Create or delete a site collection

A Microsoft SharePoint Online site collection is a tiered set of sites that you can manage individually or as a group. The sites share administration settings, navigation, permissions, and other features. Each site collection contains a single top-level site and any number of subsites below it. A subsite can inherit permissions and navigation from its parent site, or these elements can be specified and managed separately.

Hierarchical diagram of a site collection showing a top-level site and subsites.

As a SharePoint Online admin of Office 365 Enterprise plans, you can create or delete site collections in the SharePoint admin center. You can create only one Public Website, which can be used by all users, particularly those on the Internet. However, you can create multiple Private Site Collections for use inside your company, an approach that might be more useful to members of your organization and your partners. For information about creating a Public Website, see Get started with the Public Website.

What do you want to do?


Create a site collection

SharePoint Online admins create organization-wide site collections and assign primary site collection administrators to each site collection. The administrator of each site collection has permission to set up its sites and features. The admin can add or delete sites, specify a secondary site collection administrator, or change the settings for any site within a site collection.

 Important    The SharePoint Online admin sets the default language while creating a site collection. You should decide in advance what default language to use for your site collection and sites, because once the site collection is created, the language setting cannot be changed. After you create a site collection, it’s important to verify that the locale and regional settings are accurate. For example, when you create French sites, the locale will be set to France even if you are located in Canada. Therefore, no matter what language you choose, it’s good practice to verify that both the regional and locale setting are accurate for your location.

  1. Sign in to Office 365 as a Global or SharePoint Online admin.
  2. Click Admin at the top of the Admin Overview page, and click SharePoint..
  3. In the SharePoint admin center, on the Site Collections tab, click New.
  4. Click Private Site Collection.
  5. In the New Site Collection dialog box, do the following:
  • In the Title box, type a name for the site collection.
  • In the Web Site Address drop-down lists, select a domain name and a URL path—either /sites/ or /teams/—and then type a URL name for the site collection.
  • In the Template Selection section, in the Select a language drop-down list, choose a language for the site collection. It is important to select the appropriate language for the site collection, because once it is chosen, it cannot be changed. You can enable the SharePoint multiple language interface on your sites, but the primary language for the site collection will remain the one you select here.
  • In the Template Selection section, under Select a template, choose the template that most closely describes the purpose of your site collection. For example, if your site collection will be used for a team collaboration, choose Team Site.
  • In the Time Zone box, select the time zone that’s appropriate for the location of the site collection.
  • In the Administrator box, type the user name of your site collection administrator. You can also use the Check Names or Browse button to find a user to make site collection administrator.
  • In the Storage Quota box, type the number of megabytes (MB) you want to allocate to this site collection. Do not exceed the available amount that displayed next to the box.
  • In the Server Resource Quota box, type the amount of resources you want to allocate to the site collection. This number is a combination of performance metrics (such as processor time and unhandled exceptions) that pertain to code in sandboxed solutions. When the level exceeds a daily quota, the sandbox is turned off for this site collection.
  1. Click OK.
    The new site collection will appear in the URL list, and the site collection administrator can start to create and manage sites.

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Delete a site collection

You might want to delete a site collection if it’s no longer needed. For example, if you created a team site to track progress on a specific project, and the project has ended, you might decide to delete the site collection after a certain amount of time has passed. Deleted site collections go into the site collection Recycle Bin and are retained for a 90 day period.

 Important    Before you delete a site collection, be sure you have read the SharePoint Online Service Description for your plan. This document outlines the data backup schedule maintained by Microsoft for Office 365 SharePoint Online sites.

When you delete a site collection, you’re also deleting the hierarchy of sites in the collection. This includes all content and user information, such as:

  • Documents and document libraries.
  • Lists and list data, including surveys, discussions, announcements, and events.
  • Site configuration settings.
  • Role and security information that is related to the site or its subsites.
  • Subsites of the top-level website, their contents, and user information.

You should also notify the site collection owners and subsite owners in advance to give them time to move their data to another location, and tell users when the sites will be deleted. Users can access a deleted site collection for up to several minutes after it has been deleted.

If you accidentally delete a site collection, it can be restored from the site collection Recycle Bin by a site collection administrator within 90. If you need a site collection restored after this 90-day period has elapsed, it can be restored by Microsoft within 14 days by contacting Office 365 via a Service Request.

After you’ve taken the proper precautions, you can delete a site collection by doing the following:

  1. Sign in to Office 365 as a Global or SharePoint Online admin.
  2. Click Admin at the top of the Admin Overview page, and click SharePoint..
  3. Select the check box next to the site collection that you want to delete. You can bulk delete by selecting multiple site collections.
  4. On the Site Collections tab, click Delete.
  5. Confirm the information in the Delete Site Collections dialog box, and then click Delete.

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Additional Resources

Restore a deleted site collection

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Applies to:
SharePoint admin center, SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online Midsized Business