Adhering to best practices, we have built a SharePoint 2013 intranet with multiple Host Named Site Collections all accessible via HTTPs, for example

https://home.domain.com - Landing Page




We have noticed issues with the home page on each site having an affect on the Meta Data Navigation Menu so thought it was time we reviewed our references.

Ok, we want to have a common master page and CSS, JavaScript, Fonts etc throughout the intranet. So what is the best way of implementing this and what is a candidate provisioning strategy say from Dev

My thoughts are copy a common custom master page to each Master Page Gallery but with options as to how we reference external files

Option 1: replicate on each of the HNSCs:

Local copies of CSS, JS etc in • /siteAssets/ and or, • /Style Library/syles.css Or

Option 2: explicit reference to the styles held on the home site collection

The master page might have common reference to https://home.domain.com/SiteAssets/css/styles.css

Or Option 3: use the _layouts file structure - not my favourite as not accessible in SPD 2013 or using sp2013 built in document management

Use the hive and not the content database structure. Hence, all master pages would have references similar to: • _layouts/15/styles/mystyles.css • _layouts/15/images/client/home.jpg

1 Answer 1


Personally I'd put it into Layouts. Prevents accidental deleting or modification by clumsy site admins.

  • 1
    Thanks for your comment @jamesLove - small world as I saw Tony P and Gary last Tues in #suguk, Leeds. I think however, we're leaning towards local copies in each HNSC. Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 11:20
  • After thinking about it further, I am going to recommend we go for option 2: centralised and under version control. Just need to train those admins lol. Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 12:53
  • One issue with have thought of in Option 2, is the issue of cross domain authentication of external users who are logging on the other (non home landing) HNCS. Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 10:38
  • You'll need to deploy the assets to each separate farm and use relative URLs in your references.
    – James Love
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 16:21
  • I think the issue is due to non-company laptops ( such as the humble contractor's ;-( ) being excluded from grp policy e.g. safe sites when there is external http access. Only one live farm excluding dev. Daniel Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 14:06

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