About Webs and subwebs
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When working with a large Web site, it's often easier to break up the site into smaller subwebs. A subweb is a complete SharePoint Web site that is located in a subdirectory of the root Web site or of another subweb. Each subweb can have many levels of subdirectories.
A root Web site is a SharePoint Web site that is the top-level content directory of a Web server or, in a multi-hosting environment, of a virtual Web server. The content of the root Web site can be contained in many levels of subdirectories. However, there is only one root Web site per Web server or virtual server.
For example, if a company has an intranet, a good strategy is to have a subweb for each major department. That way, each group can manage their own site and the main home page in the parent Web site can provide links among the departmental sites.
There are several benefits to setting up your team site with subwebs:
Each subweb can be maintained by a different owner.
Each subweb can maintain separate security settings.
Even though subwebs appear below other Web sites in the Web server's file system and URL space, the content of a subweb is not included in its parent Web site. An author of a Web site based on SharePoint Team Services does not automatically have permission to edit any of its subwebs, and users cannot browse from a parent Web site to a subweb. SharePoint Team Services maintains this separation of content automatically.
About managing subwebs
Using the site administration Web pages you can:
Create or delete subwebs
Recalculate a Web or subweb
Specify unique permissions for the subweb or use the user accounts and roles of the parent Web
Administrative options not available when working in a subweb
Some site administration options are not available from within a subweb; these include:
Also, if a subweb is set up to use the parent Web site's account and roles, options for managing accounts and roles do not appear.
To configure any of the above options, you must use the site administration pages from the root-level Web site of the server or virtual server.
Should I create a subweb or a virtual server?
There are many factors to consider when organizing your Web server's content into sub-areas. In general, you should create a virtual server when:
You want the content area to have its own root-level Web name. For example, http://server-name.
You believe the content will increase greatly over time.
You should create a subweb when:
Having a root-level Web name isn't important. For example, http://server-name/subweb.
You are dividing your content up into relatively small areas with no major growth anticipated.
To create a new virtual server, you use the Internet Services Manager in Microsoft Windows 2000 or later.