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I have a simple question just to remove my confusion. In one web application, can we create multiple root site collections ? I have 3 different custom web templates, and for each template, I want to create root site collection (3 root site collections in total). Is that possible ? Or I am wrong in my thinking. Please correct me ?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

In one web application, can we create multiple root site collections ?

No, only one 'root' can exist, if you mean at the root of the URL i.e. You can create many more at,, etc. I just wanted to clarify the use of the word 'root'

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You forgot about host-named site collections, which you can use to create multiple "root" site collections in a single web app. – Evan M. Mar 14 '14 at 19:31

The accepted answer is not correct. You can create multiple root sites in one web application. Additionally, each root site does not have to have a url of Using Host Named Site Collections, each root site can have it's own sub domain name. If your company name is contoso, and you create a web application at, You may have root sites at and

So to answer the question "I have 3 different custom web templates, and for each template, I want to create root site collection (3 root site collections in total). Is that possible ?"


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+1 For pointing out that the accepted answer is not exactly the correct answer. – Amit Maheshwari Mar 14 '14 at 14:51


You can have three different site collections based on three different templates. It doesn't matter if they are based on custom templates or not.

In a web application you can create

750,000 (500,000 Personal Sites and 250,000 other sites per farm)

The maximum recommended number of site collections per farm is 500,000 Personal Sites plus 250,000 for all other site templates. The Sites can all reside on one web application, or can be distributed across multiple web applications.


Check these topologies recommended by Microsoft, if you are planning to design a SharePoint farm.

SharePoint 2010 Topologies examples

enter image description here

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I think several terms may have been convolved here. A webapp is comprised of 0 or more site collections (0 would be fundamentally useless.) A site collection is comprised of 1 root site and 0 or more subsites*. A root site is just like a subsite except for 2 special properties.

  1. It does not have a parent site, hence the term root.
  2. It is the place where site collection settings such as site collection admins and site collection features are configured.

As such, it wouldn't make sense to have multiple root sites in a site collection, but it's perfectly fine to have many site collections (each with their own root sites) inside a webapp. In fact, this is exactly how the mysites functionality works! Each user's site is its own site collection with settings and subsites.

*Please remember that Powershell tends to call site collections "sites" and sites in the webUI are called "webs" in Powershell. I don't know why, but it's very confusing to me.

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Actually I am pretty sure the first poster who answered was correct. The original question said "root site collection." He didn't say root domain name. Although as pointed out, he didn't mention the new host-named site collection feature that Microsoft is pushing.

I believe you can only have one root site collection in a Web Application. (Not Zero or >1 like has been suggested) SharePoint creates it as a path-based site collection with the same name as the Web Application.

You can then create path-based ( or host-named site collections ( but in terms of hierarchy there must and can only be one root path-based site collection per Web Application.


Robert - That is not a functioning SharePoint Web Application.

Microsoft doesn't consider it a Web Application according to the article I cited. It is perhaps an incomplete Web Application. "A root site collection is a requirement for any Web application." - article cited above

To emphasize a prior point, note you cannot create a host-named site collection in Robert's example prior to creating a path-based root site collection with the same name as the web application.

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When you initially create a Web application there is no root site collection in it. Therefore a web app can in fact have 0 site collections. – Robert Kaucher Mar 15 '14 at 3:15
Here is an image of a Web Application with no Site Collections. – Robert Kaucher Mar 15 '14 at 3:44
I suppose the question is "what is a root site collection"? From everything I have come across it just seems to mean that it is a site collection with the same url as the web application. Additionally, you don't have to have a site collection with this url. You can have a web application of with no "Root site collection", and still have a site collection at "". So the term root site collection seems to only mean a site collection with the same url as the web app, and apart from the url structure, there is no hierarchy – punchingInAPepper Apr 8 '14 at 22:08
Also, just for emphasis, I created a web application without a root site collection, but with a site collection at sharepoint.contoso.local/sites/site1....site2...site3, and have not come across any problem with the crawler or search. Even tested eDiscovery against it and did not have an issue, so I am not sure why the article states you have to have a root site collection – punchingInAPepper Apr 8 '14 at 22:15

You are correct in one web Application you can have multiple site collections.

Webapplication Structure

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