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Would there be drawbacks in enabling publishing for site collections by default (in on-premises SP2013)?

I would be interested in a generic answer but in our example we would have several thousands of site collections for document management, without extensive expected usage of publishing features.

For example - we lose MDS and publishing framework does some work under the covers: how much these could affect the overall farm performance? Are there other drawbacks?

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You hit the nail on the head with the loss of MDS.

The only real drawbacks to using the Publishing features are:

  • You can't turn the features off; there's no going back
  • Loss of the Minimal Download Strategy functionality
  • Loss of Save Site to Template functionality
  • End users will have to be trained on the new functionality

The question to ask in return is if there is not expected to be extensive use of these features, is losing MDS and having to train all of the end users worth the trade off?

On the other side of the argument, you do gain a lot of functionality. A lot.

Changes to navigation, publishing page layouts, additional webparts, content types, etc.

  • Do you know if publishing does a lot of background work (in app servers or in FEs etc?) lowering farm performance if enabled on a large % of site collections? – thomius Dec 9 '13 at 7:49
  • I don't think Publishing would lead to any serious performance degradations aside from loss of MDS. I don't know of any research into this specifically. I can't think of anything in the features that would add overhead, but the loss of MDS will be noticeable in a high traffic environment. – RJ Cuthbertson Dec 9 '13 at 23:06
  • Here is also a good article on what features publishing adds. There are also lots of timer jobs added but don't know how much they add stress on the server: technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff628963(v=office.14).aspx – thomius Dec 12 '13 at 10:31

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