Lectori salutem,

I am reading into backup and restore operations in SharePoint 2010. I have noticed that in Central Administration > Backup and Restore > Granular Backup there is the possibility to backup a site collection and to export a site collection.

Powershell commands are:

  • Backup a site collection:

    Backup-SPSite -Identity -Path [Force] [-NoSiteLock] [-UseSqlSnapshot] [-Verbose]

  • Export a site collection:

    Export-SPWeb -Identity -Path [-ItemUrl ] [-IncludeUserSecurity] [-IncludeVersions] [-NoFileCompression] [-GradualDelete] [-Verbose]

What is the difference between performing a backup and performing an export?

Thank you in advance.

4 Answers 4


Backup-SPSite is generally used when you want to replicate the entire site collection (including all subsites) to an existing web application.

Export-SPWeb is generally used when you want to replicate just a single subsite to an existing site collection.

Also below links are worth to read for other major differences:




There is just a subtle difference:

  • Workflows are included when you use the Backup-SPSite cmdlet.
  • If you backup a root web of a site collection the site collection recycle bin will obviously not be included.

Making a backup of the site collection is best used when you need to restore it on the same environment

It's nearly like a content database backup.

Exporting a site collection will allow you to import it on a different environment. It's working in a similar fashion than content deployment jobs. It will include in an environment agnostic way all the assets for to allow you to import it on a different farm.

In short : if you're working in single environment (or cloned environment) backup & restore will do the trick. If you need to move site collection between environments, export & import are better suited.


The difference is they are two different objects, so two different commands for two different purposes. You are mixing terminologies. Look at the description of Export-SPWeb in your link ("Exports a site, list, or library"). You aren't exporting a site collection...you are exporting a site in your case. A site collection and site are different. A site collection is, as the name implies, a collection of sites. A site resides within a site collection. So Backup-SPSite backs up a site collection, which would include all sites within the site collection. Export-SPWeb exports a site, not a site collection. The object type on a site is web, thus Export-SPWeb.

  • not a correct answer
    – user17251
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 16:50
  • 1
    What is not correct about it? I think you are misunderstanding the SharePoint object model, which is common. I've been doing SharePoint since version 2003, I think I've got this simple thing at least. ;)
    – DubStep
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 20:14

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