When creating a new site collection in SharePoint Online, I've noticed that you can choose either a "/sites/" or "/teams/" URL path when setting up the Public Website Address for the site collection.

What is the difference between these two URL paths? Are there any specific advantages or disadvantages between the two options?

2 Answers 2


From a technical point they're exactly the same. The only difference is the way users think of site collections beneath each of them. So it's common to use "/teams/" for site collections for individual teams and "/sites/" for everything else (in SharePoint Online, On-Premises often create their own)

"/sites/" and "/teams/" is what is called managed paths in SharePoint to be more specific they're so called wildcard managed paths which means that multiple Site Collections can be created beneath them.

  • +1 when you say individual teams are you referring to for example HR as being a team and Finanace being another? And, for 'everything else' would an example be a wiki site accessible by an entire organization?
    – Jacques
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 9:14

I think some knowledge of managed paths can be of help here -

What is managed path? A short description would be to determine URLs of the top sites or site collections using Managed Paths. When creating site collections for a web application, we need a container or a place where we can put them.

There are two different types we can use Managed paths- 1. Explicit - The folder/container (Security) we create becomes the available name for the site collection. Example - intranet.prod.com/Security 2. Wild Card - The folder/container (Country) becomes the starting point or parent of a site collection. Example - intranet.prod.com/Country/Argentina

So, let us see now how this can be achieved. As with almost any configuration with SharePoint 2013, this can be done either via Central Admin or Powershell. I have a web application as mentioned above having the URL as intranet.prod.com a) Central Admin Go to Application Management --> Manage Web Application --> Click on the Web Application (in my case intranet.prod.com) On the ribbon, click on the option called Managed Path.

For Explicit, enter the path say Security and in the Type drop down select Explicit. For Wildcard, enter the path say Country and in the Type drop down select Wildcard. The two paths can be seen at the top in the included path section.

b) Powershell For Explicit New-SPManagedPath "Security" -WebApplication "intranet.prod.com" -Explicit

For Wildcard New-SPManagedPath "Country" -WebApplication "intranet.prod.com" If -Explicit is not provided, Wildcard is taken by default.

Now, to check what we have made, we need to go to Application Management --> Create Site Collections Now, select the Web Application for which we had created the Managed Paths. In the URL section something like this would be displayed based on your Web Application name intranet.prod.com//

Now, when we select Security from the dropdown, the disappears because Security was defined as Explicit Managed path and hence it will be the name of the site collection we want to create. In this case we see that there can be only one Site Collection and only subsites under Security.

When we select Country from the dropdown we see that the appears and we can put in a name say Argentina and a new site collection would be created called Argentina. Here, we can have multiple Site Collections under Country based on the business requirement. So, managed path is a great way to manage the URLs for the site collection.

Source: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/32797.managed-paths-in-sharepoint-2013.aspx

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