Is ghosting behaviour in SharePoint 2010 exactly the same as in SharePoint 2007?

  • It may well be worth listing these pros and cons you are referring to to ensure everyone is on the same wavelength. Nov 17, 2009 at 15:13

5 Answers 5


What do you expect? It's in the product since I've known it (started with 2003).. it's one of the both best and worst features ever.

Are you concerned about upgrade scenarios? Or just the fact that you will have to take this into account when rolling out 2010 farms and solutions? :)


Talked to Spence about this.

He say quote "same story mate" unquote.

Theres some nuances here regarding SharePoint designer. It is possible to set SharePoint Designer settings either globally (from CA) or from each Site Collection.

Here you can set if you allow SPD to be used in a given web application, whether you allow SC admins to detach (yet a new term for unghost/customize pages) pages from the original site definition using SPD. You can also specify if you allow customizing master pages/page layouts using SPD and finally if you allow site administrators to manage the URL structure of their web site using SPD.

But beside the above settings to protect your production web site from SPD, it seems that nothing much has changed..

  • Thanks, any further details about those nuances would be great!
    – Alex Angas
    Nov 12, 2009 at 9:43
  • Do we actually believe that the files are read from the file system if ghosted? I think it's a SharePoint myth. Is there proof of it somewhere other than hearsay? Nov 12, 2009 at 12:39
  • 3
    Marc - yes it does read from the filesystem until someone customizes it. For example, a master page that is deployed with a feature can simply be modified by changing the .master file in the feature folder and immediately the result can be seen in the browser. If however someone decides to modify the masterpage using SP designer, that is when a copy gets stored in the db and any changes to the .master page on the filesystem will be ignored. Nov 12, 2009 at 21:56
  • I'm thinking more of the form pages (NewForm.aspx, etc.) and the basic site pages (default.aspx). I'm also not convinced that there's any real performance hit even if the pages are stored in the DB. I've been haring this from people for so long, but I've never seen any data! Nov 13, 2009 at 16:51
  • Oh dont get me wrong, im far more worried about maintainabillity and upgradability than performance when we are talking ghosting. If you ever tried "re-skinning" a site with unghosted master pages, page layouts and content types, you know what i'm talking about :-) Nov 15, 2009 at 23:24

Whether its truely been removed, half removed or not used. If you want to brand your site in a managable way that can be editted quickly and added just as quick then I would even THINK of using that way.

I understand that the 'feature' of ghosting is to saying server load (?) But really what are you going to save from looking <100kb file? Not a lot of time.

Its a nightmare!

From a designer who specialises in designing and branding SharePoint I would either reference via the custom styles area in setting or add the tag into the masterpage. Alternatively you can create a feature that intercepts the 'ghosting' feature when enabled in the settings and adds a code with the link to stylesheets - I can talk more if people want to hear about this method.

But the jist of branding your site which I think is the easiest, simpliest and easiest to manage is :

  1. Create new stylesheet in SPD
  2. Add to masterpage at the top within
  3. Add you CSS to your overriding your CSS core files etc
  4. Change styles accordingly.


  • I've got to agree with Sam. I use the same method he outlines for branding, and changing the master page, CSS, or whatever is no big deal. Nov 17, 2009 at 18:47

While the ghosting behaviour remains the same, SharePoint Designer is much better at making changes in a "ghosted manner."

In addition, changes to wiki content does not customize (un-ghost) the page.

  • Can you be more specific about the different SharePoint Designer behaviour?
    – Alex Angas
    Nov 18, 2009 at 16:59

I am pleased this contentious "feature" remains the same. At least we know what we are getting ourselves into in this area. I will stick to developing the masterpage and/or styles in SPD, and then packing them up nto a WSP solution that is deployable. If the behavior is largely the same this approach should still work and we have plenty of code written arond Featureactivating that will help machanize themes and mp's across multiple sub-sites too, so that's a plus.

I don't live for it, but I will take a simple win when I can get one. :-D

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