I would like to ask what is the safest way to move a Site within the same Site Collection including all the lists, libraries and subsites with the data and at the same time maintaining versioning?

Is it advised to keep a backup first? If yes what is the optimal way? From within CA I can only keep backups of the whole Site Collection, it's not site-specific. Is there any advice on this?

  • 1
    move within site collections or web application or what? could you please explain your scenario?
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Dec 18, 2018 at 14:56
  • It's a sharepoint 2013 farm and I want to move it within the same Site Collection
    – dimitrisd
    Dec 18, 2018 at 14:58
  • 1
    is the metadata of list /libraries important for you? i.e. modified by etc
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Dec 18, 2018 at 16:04
  • Good point, I haven't thought about this. I am not sure if it's that important, but assuming it was, can I move this too using the Site Content and Structure?
    – dimitrisd
    Dec 18, 2018 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


If you mean to move a site from one site collection to another, there is no 100% "safe" way. Easiest: use a 3rd party tool, such as ShareGate. These tools turn this job into a couple of mouse clicks. However, it's still not "safe", as the following can still come up:

  • JavaScript with hard-coded paths
  • Workflows with hard-coded paths, in email actions for example
  • Excel spreadsheets that link to other excel spreadsheets via...hard-coded (not relative) paths.

Without 3rd party tools, you can use the export-spweb powershell cmdlet, and then import-spweb. This can move all content, including versions, although it's trickier to use than the 3rd party tools.

If you're moving a site to a different location in the same site collection, then the "content and structure" page in site settings should work fine.

Admins should be taking backups already, but certainly coordinate with them to be sure. For example, if you run the import operation twice, for whatever reason, you wind up with duplicate copies of all content. So yes, ensure the backup exists, and ensure the restore processes have been tested recently. (but again, that advice applies whether or not you're planning on doing anything to the system)

edit: regarding safety: the 3rd party tools and the export-spweb will both result in copies of the site. So if the copy has issues, just delete it and try again. The risk with these tools is that once you make the copy and send the url out to users, you'll need to either delete the original location or revoke users' permissions so that they don't wind up adding content to the original location.

  • Thanks for the reply. I want to move a site within the same site collection. There is no workflow but the most important in my case is to keep the versions of the documents in the libraries. Is this possible using the Site Content and Structure?
    – dimitrisd
    Dec 18, 2018 at 14:57
  • 1
    Content and structure should preserve version history if you do a move operation, though certainly test out this operation on a test site to get comfortable with it. One other flaw with content and structure is that it requires publishing to be on to use it. If publishing is not on, I wouldn't enable it for this purpose.
    – Mike2500
    Dec 18, 2018 at 15:05
  • Thanks again, I'll definitely test that first. Publishing is active so no issue with that.
    – dimitrisd
    Dec 18, 2018 at 16:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.