Determine sites and subsites

Updated: April 28, 2009

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

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Topic Last Modified: 2016-11-14

To determine the sites and subsites of your Internet or intranet site based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, use your information architecture research (see Determine the information architecture of your site) to help plan one or more Office SharePoint Server 2007 site collections, each consisting of a top-level site and a set of subsites. This article introduces Office SharePoint Server 2007 site collections, sites, and subsites, and it recommends a method for recording your site structure decisions.

Note that we do not provide full guidance about how to map the results of your information architecture research to a particular site structure. However, the concepts and methods described in this article should help your design team members successfully convert their information architecture analysis into a useful solution based on Office SharePoint Server 2007.

In this article:

A site collection is a set of Web sites that has the same owner, shared administration settings, common navigation, and other common features and elements. Each site collection contains a top-level Web site and (usually) one or more subsites.

Grouping your Internet or intranet site's content and features into a site collection provides the following benefits:

  • For site designers, a site collection's galleries and libraries (such as the Master Page Gallery or the Site Collection Images library) provide a means for creating a unified, branded user experience across all of the site collection's subsites.

  • For site administrators, a site collection provides a unified mechanism and scope for administration. For example, site security, policies, and features can be managed for an entire site collection; site collection usage reports, audit log reports, and other data can help administrators track site security and performance.

  • For site authors, a site collection's shared content types, Web Parts, authoring resources, workflows, and other features provide a consistent authoring environment.

  • For site users, a site collection's unified navigation, branding, and search tools provide a unified Web site experience.

Below are some examples of solutions that benefit from being implemented as site collections:

  • Authoring and collaboration portal site   A site collection to support people in your organization who are working together to produce content useful for your organizational goals. Often, this type of portal site will include collaborative content that is not published but is only used internally, along with content intended for publication to an outside audience.

  • Publishing site   A site collection configured to let the content's audience view and interact with the site's content. Publishing sites are often implemented as two site collections — a production site collection that is the published site used by the content's audience and a staging site collection that is a mirror of the production site, used by the authoring team to view site content and test site features. For details on deploying content from a staging to a production site collection, see Plan content deployment.

  • Application portal sites   Portal sites that provide a Web-based view of business applications. Examples include:

    • Project Server portal site   A portal site in a large organization devoted to schedules and processes tracked in Microsoft Office Project Server 2007.

    • Microsoft Excel Web access portal site   A portal site that makes shared spreadsheets available to site users, and that often includes other business data made available by using the data connection library and the business data catalog.

    • Custom business application portal site   A portal site devoted to a business application used in your organization, such as a timecard reporting application.

A site collection consists of a top-level site and one or more subsites. Each subsite can be based on any Office SharePoint Server 2007 site template and can have other unique settings, along with unique content. Partition your site collection content into subsites to get finer control of the appearance, content, and features of the various pages in your site collection. The features of subsites that you can configure uniquely include:

When you create a site collection, additional items within the site collection are created based on the site template. If you will be using content deployment to deploy the site collection, do not delete or modify any of these automatically created items. Instead, create a custom site definition template and base the site collection on the custom site template.

Use the information in this section to help you identify which Office SharePoint Server 2007 site template to use for each site in your Office SharePoint Server 2007 solution. Although you can use a Office SharePoint Server 2007 template as it is initially configured, you can also modify any template's default settings by using the Office SharePoint Server 2007 site administration pages. In addition, you can modify a template's design and features by using Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 or Microsoft Visual Studio®.

The table below lists each template included in Office SharePoint Server 2007 and describes its purpose and general category. The categories are:

  • Publishing   Sites for presenting information to an audience. These templates include features that support creating and publishing pages based on page layouts.

  • Enterprise   Sites that provide features of use in the enterprise, either because of their scale or because they provide features commonly used in large organizations.

  • Meetings   Sites that provide features to support planning and running meetings.

  • Collaboration   Sites to support teams collaborating and disseminating information.


Template Purpose Category

Collaboration Portal

A starter site hierarchy for an intranet divisional portal. It includes a home page, a News site, a Site Directory, a Document Center, and a Search Center with Tabs. Typically, this site has an equal number of contributors and readers. Collaboration portals often include subsites based on templates in the Collaboration category.


Publishing Portal

A starter site hierarchy for an Internet-facing site or a large intranet portal. This site can be customized easily to supply distinctive branding. It includes a home page, a sample press releases subsite, a Search Center, and a login page. Typically, this site has many more readers than contributors.

