Because each user selects the Web Parts to use for the home page of the personal site, there are fewer planning considerations for Web Parts.
For more information about Web Part planning for personal sites, see Plan for personalized Web Parts.
The other pages, lists, libraries, and workspaces created in the personal site can be shared and viewed by other users, so in that sense the personal site is not entirely private. The planning considerations for subsites and other shared content are no different from those of any other site, except that decisions are up to each user during normal operations and not an organized planning process before initial deployment.
Users can use the links on the My Site top link bar to switch between the personal site, the public profile, and relevant personalization sites that have been linked by the SSP administrator or that they have personally pinned to the top link bar.
About personalization sites
Personalization sites target information personalized for every member of the site by using personalized Web Parts and user filter Web Parts. Each personalization site is created by a site collection administrator or another user that has site creation permissions.
Links to personalization sites can be added to the My Site top link bar by SSP administrators, and appear for every member of each site, or targeted to specific audiences. Links to personalization sites can also appear in the top navigation pane and the left pane of the All Site Content page of the main site. Personalization sites are registered by the SSP, so that personalization sites from all site collections that use the same shared service all appear in My Site, depending on the targeted audience of the personalization site link.
Individual users can add links to other personalization sites that have not been registered by an administrator, but those sites only appear on that user's My Site top link bar.
Personalization sites can be branded by using either the main site logo or the My Site logo. The default layout for personalization sites includes:
Picture of the user above the Quick Launch.
Quick Launch links, including links to the View All Site Content page and the Recycle Bin for the personalization site.
Filter Web Parts in the top zone.
A Content Editor Web Part in the middle left zone that explains the purpose and use of personalization sites.
A Site Actions menu. The top link bar for Site Settings contains an option to pin the personalization site to the My Site top link bar.
Each site uses filter Web Parts that connect the Web Parts on the site to each user who view the page, but there are no default Web Parts and each personalization site uses a different mix of Web Parts.
For more information about personalization site Web Parts, see Plan for personalized Web Parts.
Each personalization site can also include subsites, such as workspaces, lists, and libraries that are relevant to the personalization site.
Users can use the links on the My Site top link bar of personalization sites to go to the personal site or the public profile of My Site, and to go to any other linked personalization sites. They can also use the breadcrumb navigation to view other parts of the main site.
Plan for personalized sites
Different organizations have different personalization needs. When planning My Sites, you can consider several factors:
My Site feature Enabled by default in Office SharePoint Server 2007, but some organizations might want to disable it.
Personal sites in the SSP Where are personal sites stored and managed, and how My Sites will work across multiple SSPs.
Policies Which policies will you apply to information shown on each user's public profile.
Personalization sites Which personalization sites are needed, and who will create and own each site.
Use the Site creation worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73138&clcid=0x409) to record decisions regarding the sites and site collections for your organization. Also, remember to note who is likely to own managing the public profiles for each site collection. The personalization sites that you plan should be included on a per-site basis by site collection administrators, who will probably have more detailed worksheets planning the organization of the site collections they own. The site collection administrator will want to note plans for ownership of personalization sites that are created during initial deployment.
Activate the My Site feature
The My Site feature is activated by default at the Web application level. Some organizations might decide to deactivate the feature for the farm or for individual sites. When deciding whether to use My Site, the following factors are important:
Web application performance
The most important factor to consider when deciding whether to use the My Site feature is the purpose of your sites. Sites that are designed to enable users to work and share information easily will almost certainly benefit from My Sites. Each user in the organization will be able to easily find users and information related to them.
On the other hand, sites that are not built upon collaboration might not benefit from personal sites. An example is a large document repository that does not contain team sites or workspaces, does not target content by audience, and is not a place where users go to find or share organizational information about themselves or their colleagues.
Because My Site is activated at the Web application level, it is usually a good idea to retain the feature if any of the sites on the Web application will benefit from using it. One exception to this is a Web application that is optimizing for other functionality of Office SharePoint Server 2007. Although the My Site feature is not particularly resource-intensive, Web applications that have a large number of users, a high volume of content, and relatively little need for personalization or collaboration might benefit from deactivating the My Site feature. Administrators planning for personalization should talk to IT administrators in the organization about performance and capacity considerations if this is a concern.
