SharePoint Site vs. Subsite: What’s the Difference?

Are you confused about the differences between a SharePoint site and a subsite? Well, it should be obvious from the name alone that a subsite is an additional site to a main site. What does that mean, though?

In this article, we will give a very clear difference between a site and a subsite in SharePoint.

Let’s check it out together!

SharePoint Site vs. Subsite: What’s the Difference?

Simply put, SharePoint uses a system where sites are like groups of pages plus smaller sites that all share information in one place. The main (leading) site is the boss in the “site collection,” and it’s the only one that isn’t nested/put inside any other sites. So, it’s the only site you have. 

All the other sites within your SharePoint setup are called “subsites.”

And that’s the difference. That was for us who don’t like complicated definitions. But for those who prefer technical language, here is the explanation:

Within SharePoint, a site is a grouping of pages and subsites whose content is controlled by a single database. Subsites are nested sites that can exist within a SharePoint site. 

The top site in your site collection is the only one that is a true site and not a subsite because it does not appear beneath any other sites. The root of your site collection is, therefore, the only site you actually have in your environment. Subsites then make up every other site in your SharePoint environment.


A SharePoint site contains content inside lists, document libraries, and pages, etc. It is automatically created when you set up a team in Microsoft Teams. 

Users often save common files, such as initiatives, contacts, calendars, etc., to a main SharePoint site. Organizations often build channels for every team in the same department on their SharePoint site. 

A Microsoft SharePoint site is, essentially, just a virtual box if you want to keep things straightforward. You can find all of your lists and document libraries inside this virtual box.

You and your team may access shared resources and information via a SharePoint team site. Use team sites for organizing information lists, store and share files, and store and collaborate on documents.

Recommended reading: How to Copy or Duplicate a SharePoint Site?


Despite being a part of a larger site or site collection, a SharePoint subsite is still technically a SharePoint site. Essentially, it’s identical to regular sites with the exception that it’s located within a site. 

Within the SharePoint environment, subsites serve as separate, distinct areas to store data within a larger site. Depending on their duties and functions, an individual could have access to several subsites.

Whether you build a “site” or a subsite, all the options for site templates are readily available.

A subsite is just a website that is a subordinate of another website and runs entirely under the internet domain name of that website. When used properly, subsites may be excellent tools for organizations. 

They are often used to deliver a wonderful experience to a specific group of users or to introduce a fresh brand or marketing initiative for a website.

To Recap

Sites and subsites in SharePoint have similar functions, even though they may be managed and used differently. Subsites are usually more user-friendly because regular sites often have lots of content that can’t fit into one layout. 

Now, you can choose when to create a site in SharePoint and learn how subsites can be useful. This article aims to help you understand the distinctions between SharePoint sites and subsites.


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Jon Harris is a Technical writer with experience working for cybersecurity and tech related companies. He has a bachelor's degree in computer science and likes to read, hike, and fish in his spare time. He began his career in computer science before pursuing a career as a writer, and editor.