We run the below PS command to back up our SP site.

Backup-SPFarm -Directory \\SQLServer01\Backup\Site -BackupMethod full -item "SharePoint Web Application Name". 

The above command runs a full backup of the "SharePoint Web Application"

When the above PS command is executed you will find that it creates numerous files that represent your selected backup targets. You will find .XML .Log files and .BAK files.

Among all the .BAK files you'll notice one that is significantly larger, this is your site collection.

You can determine this by searching the name of the .bak file in the spbackup.log.

My questions to Microsoft and all the readers are listed below:

I know I can restore this single .BAK file of my site from production and restore it to a dev/test environment using SQL Management Studio, it works great but is it supported?

And if So can someone point me to some documentation to support this?

Are all the other .BAK files needed if I only want to restore the Site Collection?

Has anyone tried this before?

What are the Implications?

Does this .BAK file contain all that is needed to simply restore the site collection to a different SharePoint Farm / Domain?

Keep in mind that the 2 SP Farms exist on different domains. Any information and explanations will be greatly appreciated. If something is unclear please do not hesitate to ask, thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


What you are doing, performing the backup of Web application which contains all the site collections in it along with other stuff. But you cannot restore an individual site collection from here. What you have to do is

  • Backup-SpSite command and get the backup of site colleciton. it will create .bak file, Move that file to that server.
  • Restore-Spsite to restore the site collection.

As you mentioned both farm are in different domains.

  • Make sure both farms at same version level, and same customization installed
  • Authentication method also be same
  • You have to migrate all the user from Source farm's domain to Destinzation farm's domain using move-spuser command.
  • Thanks for your reply; but a I mentioned I have been able to select the specific .BAK file, moved it to a different SP Farm / Domain and successfully restored it using SSMS. The reason why I am choosing to use Backup-SPFarm over Backup-SPSite is because Backup-SPFarm completes within 1.5 hour vs Backup-SPSite which could take up to 10 hours. Size of the content db = 50GB. So my question is not how this can be done, we know how; but is this method supported and is there any official documentation. Just can't seem to find any official documentation to support it.
    – DEM
    Feb 10, 2017 at 17:14

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