The term “site” in SharePoint can actually mean many different things.
Depending on the context of the conversation, a SharePoint site be referred to as a web application, a web, a site collection, or a website. To add more confusion to understanding what a SharePoint site is and can do, there are different site templates in the different versions of SharePoint.
In this post, I will attempt to clarify what makes up a physical SharePoint site using a top down approach and clarify what types of sites you can create with the different versions of SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013.
SharePoint Web Applications, Site Collections, and Sites
The logical architecture of a SharePoint site starts with an entity called a web application.
A web application can be loosely correlated to a site within Internet Information Services (IIS) on Windows Server. A SharePoint web application can utilize multiple IIS sites via a concept called zones, but we will not go into depth about these in this article. Zones are basically a way to use multiple URLs, IP addresses, or different user authentication mechanisms to a single web application.
Within a web application there one or more site collections. And as the name site collection infers, these house a number of SharePoint sites (aka webs, sub sites, or SPWebs by the developer folk). Each site collection has a top level root site. The image below illustrates the top down tree view relationship between web applications, site collections, and sites.
What can you do with a SharePoint site?
SharePoint is so popular in corporate America because you can solve multiple business problems with one platform.
Many companies utilize SharePoint for their corporate intranets for document management and collaboration, project management, business intelligence reporting, centralized digital asset management, enterprise searching, business process automation with forms and workflow, fostering employee innovation and collaboration with social sites, and the use cases go on and on.
Other companies use SharePoint as an extranet where they share and collaborate on information with partners and customers.
Along with intranets and extranets businesses may use SharePoint as a web content management system for their public facing web sites where they can use the built-in functionality to author, approve, and publish content into the multilingual production web site for the world to consume.
SharePoint Site Templates
There are many comprehensive lists and descriptions of the site templates that are built into SharePoint and I’ve compiled some great ones below.
Microsoft has some great information and videos on the different SharePoint Server 2010 site templates which gives you a feel for what these out-of-the-box templates look like and why you might use them when creating a site.
With SharePoint Server 2013 there are many new and improved site templates. This Technet article has a complete list of templates along with descriptions and which SharePoint version they’re packaged in.
Recap and How Fpweb.net Can Help
SharePoint sites are capable of housing almost any type of web property you can think of.
The capabilities and complexity of SharePoint make the decision to deploy on-premises a daunting task. Fpweb.net exclusively builds and hosts SharePoint environments for all types for customers all over the world. We help you design the infrastructure and build a suitable environment that can scale with your business needs at the speed of the cloud.
Our support gives your business the expertise that isn’t always readily available in-house and also frees up your IT’s time so they can focus on the business directives that can move your business forward.