Our sharepoint database is large ~180GB. I want to split it up into smaller database from the disaster recovery point of view & also that it can be easily moved across servers. The problem is that we have a main SharePoint site (only one site collection) and all departments each have their own subsites underneath the main site. This was done a long time back.

What is the best way to move these subsites into their own content databases? I want to keep the URLs the same (e.g) http://sharepointserver/HumanResource

I have seen some articles which sort of tell that sitecollections can only be split into different content databases and not the site or subsites. They have also indicated the work around to convert these subsite into individual site collections for having a individual database.

These things sort of point me in the direction i want to go, but no direct conclusive answer.

Any help is much appreciated.

Thank you.



3 Answers 3


I had a site collection on a seperate web application that I wanted to move into another web application. It would appear on the url to be under our top site ex (http://ourserver/hr) but it is a seperate site collection with a seperate content database.

I tried and tried again to use database attach method with a managed url path but if the site is a root site collection (/) then you can hang it up. I wanted to basically take a root site collection and move it to the other web application as a sub site collection.

I ended up doing the following:

  • I added an explicit managed path ex. (hr)
  • Then added the content database wss_content_hr
  • Turned the other content databases to Offline except for the wss_content_hr
  • Created a new site collection
  • Then I exported the hr site and imported it back into the new content db. I used the -force parameter.

I could have also used the move-spsite but I chose to do it this way. Next move I'm going to try that powershell command out.


To do this we exported each site to the local file system, created a new site collection with the new content DB and them imported the site into the site collection.

You can export a site using PowerShell and Export-SPWeb.

I recommend testing this process too before you execute it in production, we had lots of tidying up to do with customisations etc.

You can use managed paths to help with URL's, but we set the original site to readonly, notified users of new URL and eventually weened them to the new site URL (same content etc).

We could have put a redirect in too for the site homepage.

Hope this help! :) Good luck!

  • Here is a Technet article describing exporting sites technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee428301.aspx Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 12:45
  • Using Export-SPWeb, will all the workflows, custom webparts, custom templates, etc be taken care of?? Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 7:02
  • It will export workflows, but it will not export custom web parts/solutions, they need to be deployed to the farm separately.
    – Russell
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 21:34

The best way I can think of is to start by planning how many new site collections you want to create. You will also have to plan out how many site collections you want in each new content DB.

Once you know this you will need to create the new empty DBs. Then attach one of the new DBs to the web application. SharePoint by default should add any new site collections created to the last database attached to the web application. Create the site collections you want in this content db. Then attach the next content DB to the web application, and add the site collections you want in this content DB. Repeat this until you get all of the site collections you want added to their respective content dbs.

Take your exported webs(subsites) and import them to the respective site collections. If I'm not mistaken in order for you to add the sub-site into the new site collection as the top-level site, you will have to use the blank template when you create the site collections.


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