Introduction to Site Collections

In the previous article, I have described basic level information about SharePoint Introduction and SharePoint Web Application in context of SharePoint Online and SharePoint On Premises. So, in this article, I am moving one more step ahead. I will be talking about SharePoint Site Collection in terms of SharePoint Online and SharePoint On Premises.

In this article, I am going to cover following topics,

  • Introduction to Site Collection
  • Site Collection In SharePoint On Premises
  • Creating Site Collection in SharePoint On Premises
  • Site Collection in SharePoint Online
  • Creating Site Collection in SharePoint Online
  • Summary

Introduction to Site Collection

As SharePoint Web Application is an entry point to SharePoint, a Site Collection is the entry point to Web Applications. Whenever we create a SharePoint Web Application and try to open the URL of the Web Application then we might get an error. In order to access the SharePoint Web Application, you need to create a Site Collection.

Site Collection is a top-level site that will define the structure of the site. It will contain major settings that will be inherited by each and every site within the site collection. Site Collection can also be thought of as containers or collections of multiple sites. And some of the important settings will be residing in Site Collection level, such as List template management, Display template settings etc.

To understand the Site Collection, let us compare SharePoint with a Windows Explorer system. Where your Operating system is like SharePoint Farm, your every drive is a Web Application and the top level folder in Drive is a Site Collection. So, whatever permission is set to your SharePoint Web Application, the Site Collection will inherit it. And the object inside the site collection will inherit the permission of Site Collection.

Site Collection In SharePoint On Premises

If we are creating a Site Collection in SharePoint On-Premises then we have control over which content database will be maintained. We can store one Site Collection to only one database. We cannot assign multiple content databases to a single site collection. although we can create multiple Site Collections to single Content Databases. Limits and boundaries related to SharePoint On-Premises Site Collections are given here

Creating Site Collection in SharePoint On Premises

Step 1

Open Central Administration and click on Create Site Collections under Site Collection menu.


Step 2

Enter the Title, Description and URL and template for the Site collection. Template refers to the type of site collection. For more information on a template of site collection please refer to this link.

Step 3

Then select the primary and secondary site collection administrator user. Once you are done with selecting the site collection administrator and secondary administrator then please click on Ok.

So in this way, you can create a site collection in SharePoint on-premises environment.

Site Collection in SharePoint Online

The definition of Site Collection in SharePoint Online is the same as Site Collection in SharePoint On Premises. The only difference between both of them is some of the parameters that we need to set while creating the Site Collection. While creating Site Collection in SharePoint On-Premises, we can select in which web application we want to create the site collection. While in SharePoint Online, we have only single tenants so site collection will be created on the tenant you are creating the site collection. Also in SharePoint On-Premises, we can manage in which content database the site collection should be created, while in SharePoint Online, we cannot control where our site collection will be stored.

Creating Site Collection in SharePoint Online

Step 1

Login to with admin credentials

Step 2

Click on the top left options as shown in the below image and then click on Admin.

Step 3

Expand Admin Center and then click on SharePoint. It will open up the SharePoint Online Administration.

Step 4

Click the tab Site Collection and then click on New → Private Site Collection.

Step 5

Enter the Title, Web Site Address, Select the language, template, Time Zone and site collection administrator and click on OK. Your site collection will be created and you can access it from the SharePoint Online Administrator.


We have seen the Site Collection in On-Premises as well as SharePoint Online. The limits and boundaries for SharePoint Online Site Collection and SharePoint On-Premises Site Collection are different, For example, you can create 750000 site collections per web application in SharePoint On-Premises, while you can create only 500000 site collections in a single tenant, although the limits are of supported types. For more information about the limits and boundaries for Site Collections, please visit the following URLs.


Any question or feedback or suggestion, please do comment and let me know.

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