We have two SharePoint 2013 on-premise environment. One for development and one for production. On the DEV I have created a subsite and build some workflows under this subsite. Right now I am planning how to deploy the subsite and the workflows to production environment.

I heard that when I use "Export-SPWeb" PowerShell to export a backup of subsite and "Import-SPWeb" to the production farm, both the subsite as well as the workflows will be migrated over.

However I wonder what would happen to the workflow's permission. On DEV I build the workflows using Farm administrator account (test.com/farmadmin). On Prod the account is not existing. I guess the workflow will not work? How should I workaround it? Thanks.

1 Answer 1


Backup-SPSite is full fidelity, that means all associations and id are kept the same.. its a mirror copy. Import and export are not full fidelity meaning that associations are lost and no id's are kept (new guids created).

Backup/restore-SPSite is for site collection level. import/export is for site level and not full fidelity. full fidelity means you keep the workflows intact like running workflows and contnent types otherwise none full fidelity looses that link due to id's changing.

Restore a copy of the same site collection insdie the same web application

i dont get the last part? if its about what account that is going to use the workflow, the workflow would run under the account that is using it.

otherwise here is that answer:

SPD workflow impersonation step, who counts as author?


lol hi mark, yes its my first name and my second name is not sharepoint ;). creating the workflow under that user should have no relavance. You should deploy the workflow by:

saving it first as a template, this wsp is saved in the site assets library. You need to export it (download it) to your local drive. Goto the new live site:

Site Actions -> select Site Settings -> in Web Design Galleries section click Solutions -> click upload button -> navigate to the wsp and add -> once loaded into the library you can then activate it:

enter image description here

the only thing you need to make sure is any lists libraries that it uses are already available on the live site! Also what account are you impersonating? aslong as those accounts that your impersonating exist on the live domain than it's fine, otherwsie you need to either add the user accounts that your impersonating to the live domain or update your workflow so that impersonation occures on a system account that is available on both test and live domains for active directory. i hope ive made sense ;)

let me know if you get stuck!

full tutorial here:


your lucky its on 2013! as this method never existed on 2010 where you had to change its template and redeploy using SPD! the process is simple!

  • Thank you very much. You have answered my question. If possible, could you suggest a method to deploy the subsite awa the workflows?
    – Mark L
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 8:58
  • as its a subsite and i suppose you want the workflow to be blank on the production site than its fine to use export/import! you can either use powershell or use central admin backup and restore! If you want to keep the workflow tasks and current data and history than that is more complex and not easy todo!
    – Ali Jafer
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 10:12
  • Ali (hmm is it your name?), my workflow have impersonation steps. I build the workflow using test.com/farmadmin which is not exist on Production farm. How should I deploy and publish the workflows without SPD?
    – Mark L
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 1:05
  • just ammended my answer :)
    – Ali Jafer
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 9:45

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