As soon as the My Site feature is activated, any user profiles from an existing installation of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 are replaced by the public profiles that are part of My Site. A My Site link is added to the top menu bar for all sites in the site collection, along with the My Links menu.
You activate or deactivate the My Site feature from the Manage Web application features link in the SharePoint Web Application Management section of the Application Management tab in Central Administration. You can also limit the ability to create My Sites by removing the right from the authenticated users group for the SSP, or deleting that group from the Personalization Services Permissions page.
You can turn off My Sites at the site collection or site level by deactivating the Office SharePoint Server Standard feature in Site Settings, but you will also lose the search functionality for the site. This can be a good option for sites, such as large document repositories. In that case, the documents on the site can still be crawled so that they appear in searches from other sites in the server farm, without having to support My Sites features that are not relevant for the site but are available on other sites in the farm that have kept the features active.
Plan for My Sites in the SSP
SSP administrators for personalization consider the interaction between personalization sites across all site collections in all farms that use the SSP, and how personalization sites are made available within My Sites. They also make decisions about the presentation of the My Site as a whole. Their considerations include:
Trusted My Site host locations
Personal sites settings
These settings are managed from the User Profiles, Audiences, and Personal Sites section of the SSP.
Any user who has permission to create sites within a site collection can select the personalization site template, but not all of these sites will be relevant for all users in the site collection, much less all users within the same SSP. Personalization sites that are relevant for users across the SSP can be added as links to the My Site top link bar. Every user who uses My Site will see links to all personalization sites that were linked by the SSP administrator, regardless of site collection, except for personalization site links that are targeted to specific audiences.
Personalization sites planned for initial deployment are important enough to add to the My Site link for the users who use the corresponding site collection, but not all users in the SSP will consider the same personalization sites to be relevant. My Site links to personalization sites can be targeted to specific audiences so they are only seen by relevant users.
For information that applies to everyone in an organization, such as human resources information, a My Site link to the personalization site might make sense for everyone. For a personalization site that shows personalized content to the sales team, it makes sense to target the My Site link so that it appears only for members of that team, or for members of the sales site collection.
Use the Site creation worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73138&clcid=0x409) to record decisions regarding which personalization sites will be linked in My Site navigation. Also record decisions about targeting to audiences.
For more information about audience planning, see Plan for audiences.
Trusted My Site host locations
From the Shared Services Administration page, you can add additional trusted personal sites locations. This enables SSP administrators to select My Site locations from multiple site locations. This is needed in any scenario that has more than one SSP, such as a global deployment that has geographically distributed sets of shared services, where each SSP contains a distinct set of users. By listing the trusted personal site locations for all other SSPs, you can ensure that My Sites are created in the correct location for each user. This also enables you to replicate user profiles across SSPs.
Personal sites settings
By default, My Sites are stored on the server that contains shared services. Public profiles are created and stored on the Web application that contains the Shared Services Administration pages for the SSP, and personal sites are stored on the default Web application for the server. However, you can change the Web application so that My Sites can be stored on the default Web application, the Web application for the SSP, or any other Web application.
Personalization sites are created on individual site collections that can be on any farm that uses the same SSP. The settings for those sites are controlled by the administrators of those respective sites, by using the same Site Settings pages that are available for any site.
Settings for personal sites are managed by the SSP administrator, who can manage settings that are unique for those sites. Personal sites settings appear on the Manage Personal Sites page, which is available from the My Site settings link on the Shared Services Administration page. Manageable settings include the following:
Personal site services By default, personal sites are stored on the (same as My Site host) Web application for the server that runs the shared services, typically that uses port 80. The public profiles are also stored on the Web application for the SSP by using a different port. You can decide to set a different provider for personal site services so that personal sites are stored on a different Web application. This can be a different application on the same server or another server.The Web application must already exist. Existing sites are not migrated and must be moved manually. For large organizations, it might make sense to store personal sites on a separate server. When planning personal sites, SSP administrators should talk to IT administrators about the number of users and expected use of personal sites so that the appropriate choice can be implemented during initial deployment.If your deployment process involves using a test server before deploying to a production server, realize that restoring a backup image of the first server to the second server will not update the location of personal site services. You will have to update this property to use the personal site services on the second server.
