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Group site for developer blogs dealing with (usually) .NET, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2010, Office 365, SharePoint Online, and other Microsoft products, as well as some discussion of general programming related concepts.

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Corey Roth [MVP]

A SharePoint MVP bringing you the latest time saving tips for SharePoint 2013, Office 365 / SharePoint Online and Visual Studio 2013.

Office 365 How to: Create a public facing website with SharePoint Online

I had been told from the beginning that you can create “simple” public facing websites with SharePoint Online / Office 365.  However, I had never seen the setting a place to create the public web site in the beta until recently.  If you go to tenant administration (located at and go to the Site Collections page, there is a new option under the New button in the ribbon.


Clicking on the button, presents you with a dialog asking you about your new public website.  There are quite a few options to configure so let’s take a look at them.


After you provide a Title for the site you are asked to provide a URL for the public site.  However, by default, the only option you have is However, you can use your own name if you configure your DNS settings in the Office 365 administration page.  I’ll just use the default URL here for today.  You are then also prompted for a default language and time zone.   Further down the screen you will see a few more options which are required.


You must provide an administrator for the site and then you also have to provide a storage quota and resource usage quota.  These require values, so I usually just put in 1000 for each.  It’s hard to know at this point how many “resources” a typical site might need.  Hopefully, there will be some official guidance on this at some point.  Once you do say ok, give it a few minutes to create your new site collection.


When it’s finished provisioning your site collection, you’ll see it in the list.


You are now ready to check out your new public facing web site with SharePoint Online.  What does it look like?  Take a look at the image below or go to and check it out for yourself.


As you can see it actually creates a simple site with a Page Library.  It actually looks nothing like SharePoint either.  Clicking on the Member Login link takes you to the Page Library itself where you can edit the pages.


Clicking on one of the pages allows you to start editing.


One issue I did have is that even though I am an administrator I can’t see all of the administration options in the Site Actions menu.


I’m not sure if this is a bug or by design.  I’ll probably post something in the forums and ask.  However, you can still get to the Site Settings page by going to /_layouts/settings.aspx.  Here, you can get to the solutions gallery, master pages, features, etc..  You should be able to brand the site just like you would any other SharePoint site using SharePoint Designer and / or sandboxed solutions with Visual Studio 2010.


That’s a quick look at the public facing site options with Office 365.  From my understanding, this is meant for simple public sites and not the equivalent of FIS.  I think if you try to build a site or hundreds of thousands of users per day, you’ll quickly exceed your resource quota.  However, it’s great for simple brochure type sites that are easy to manage.



Michael Greth [SharePoint MVP] said:

Office 365 Office 365 How to: Build and Deploy a Web Part with SharePoint Online Office 365 How to: Create

April 18, 2011 8:39 AM

Warren Roscoe said:

Just wondering what you mean by FIS ??

April 25, 2011 5:28 AM

CoreyRoth said:

@Warren FIS = SharePoint for Internet Sites.  The current public facing SKU of SharePoint 2010.  Sorry, I shouldn't use so many acronyms.  :)

April 25, 2011 8:45 PM

TIP – Office365 as public facing website platform … « Roel Gyd?? … said:

Pingback from  TIP – Office365 as public facing website platform … « Roel Gyd?? …

April 28, 2011 2:37 AM

webbrewer said:

When talking about O365, the plan type should always be specified. This article refers to the E3 enterprise plan only. The set up for the more common P1 Small Business plan public web site is completely different. ( the site is ready to go as soon as you configure 365).

And the link to create a public site in E3 plans was always there. It isn't something new as suggested in the article.

May 15, 2011 10:03 AM

shawn said:

Sharepoint {anonymous|create public website}

Make a Public Site in SharePoint

Yes you can make a public site in SharePoint, and it is actually not too confusing.

On SharePoint you want to create web application in central administration.

Next find authentication providers, followed by selecting enable anonymous,

and save.

Find web application management, select site, under anonymous policy, check deny write.

Simple orders to follow to Navigate to Site:

1. Choose Site Action

2. Select Site Setting

3. Select Site Permissions

4. And then click Anonymous Access, followed by Entire Website, then OK.

Now close all browsers and go back into the website again. Once back in if you did everything correctly you will be browsing as anonymous!

Shawn Zernik

June 14, 2011 1:14 PM

The Grid said:

The Grid is full of Office 365 experts that are brimming with great information. The Grid pulls in the latest blog posts from all Grid users. The Grid User Post blog series will expose some of The Grid's best content to the entire Office 365 Community

June 16, 2011 4:00 PM

Lee Stevens said:

Great Article and nice and easy for most people to understand.

