Creating site collections is one of the basic functions performed by SharePoint administrators and users. The ease with which end users can create and customize new sites in SharePoint Products and Technologies is a key to its success and offers a major advantage over building Web sites from scratch. This chapter explores the detailed administration of site collections, particularly the different ways in which they can be created and managed.
When planning a medium- or large-scale deployment, two critical decisions that a SharePoint administrator must make are how and by whom new sites will be created. If an administrator does not give adequate thought to these issues, a SharePoint farm can quickly become unmanageable. Because a new site collection can be provisioned so easily, it is essential to have a well-thought-out strategy to prevent an explosion of sites that have no real organizational hierarchy or management capability. There are two natively supported site creation modes: administratively controlled site creation and self-service site creation. This section clarifies the differences between the two and provides guidance in choosing one or a combination of both to form the basis of your site creation strategy.
Many factors, such as your farm architecture and user base, influence which site creation mode you should use. In the administratively controlled site creation mode, only Farm Administrators can create new site collections because creation is performed exclusively through Central Administration. In an environment in which site collection creation must be controlled tightly, it is usually preferable to limit this ability to Farm Administrators. Power Users (or anyone with Full Control or Hierarchy Manager permissions) can still create subsites directly from parent sites, without needing access to Central Administration. However, if certain users need the ability to create site collections, possibly for informal or temporary use, you can enable self-service site creation. This mode allows specified users to create their own site collections in the Sites directory. Remember that site creation mode is on a per-Web application basis, so you may mix and match modes as required.
One other consideration in determining how sites should be created is the handling of permissions. Site collection permissions must be specified individually, whereas subsites can inherit permissions from a parent. Self-service site creation allows the management of permissions to be delegated to the content owner. The user who creates the site collection is given access by default and can modify the permissions to grant access to other users or groups. Some organizations object to this site creation mode because of the potential for unused and redundant sites to accumulate. However, SharePoint Products and Technologies provide a means of automatically cleaning up these sites through quotas and site use confirmation settings, which are discussed in more detail in the next section.
To enable self-service site creation for a particular Web application, there must be a site already created at the root of the Web application. Otherwise, you will receive an error message when attempting to enable self-service site creation. If there is an Announcements list in the root site, it will get populated with an announcement that links to the URL at which new sites can be created.
Open SharePoint Central Administration and go to the Application Management tab.
Under the Application Security section, select Self-Service site management.
Choose the Web application in which you want to enable self-service site creation. Because self-service site creation is enabled at the Web application level, you must specify which Web application's settings you wish to change.
Select the option button to enable self-service site creation for the chosen Web application.
(Optional) Require that users specify an additional contact name when creating a site by selecting the Require Secondary Contact box. This is useful because if one owner leaves the organization there is still someone who can perform administrative tasks without involving the farm administrator.
Click OK to save your settings.
Site use confirmation and deletion provide a method of cleaning up the content database by deleting sites within a Web application that are unused and are no longer needed. When notifications are turned on, site owners automatically receive e-mails regarding sites that have been unused for a specified number of days. They can then confirm that their site collection is still in use or allow it to be deleted if automatic deletion is enabled.
Open SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration and click the Application Management tab.
In the SharePoint Site Management section, choose the link to manage site use confirmation and deletion.
Because it is enabled on a Web application basis, you must choose a Web application from the drop-down list.
Select the box to enable e-mail alerts to owners of unused site collections.
Set the notification threshold. The default is 90 days.
Choose the frequency for sites to be checked automatically and the time at which to run the checks.
(Optional) Check the box to delete the site collection automatically after a specified number of alerts, and enter the number of alerts allowed.
Although the user interface says unused site collections, it actually means all site collections. If you decide to use this feature, you should consider modifying the e-mail alert and removing the deletion URL.