Plan for site maintenance and management (Office SharePoint Server)

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

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Topic Last Modified: 2016-11-14

In this article:

  • Plan for site maintenance

  • Plan for managing site collections

  • Worksheet

All Web sites, particularly sites that have more than one author, get cluttered. Periodic review and cleanup can help keep your site functioning well, whether your site is large or small. If you build a plan for maintaining your site or sites from the beginning, you can ensure that they stay current, useful, and usable.

Plan for site maintenance

Your site maintenance plan will be different than that for any other environment, and it will contain different elements. Site maintenance is different for sites managed by an IT department than it is for user-created sites and managed sites. However, some best practices for a site maintenance plan include:

  • Ask users what they want in IT-managed sites. Perform periodic surveys to determine what your users need from the site.

  • Use usage logs and reports to find out which areas of the site are being used, and then correlate that with user surveys to find out what can be improved.

  • Archive obsolete content or sites. However, if you are going to archive or delete obsolete content or sites, be sure that users understand that plan, and that you perform these actions only at predictable times. For example, publish a schedule of when you are going to archive content or delete unused sites.

  • Periodically review site permissions. For example, review the permissions quarterly to remove permissions for any users who have left the group or project.

  • Select a reasonable time interval for your maintenance activities. For example, if you plan to conduct periodic user surveys, do not conduct them more than twice a year (and preferably, no more than once a year).

  • Create a plan for regular backups of site content. Determine or discover how often backups will be made, and the process for restoring content when necessary. For more information about planning for backup and restore, see Plan for data protection and recovery (Office SharePoint Server).

Start now, during your planning process, to create a plan for site maintenance. Record your plan, including how often to tune up the site and archive content. Get your plan reviewed by members of your team and representatives of your user base. This way, you can identify any concerns that users might have now, determine how best to address these concerns, and have a plan for site maintenance in place by the time your site goes live.

Worksheet action

Use the Site maintenance worksheet ( to create a site maintenance plan.

Plan for managing site collections

One part of your site maintenance plan should be a plan for how to manage the size and number of site collections in your environment. This is most important if you are allowing Self-Service Site Management. Most organizations want to be able to predict and control how much growth they can expect from sites because of the impact that they can have on database resources. For example, if a particular content database contains 100 sites, and one of those sites is taking up more than 50 percent of the space, then that site might need to be in its own content database. This will ensure that you preserve some room for additional growth, while maintaining the ability to back up and restore the databases.

Two methods for managing site collections are:

  • Site collection quotas   Use this method to control how large site collections can become.

  • Site use confirmation and deletion   Use this method to monitor and remove unused site collections.

Plan site collection quotas

Use quotas to track and limit site storage. You can send a warning e-mail message to site owners when site storage reaches a particular size (in megabytes), and then lock the site to further content when site storage reaches a maximum size. When you perform your database and server capacity planning, determine what size limits (if any) you want to enforce. To take the best advantage of quotas:

  • Create different quota templates for different site types. For example, you might want different quotas for different divisions, or for different customer types, or for different paths (perhaps sites under the /sites path only get 100 MB per site collection, whereas sites under the /vip path can take up to 300 MB per site collection). Whenever you create a site collection from Central Administration, you can specify on which quota template it is based. Note that sites created by using Self-Service Site Management use the default quota for the Web application.

  • Give enough room for reasonable growth in sites. Depending on what each site is used for, storage space needs can vary dramatically. Sites are designed to grow over time as they are used. A quota limit of 50 MB is unlikely to be enough storage space to start with for most sites, and is unlikely to be anywhere near enough for a site that has a long life.

  • Allow for reasonable notice between the warning e-mail message and locking the site for exceeding its quota. For example, do not set the warning limit to 80 MB and the site storage limit to 85 MB. If users are in the middle of uploading several large files, they will not be happy if blocked from completing that task with very little notice.

Worksheet action

Use the Site maintenance worksheet ( to record your decisions about using site collection quotas.

Plan site use confirmation and deletion

You need to plan how to handle sites that become inactive after a project has ended, or sites that users created just to test out some ideas, and then abandoned. Site use confirmation and deletion can help you keep your environment cleaner, by helping you identify when sites are no longer needed. This feature works by automatically sending an e-mail message to site owners to see if they consider their site active. If the owner does not respond to the e-mail message (after a specified number of messages over a specified length of time), the site can be deleted.

To plan for site use confirmation and deletion, decide:

  • How long you want to wait before checking to see if a site is inactive. The default length of time for team or project sites is 90 days after site creation, but you should probably give owners longer than that. For a test or personal site, 90 days is probably too long. Usually a site that was created, was actively used, and is now ready to be deleted or archived, took at least six months and probably a few years to complete that life cycle. Reminders every six months are valuable for those situations.

  • How often you want to send an e-mail message to site owners to see if their sites are inactive. After the first e-mail message, if the site administrator does not respond, you can continue with additional notices at daily, weekly, or monthly intervals.

  • Whether you want to automatically delete unused sites. If the site administrator does not respond to multiple e-mail messages, do you want to go ahead and delete the site automatically? It is recommended that you make a backup first. You can do so by making sure that regular backups are performed and you can use the Office SharePoint Server 2007: Software Development Kit ( to customize this functionality so that it automatically makes a backup of the site before deletion, but this is not default behavior.

  • If you are going to automatically delete unused sites, how many e-mail messages will you send to site owners before you do so. By default, four weekly notices are sent before site deletion, but you can increase or decrease this number to suit your needs.

Worksheet action

Use the Site maintenance worksheet ( to record your decisions about site use confirmation and deletion.


Use the following worksheet to plan for site maintenance and management:

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