I wonder how many SharePoint will be adding the 'built in Office 365' strap line to their sites

* I will probably do this :-)

July 1, 2011 9:23 AM

Ashraf said:

i would like to suggest this url for adding and creating a public sharepoint site at office 365.

July 3, 2011 4:33 AM

The Grid said:

The Grid is full of Office 365 experts that are brimming with great information. The Grid User Post blog series will expose some of The Grid's best content to the entire Office 365 Community. Are you interested in contributing to The Grid? Click here

July 26, 2011 12:03 PM

Kaizn said:

Can I host more than one website?

August 2, 2011 9:54 AM

Kaizn said:

@CoreyRoth, I uploaded an application template to my SharePoint environment but could not "Activate" it. The Activate menu is greyed out. Any idea what to do?

August 2, 2011 9:56 AM

CoreyRoth said:

@Kaizn Unfortunately you only get one web site.  Let me see if I can reproduce the other issue you have.

August 4, 2011 9:08 AM

ale said:

Can I add a Blog to the public website ?

August 23, 2011 10:07 AM

CoreyRoth said:

@Ale this is not technically supported currently.

August 23, 2011 2:00 PM

Mike Kelly said:

Can I use SharePoint Designer to edit the pages?  The web-based editor for SharePoint is pretty lame.  I used Expression Web 3 to build my current site but would like to move the public site to my O365 instance so I can retarget the public URL for mail as well (i.e. no longer have the domain name).  Thanks for any advice on editing these - also seems like a great 3rd party opportunity to build a public web site for you - but I don't see anyone doing this.

September 3, 2011 6:30 PM

CoreyRoth said:

@Mike you can definitely open the site in SharePoint Designer but editing the pages may prove to be an issue.  You can find them in the Pages folder under All Files, but when you go to edit them the designer really doesn't work right.  It looks like you can manipulate the HTML directly though.

September 6, 2011 11:09 AM

colin said:

Is there anyway to use jQuery to support o365 internet facing site? Thx

September 11, 2011 12:53 AM

CoreyRoth said:

@colin although I haven't tried it myself with Office 365, you should be able to make use of Office 365 in web parts or by modifying the master page to include the reference.

September 15, 2011 5:22 PM

Robert said:

Any idea if it's possible to remove the "Member Login" navigation item?

October 4, 2011 10:01 AM

CoreyRoth said:

@Robert Hmm, I am thinking that may not be possible.  I haven't seen a way to create a custom login page in SharePoint Online.

October 17, 2011 9:36 PM

Haider said:


yes, you will find this under Design->Setup->Display Options->Display "Member Login" button in navigation  

October 24, 2011 9:31 AM

Kalin said:

I recently built my new site on o365

But it is not showing my site any more when you put it in the address bar??

Please i need some help    You can only see it if you enter     How do i fix this?

February 16, 2012 5:07 AM

CoreyRoth said:

@Kalin I took a look at your site and it looks like you figured it out.

February 16, 2012 10:30 PM

BD said:

@CoreyRoth and @Kalin

I have the same problem -- I can only view my website when I put in

but if I put it does not work.

How did you fix it @kalin

February 21, 2012 10:04 PM

Of Penguins & Coffee : IT @ QUB are moving forward said:

Pingback from  Of Penguins & Coffee : IT @ QUB are moving forward

February 11, 2013 7:05 AM

Dorothy Hooks said:

Hi I need help, I am changing from my reg Office 365 to Enterprise and I have been back and forth with Microsoft since last Tuesday and they have not helped. I need to get the correct DNS info for my sharepoint to point to my domain name (I have a custom domain); it is not working. I need to create a public facing site - I have already created my public site and change the name to my public site in the collection area but the cname record is wrong.

Thank you,

Dorothy Hooks

September 29, 2013 11:49 PM

Kevin Hoyt said:

Hi Corey, with SharePoint 2013 on Office 365 would you say the guidance still stands that public facing web sites are really only for brochure-type sites?  Would anyone seriously consider putting their corporate web site on a public facing site?  I work at an organization that can see large spikes of users at irregular and difficult to predict intervals.  Is that an environment that would not work well on an O365 public facing web site?

February 21, 2014 11:43 AM

CoreyRoth said:

@Kevin this is still pretty much one of those gray ares.  For the most part, I would say, it's still for brochure sites.  It has a few more features, but it's not the same experience still as an anonymous publishing site.  If you have something where you are expecting more traffic then you are still better off with SharePoint 2013 on-premises in that scenario.

February 25, 2014 2:36 PM

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About CoreyRoth

Corey Roth is an independent SharePoint consultant specializing in ECM, Apps, and Search.
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