I'm working on preparing for a migration from Sharepoint 2013 On Prem to Sharepoint Online. I'm researching and starting to create the new Online environment and am specifically trying to decide how to tackle hub sites - either a single hub or multiple hubs.

For my organisation, I don't see benefits in using multiple hubs. I've given my reasons below. Is there anything I have overlooked in my reasoning?

Benefits of multi-hub sites - is it advantageous for my organisation?

  1. Shared Navigation and brand
  2. Roll up of content and search
  3. 'Flat architecture'
  4. 'Improved security'

.1. Shared navigation and brand - I can create a navigation for my proposed single hub site and users will be able to find their way around wherever they find themselves in Sharepoint. They will also only have to get used to a single navigation instead of having multiple navigations to find their way around on various hub sites.

I don't see an advantage in the branding of sites, if anything a common intranet branding throughout would actually be a unifying, positive thing for my organisation. I can certainly see the advantage for larger, more complex, perhaps international businesses or at least multi-site firms, but not for my organisation.

  1. Search - users know they can search for everything from the SP 2013 home page or search on a site for a more targeted search.

re: Roll up of content - I can see advantages in this, if the intranet were configured by the three organisational divisions it would be a useful feature. Although 'Announcements'/news is mainly handled by a separate system that the Communications dept run - it's a pity as Online would hand;e this better than 2013 does...

  1. A key benefit of using hub sites is the 'flat architecture' (as opposed to having lots of sub-sites).

The advantage of using Hubs instead of sub-sites is often cited as an advantage, I agree it is better. Yet SP Online makes use of this regardless, even if you only have a single hub site you benefit from the flat architecture. My current SP 2013 intranet has, in any case, very few sub-sites, and my single hub site architecture would benefit from flat architecture.

  1. Security is cited in many articles I've read, again, they explain that sub-sites inherit the permission of the parent site e.g. a Finance main site with a 'Top Secret Finance sub-site', a common risk is that the inheritance is not broken to limit user access and so the users of the Finance main site accidentally have access. I agree removing this risk is an improvement, yet I see that a 'single site hub' or 'multi site-hub' approach would benefit equally from this.

Background of my small/medium-sized organisation

A word about the organisation, it is:

  • a social sector organisation
  • a regional and operates in one country
  • comprised of three groupings of departments, where one director is responsible for multiple departments.
  • located on one site and has 800 staff.

So we don't have multiples regional teams, there are no sales teams. I am coming to the understanding that using hubs is a great way to structure larger and more complex businesses (international, multi-site, multi-regional).

Current intranet home page & navigation bar

The current SP 2013 intranet home page has 11 tabs on the grey 'global' navigation bar. I would like to recreate this global navigation bar for Sharepoint, albeit with only 8 tabs instead of 11.

SP 2013 On Prem intranet home page & global navigation bar

Each of the tabs has either sites or links listed under it e.g. Corporate:

picture of the Corporate tab with a dropdown showing the sites listed under it

Sharepoint Online intranet home page & navigation

Research so far

Computer World article: 6 Tips for planning Sharepoint hub sites

MS guide: Planning your Sharepoint site hubs

SP Maven: Hub Navigation Best Practises

I watched quite a few videos and read other sources besides these too.

1 Answer 1


For anyone that is interested, I will be using hub navigation AND global navigation. I had an issue whereby my 'OOTB home site' did not give me the option to configure 'Global Navigation' via the site settings. This seemed like it would limit my options with navigation, so I thought I could not configure the 'left bar navigation'. (A powershell command fixed my issue - read on below).

Global Navigation option - now appears under the Settings button

However, now I've found I can take a dual approach and configure a 'department navigation' on the 'left bar' and make the horizontal top bar navigation geared towards hub site navigation.

If you have this issue, please view my other post here and follow Ganesh's advice in making the Global Navigation setting appear in the menu. The solution does involve running a powershell script (which I had to ask a colleague to run for me).

The fact that I saw no option for Global Navigation (the left bar menu), meant that I thought I had limited options for configuring navigation and making use of Hub Navigation.

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