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We are looking at deploying the SharePoint 2013 personal site/ MySite feature but management wants to change a lot of things that come with the default template. We want to suppress certain features and add custom features the link to existing ERP systems.

I've only barely started with 2013 and I'm having trouble finding a place to start. We are going to be deploying on-premise enterprise SharePoint (legal and security insist that we deploy on-premise). The site creation and configuration has to be completely automated due to the number of employees we have. My questions can be summarized as:

  • Can the personal site / MySite template be customized or the application changed to deploy a different template?
  • Is this a good idea?
  • Where should I start looking for information on this?

I am having a horrible time finding information from Technet and web searches aren't getting me very far. I'm wondering if I can't find information because most people don't do this. At least getting the basic site up and running was easy...

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I do not think you can easily change the Site Definition that are used for creation of MySite personal sites.

The normal approach is to use Feature Stapling, to push in your own features "on top" of the Site definition. The features can have for example Feature Receivers that change specific things, and modules that adds Lists, pages, branding files).

Here is a good starting point: http://sharepointologic.blogspot.se/2013/04/branding-sharepoint-2013-my-sites-with.html where stapling is discussed in a branding mysite perspective.

  • There is a Microsoft pre-sales engineering person who is supposed to give me an "official answer" in a week or so but his initial comments match yours. – SBWorks Aug 9 '13 at 3:15
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    It was confirmed by MS that this not officially supported. You have to make your own "My Site Host" site and your own "my site" template instead - a true roll your own solution. – SBWorks Dec 19 '13 at 7:44
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As part of setting up "My Sites", you have to tell it a template when you create the site collection you intend to use for it. Microsoft tells you to use the "My Site Host" template, but there's no reason why you can't change that - either on initial installation when you are first creating the Site Collection, or to delete the Site Collection and re-create it with the exact same parameters (very important) except for the template. This does mean you will lose any previously created sites, however. There's no way around that, that I'm aware of.

When you go through the "Setup My Sites" area of the User Profile Service Application, I believe it will add a managed path for your site, however - this prevents the re-creation of a site collection at that location. If you have a managed path for your My Sites, remove that from the "Managed Paths" section in the "Manage web applications" area of Central Administration, then you can re-create the Site Collection and either add back the "Managed Path" manually or, as I would recommend, go through the "Setup My Sites" in the User Profile Service Application and just hit the OK at the end, so it "re-does" everything it did before - which should include re-adding in the Managed Path. If not, it can still be added back manually as a Wildcard Inclusion path.

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There is a site template specifically for MySites public and private. The public one is shared on all instances. The private one is provisioned with each mysite creation process. If you modify the private one (MySiteHost?), it will carry those modifications over for every personal site collection provisioned. On prem 2013 I believe is just like 2010 so what I told you should work. You might not find the documentation for 2013 on this feature though. Look for it in 2010 and even 2007. When 2013 is installed, it gives you the 14 hive (2010) and the 15 hive (2013). Just understand, if you modify the MySiteHost site template, it will be unsupported. Whenever a CU or SP comes along, it might wipe out your changes. You will need to make this change to the 15 hive on every web front end. You will need to understand how the site definition file and modules work to make these changes. Feature stapling can also work but sometimes its tricky running your mods on the web part pages using object model.

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    Please please please, don't even suggest putting the solution in an unsupported state. If OP or another reader does not fully understand the impact of that, thing can get unpleasant for all involved! – Robert Lindgren Jul 26 '13 at 18:18
  • This wouldn't necessarily be "unsupported". If you save off the old template as "_old" and replace it with another one, that's not a bad deal and you could easily switch it back if you needed Microsoft support. But this write-up on how to do that needs work. – vapcguy Mar 7 at 16:00

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