This site enables content approval workflows by default for a more formal and controlled publishing process. It also restricts the rights of anonymous users to only be able to see content pages, but not to be able to view Office SharePoint Server 2007 application pages.


Document Center

A site to centrally manage documents in your enterprise.


Records Center

A site designed for records management. Records managers can configure the routing table to direct incoming files to specific locations. The site prevents records from being modified after they are added to it.


Site Directory

A site for listing and categorizing other sites in your organization.


Search Center

A site for delivering the Office SharePoint Server 2007 search experience. The site includes pages for search results and advanced searches.


Search Center with Tabs

A site for delivering the search experience. The welcome page includes a search box with two tabs: one for general searches, and another for searches for information about people. You can add and customize tabs to focus on other search scopes or result types.


My Site Host

A site used for hosting personal sites. The home page will always redirect to the user's My Site.


Basic Meeting Workspace

A site to plan, organize, and capture the results of a meeting. It provides lists for managing the agenda, meeting attendees, and documents.


Blank Meeting Workspace

A blank meeting site for you to customize based on your requirements.


Decision Meeting Workspace

A site for meetings that track status or make decisions. It provides lists for creating tasks, storing documents, and recording decisions.


Social Meeting Workspace

A site to plan social occasions.


Multipage Meeting Workspace

A site to plan a meeting, and to capture the meeting's decisions and other results. It provides lists for managing the meeting agenda and attendees, along with two blank pages for you to customize based on your requirements.


Team Site

A site for a team to quickly organize, author, and share information. It provides a document library and lists for managing announcements, calendar items, tasks, and discussions.


Blank Site

A blank site for you to customize based on your requirements.


Document Workspace

A site for colleagues to work together on a document. It provides a document library for storing the primary document and supporting files, a tasks list for assigning to-do items, and a links list to point to resources related to the document.


Wiki Site

A site for a community to brainstorm and share ideas. It provides Web pages that can be quickly edited to record information and then linked together through keywords.


Blog Site

A site for a person or team to post ideas, observations, and expertise that site visitors can comment on.


The following section provides more details about the publishing site templates.

Most solutions based on Office SharePoint Server 2007 will include one or more site collections based on a publishing template. The table below lists additional information to help you understand and evaluate the two main publishing site templates: Collaboration Portal, for intranet divisional or team portal sites and Publishing Portal, for Internet presence sites or large enterprise portal sites.


Element Collaboration Portal Publishing Portal

Initial structure

A top-level site and four subsites, including a Document Center site, a News site, a Search site, and a Site Directory site.

A top-level site and two subsites, including a Press Releases site and a Search site.

Publishing via workflow?



Master page



Top-level site default layout page



Search visibility?



Site collection features

Collect Signatures Workflow, Disposition Approval Workflow, Office SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure, Office SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection Features, Reporting, Routing Workflows, Translation Management Workflow

Collect Signatures Workflow, Disposition Approval Workflow, Office SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure, Routing Workflows, Translation Management Workflow

Top-level site features

Office SharePoint Server Publishing, Office SharePoint Server Standard Site Features, Team Collaboration Lists, Translation Management Library

Office SharePoint Server Publishing

Anonymous and Restricted Readers rights

Same as Reader.

Anonymous users and Restricted Readers cannot see Office SharePoint Server 2007 application pages, they can only see content pages.

For each site collection in your solution based on Office SharePoint Server 2007, use a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Office Excel 2007 to record your site and subsite planning decisions. Enter each site on a separate row of the spreadsheet. If you have multiple site collections in your solution, use a separate worksheet for each site collection.

The map that you create of your sites and subsites will provide essential data to use in your subsequent planning activities, such as planning site navigation, site features, and site security. Here are some recommended columns of information to record for each row in your sites and subsites spreadsheet:

  • Parent Site   The site directly above the current site in the site collection's hierarchy. For example, in sites based on the Collaboration Portal, the top-level site is the parent site of the Document Center site.

  • Purpose   The purpose of the current site. For example, for a site based on the Document Center site template, "a site to store product specifications and related marketing materials."

  • Template   The site template to use when creating the site, such as "Record Center."

  • Primary Audience   The group of users the site is primarily intended for, such as "product development group."

  • Site Owner   The individual or team responsible for administering the site. For example, for a site based on the Record Center site template, the site owner could be "Corporate Legal Department IT."

As needed, add other columns unique to your solution's goals. Then, as you plan your site structure, record your decisions in your sites and subsites spreadsheet.

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