during my internship my group created a tool for handling surveys. All stuff is put in one site collection, consisting of several subsites with adjusted master pages, custom lists and workflows. Now we need to move this site collection, including all dependencies, to another 2010 productive server.

Unfortunately we have no Visual Studio experience and we are running a little out of time (the next 2 weeks just 1 day a week) to finish this. Before choosing the wrong method to do this I wanted to ask what method should be preferred to perform this:

1) http://spdeploymentwizard.codeplex.com/ (which makes use of the content-migration API)

2) Backup and Restore Site Collection via Central Administration

3) Other method (Template or something similar)?

Any help with this is greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,


  • I can recommend the Content Deployment Wizard. It allows you to select the parameters with a GUI and is very easy to use. You can retain properties and metadata, and also the security settings of the site.
    – teylyn
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 1:53

1 Answer 1


The two most common ways I do this are:

  1. The following commands in Powershell:

    Backup-SPSite http://yoursitename.com/site -path d:\yourfile.bak
    Restore-SPSite http://whereveryouwantyoursitetogo.com/site d:\yourfile.bak

    For this, you do want to note that you can't have two sites with the same GUID in the same web application. What this means, practically speaking, is that you can't just run the backup/restore to make multiple copies of a site in the same web app.

  2. Put the site collection into its own content database and then either detach the DB and move it to the new SQL instance where you want to put the site, or make a copy of the DB and do the same. You can then run the following command:

    Mount-SPContentDatabase "MyDatabase" -DatabaseServer "MyServer" -WebApplication http://sitename

    ...to get the DB in question on the new server.

Usually, I run option #1 unless I absolutely have to do #2. I don't usually have just one single site collection in a content DB and IME it takes nearly as long to move a site to a new DB as it does to just run the Backup-SPSite command. However, if it's an especially large site, you may have no other choice. I believe that MS puts the upper limit on the Backup-SPSite command at around 75GB, but practically speaking you need to have a server with total RAM + pagefile space of around 2-3x the size of the site collection to run it. This is no big deal with a 4GB site (although even that can take a couple hours depending on how big the lists are inside of it) but with a 200GB site (and yes, I have to maintain one of those) (and no, I wasn't around when it was created), option #2 is the only choice that I have.

  • 1
    Good answer, I'd like to add that size factors into your decision to move more than anything else. If it's a smallish collection (< ~20GB) stay with option 1, else look at detaching/re-attaching DB's. Also to consider is that the site is locked to read-only in option 1, so make sure nobody is actively using the site if you can help it.
    – tekiegreg
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 15:51
  • 1
    Yeah, those are good points, too, tekiegreg. Usually it's best to do the backup portion during system downtime or at least after business hours. Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 15:52

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