In May 2019, Microsoft announced SharePoint home sites, the new landing site for your intelligent intranet. Home sites are designed to bring together personalized and organizational news, events, conversations, content, and video on a single SharePoint communications site.
Your home site will be your Office 365 home base. Your tenant admin can configure your Office 365 navigation bar so users are taken to your home site when they click on your company logo. And when your mobile users click on the yet-to-be-released “home” button in their SharePoint mobile app, they’ll be taken to your home site.
As the new Office 365 landing site for your organization, home sites are designed to engage users and highlight your brand and organizational messaging. And with megamenu navigation, you can use your home site to link to your key internal SharePoint sites and hubs.
You’ll be limited to one home site per tenant. Your administrator will need to use PowerShell to elevate your SharePoint communications site of choice to be your home site. The PowerShell elevation command will:
- Make the site an official organizational news site
- Set the site search scope to be tenant-wide
- Enable 1-click site access via the SharePoint mobile app home button
- Connect the home site to your SharePoint start page
So what’s the difference between a home site and a hub?
Your SharePoint home site is your organization’s Office 365 “home.” By design, you’ll only be allowed one home site in your Office 365 tenant. And the home site must be a SharePoint communications site.
Hubs provide a familial, logical tie between SharePoint sites. With hubs, you can unify SharePoint site branding, provide a unified navigation experience, and roll up news and events in a centralized display. Hubs enhance content discovery by tying sites together and enabling browsing. Hubs are also flexible, easing the work involved in re-branding sites as org structures change and evolve. Simply assign your site to a new hub and your site’s branding is automatically updated.
While Microsoft has controlled the number of hubs that are allowed per Office 365 tenant, the limits continue to increase. When hubs were first released in May 2018, there was a limit of 50 hubs per Office 365 tenant. In August 2018, Microsoft increased the limit to 100 hubs per tenant. In May 2019, Microsoft announced another increase–this time to a maximum of 2,000 hubs per tenant! No release date has been provided for this 2,000 hub limit, so stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, we’re all living with the current 100 hub limit.
Hubs can be built on a variety of types of SharePoint sites, including communications sites, team sites, or classic sites.
Can a home site be a hub?
Yes. You can use a hub as your Office 365 home site, but only if the hub is a SharePoint communications site.
So where do you start?
Hubs are available in SharePoint Online today. Microsoft recommends we “hub before we sub” (use hubs to connect your modern SharePoint sites instead of building classic SharePoint sub-sites).
While home site functionality has been announced, no formal release date has been set. Your best approach in the near-term is to start designing and laying the framework for your organizational information architecture, including buildout of your hub framework. Once home sites are released, you’ll be able to synchronize your approach and designate your organizational home site.