I am in the process of designing SharePoint 2016 environment for our organisation. We have so many intranet web applications and also has many anonymous public facing sites existing in different Farms (WSS 3.0,MOSS,SharePoint 2010,SharePoint 2013 etc). We are planning to migrate all these sites to SharePoint 2016 platform.

I am thinking to create 2 separate Farms - One for Intranet and another one for internet sites.I am planning to use host named site collection approach to host intranet sites so that all the site collections can be created and managed under the same web application.

Still I am in a confusion whether it will be a better idea to host anonymous sites as host named site collections under the same web application or create separate web application for each site. Anonymous sites are accessed by our various vendors and each site is targeted to different set of users.

Request your suggestions.

1 Answer 1


There is a recommended limit of 20 WebApplications in SharePoint 2016. Even if you stay below that limit, each WebApplication will comsume RAM on your FrontEnd-Servers just by being there.

As you plan to give anonymous access to the sites, your idea of giving each page it's own URL with Host Named SiteCollections (HNSC) seems to be useful.


  • One URL for each vendor
  • Low number of WebApplications


  • You must manually configure each URL in SharePoint (HNSC-creation only via PowerShell), DNS, Firewall, Certificates, ... Or use Wildcards instead.. Did i really say that??... Brrrr...
  • Existing custom code should be tested exhaustive against HNSC-Setup.

Another idea without HSNC could be one WebApplication with a entry-site and lots of path-based SiteCollections. Depends heavily on your scenario which is barely described.

Splitting your sites to two farms also depends on what you want to achieve. Two farms mean more limitations between farms, more hardware, more maintenance, more money, ... But also more security, more separation between farms, more flexibility in change-deployment, ... Seems there is no short answer on that.

  • Thanks for your suggestion! Keeping in mind of 20 webapplication limit, I am thinking to create a web application with URL something like extranet.contoso.com and create site collections similar to partner1.extranet.contoso.com, partner2.extranet.contoso.com etc. I am guessing that I will be able to assign already existing URL for the site (before migration) as the Internet zone URL for HNSC. So I can access the same partner1.extranet.contoso.com with reportive.client.com (existing URL). Please let me know if you find any issues in this approach.
    – gokul731
    Oct 26, 2016 at 6:57
  • Your configuration seems technical valid. I avoid assigning two different URLs to one site as i have seen a lot of drawbacks. Especially if one URL is only reachable inside the company (sharepoint.company.local). I prefer more enduser-support after migration and have a one-URL system in the long-term.
    – MHeld
    Oct 28, 2016 at 11:45

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