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Microsoft Ends SharePoint Support for Public Websites

Author: Owens Gollamandala | | March 16, 2015

One nifty feature I enjoy with SharePoint Online/Office 365 is its Public Website feature, which allows users to easily construct public-facing websites atop SharePoint.

Sadly, Microsoft announced in December 2014 that it would no longer offer the feature moving forward. The rationale cited for the change is a “relative lack of usage” among existing Microsoft Office 365 users. Microsoft stated any of its customers currently using Public Website may continue to have access to that feature “for a minimum of two years after the changeover date of March 9, 2015.”

In other words, if you have SharePoint Online and have yet to activate your subscription, do it now. If you expect to use Public Website and delay, you may not be able to execute your organization’s plans.

Microsoft is recommending customers move to a third-party provider for their web hosting services. In early February 2015, it announced Wix, the Tel Aviv-based company which offers cloud-based web development tools and services, is now Microsoft’s preferred web-hosting provider. Wix has capabilities that enable Microsoft Office 365 users to easily create and launch a website from within that application. It is unclear at this time, precisely, how it will integrate with SharePoint Online.

One of the challenges associated with making a move to a new service provider is that migrating the data is cumbersome manual process. This can be especially daunting when large amounts of data or mission-critical data are involved.

Microsoft acknowledges “To avoid disruption and data loss, customers should back up all content and data from the SharePoint Online Public Website feature before they switch to any new solution or service. This will minimize potential disruptions.”

To complicate matters further, scuttlebutt about SharePoint Server 2016 has begun to be bandied about although it will likely not be available until the second half of 2015. The new product may result in other deprecated user features.

What’s Next?

You should now have some ideas about how these changes to SharePoint may affect your organization and its operations. We previously shared some other tips and tricks for enhancing SharePoint performance and updating SharePoint Server you and your colleagues may find useful.

Another option for this type of database project is to use remote database administrator services for these and related database services. By outsourcing a tedious project such as migrating to a new web hosting service, your organization can leverage remote database support such that your key staff are free to focus on other value-added projects.

To learn more about our remote database services and how our experts can help with your SharePoint operations, please contact Datavail to discuss a custom solution designed for your enterprise.

If you’re feeling disappointed about losing this feature, Sharepooint offers other great tools; as dicussed in our blog post SQL Server Enterprise Edition Features You Didn’t Know You Could Use. Check it out.

Image: Microsoft

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