Personal site location This is the Web directory where personal sites are stored and accessed. It is a good idea for this to be memorable, and it should not duplicate directories already used for other purposes. Otherwise, you do not have to plan for this setting.
Site naming format There are three options for the format, used to resolve possible conflicts between user names in multiple domains. If your users are in a single domain, you can format by using a simple user name. If your users are in multiple domains, it makes sense to use both domain and user name in the format. The option to resolve conflicts by formatting the second instance of the same user name by including the different domain name should be reserved for after initial deployment, such as when you are adding users from additional domains to a deployment that previously used accounts from a single domain.
Language options In a multilingual deployment, you can allow users to choose the language of their personal site.
Default reader site group You can select which users are members of the SharePoint Reader group for personal sites. By default, this Reader group is the same as the site collection that contains personal sites, but you can limit access based on specific policies of your organization.
Plan My Site policies
When considering how to implement My Sites, you must consider how much control you want to give individual users over the visibility and presentation of their personal information, and which policies you want to set for them based on the needs and policy decisions of your organization.
For more information about policy planning, such as what information to provide for all public profiles, and what information to change based on per-site needs, see Plan for people and user profiles.
Plan for personalization sites
When planning for personalization sites, consider the following factors:
How personalization sites will fit into the broader information architecture and site structure of your organization.
Which site collections will benefit from personalization sites.
Who will own each personalization site.
Which Web Parts you will use to target content to users of the personalization site.
Incorporate personalization sites into site collections
Site collection administrators, SSP administrators, and business planners should consider the information architecture planning to eliminate duplication and identify the most important personalization sites to implement during initial deployment.
It is not necessary to plan for all possible personalization sites. Most sites will be created as needed during ongoing operations. The sites identified during planning for initial deployment should be those that identify content needs or are relevant to key business processes, and can also benefit from personalization.
Good candidates for high-priority personalization sites are those that present a personalized view of key business applications. For example, a human resources site might have a personalization site with Web Parts that link to time reporting, benefits, and other similar business applications. A call center site might present information specific to each customer service representative on its personalization site. A sales reporting site tracking activity in Microsoft Office Excel 2007 might have a personalization site that filters columns based on each user's role on the sales team.
For each of those sites, any number of personalization sites is possible, but only a small number will be central to the purpose of each site. In many cases, one personalization site can capture the key personalized information for the central purposes of the site. If a potential personalization site does not correspond to the central purpose of the site, it can wait until after initial deployment.
Site collection administrators are responsible for planning personalization sites in their site collections and incorporating them into the overall structure of their sites. They identify the personalization sites to plan and implement during initial deployment, based on the central purposes of the site collection.
By default, personalization sites are added to the top bar navigation links for the site collection. Site collection administrators decide whether to keep those navigation links. If a personalization site is important enough to include during initial deployment, it is probably important enough to include at the top level of navigation. However, each organization will organize site navigation differently, and in some cases personalization sites might not be appropriate for the top level.
Use the Site creation worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73138&clcid=0x409) to record decisions regarding the organization of personalization sites.
Plan owners of personalization sites
Personalization sites are managed by their owners at the site collection level, and not within the SSP.
Plan Web Parts for personalization sites
Personalization sites can use any of the Web Parts provided by Office SharePoint Server 2007, along with any other Web Parts you might create or import from galleries of Web Parts created by others. Some Web Parts are used more often, or provide functionality that is specific to the personalization experience.
For more information about planning personalization Web parts, see Plan for personalized Web Parts.
Use the following worksheet to plan My Sites:
Site creation worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73138&clcid=0x409)
Download this book
This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:
See the full list of available books at Downloadable content for Office SharePoint Server 2007 .