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My organization has multiple clients. And we need to create similar site collections (with 4 lists and few items which must be the same for every client) for each client. So I was advised to create 1 site collection and then take backup of this and for every new client, to restore this when creating new site collection; rather than creating fresh sitecollection with new lists.

  1. I would like to know, in simple words, what is difference between site template and site definition?

  2. So, when we backup a sitecollection, are we backingup the site template or the site definition?

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    Site collection backup isn't a site template or a site definition.. Site collection is an instance of either the template/definition.. It's the same concept of a class and an object, the class is a blue-print same as a template/definition.. The object is an instance same as a site collection.. – Arsalan Adam Khatri Apr 28 '14 at 10:42
  • and what is the simple difference between site template and site definition? can you answer it in answers section so I will mark as answer as well. – variable Apr 28 '14 at 10:45
  • I don't have a simple definition that can explain the difference, let someone else share his thoughts on this.. – Arsalan Adam Khatri Apr 28 '14 at 10:48
  • Suppose we create 2 sites. One from site template and another site from site definition. Then does modification to the site def or site template get inherited by the site instance? – variable May 15 '15 at 7:18
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A site definition defines a unique SharePoint site. Site definition is a combination of multiple files like .xml, .aspx, .ascx, and .master page, .gif , .doc etc and are stored in C:\ProgramFiles\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\14\TEMPLATE\SiteTemplates directory.

But Site Templates are created from an existing site and are stored in Content database in the Sandboxed Solution gallery.

For more information check following links,

http://sharepointdevindia1.blogspot.in/2013/04/difference-between-site-template-and.html

http://www.enjoysharepoint.com/Articles/Details/differences-between-site-definition-and-site-template-in-sharepoint-2010-20657.aspx

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Site Templates : Are snapshots of sites at a point in time. When a user customizes a site from the UI or SPD, the custom template consists of the difference between the original state of the site (determined by its definition) and the state of the site or list when the custom template is generated. Custom templates remain tied to a particular site definition (for example, the site definition for SharePoint Web sites or Meeting Workspace Web sites), so that if the site definition is not present or is changed, the custom template cannot work.

Site Definitions : As the name implies, A Site definition is "core definition of a site" . Each site definition emerges through a combination of files that are placed in the 12 hive of WFE during installation of SharePoint. Site definition files include .xml, .aspx, .ascx, and .master page files, as well as document template files (.dot, .htm, and so on), and content files (.gif, .doc, and so on).

  • where are both saved? Content db? – variable Apr 30 '14 at 6:27
  • for site definition files are on disk and for site template files are on files are in database – Varun Verma Apr 30 '14 at 10:39
  • Suppose we create 2 sites. One from site template and another site from site definition. Then does modification to the site def or site template get inherited by the site instance? – variable May 15 '15 at 7:18
  • what do you mean by site instance here. Please elaborate? – Varun Verma May 15 '15 at 11:57
  • Instance means new site from this def or template – variable May 15 '15 at 12:40
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Site definition is a template you creating it using codes.

Site template is its existing template already Microsoft provided for us in the SharePoint.

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