Configuring SharePoint Solutions: Setting up and Using a Publishing Portal

Configuring SharePoint Solutions: A publishing portal allows web publishing to take place as the top of a site collection hierarchy for any SharePoint.

By Anthony Baratta

Phase 1 of setting up SharePoint as a Content Management Service

In a previous blog post, we provided a basic overview list of the different types of site templates that are available with the most recent refresh of SharePoint Online. Most enterprises using SharePoint Online today have access to over a dozen templates—each of which serves its own unique purpose. One of the most frequently used of these templates is the SharePoint publishing portal.

The publishing portal or publishing site templates are essentially the templates you will want to use if you need to harness SharePoint's content management capabilities. With a publishing site, you can configure authorship, set up an approval system, work on articles or blogs, and easily publish new posts. Below, we will tell you a bit about how you can set up a publishing portal and use it to create publishing sites and subsites.

What Is the Difference Between a Publishing Portal and a Publishing Site?

The first thing that is important to understand is the basic jargon of SharePoint's publishing systems. In this article, we have already used the phrases "publishing portal" and "publishing site"—to the point where it might seem as if they are interchangeable. In truth, a publishing portal forms the top of a site collection hierarchy for any publishing activities you might want to undertake with SharePoint. The portal allows web publishing to take place.

A publishing site or subsite, on the other hand, is what you will use to manage content. With a publishing site, you can draft content, revise existing articles or posts, and publish pages to the web. You can also use a publishing site or subsite to set up approval workflows for article publication.

Setting up Your Publishing Portal

Long before you can arrange a workflow or publish an article, though, you must create the publishing portal site collection for your SharePoint intranet. You must also go through this step if you would like to activate publishing features on any of your other SharePoint sites or templates.

You can find Microsoft's detailed walkthrough on how to set up a publishing portal. Essentially, you will need to log into Office 365, navigate to the Admin center, select "Resources," choose "Sites," and click "Create a site."

This action will bring up a "New Site Collection" form, where you will need to fill out the following fields:

  • Title: Give a name to this site collection.

  • Website Site Address: Choose a URL for your publishing site collection.

  • Select a Language: Specify English (or any other preferred language) for your publishing portal.

  • Select a Template: Click the "Publishing" tab and then select Publishing Portal.

  • Time Zone: You will choose the time zone for your site based on your location and time zone.

  • Administrator: Specify the user who will be the admin for your publishing site collection.

  • Storage Quantity: Depending on your SharePoint version and package, you will have a different number of gigabytes available for storage.

  • Server Resource Quota: This limit helps to prevent your site collection from using too many server resources and thus slowing down your SharePoint service.

Once you've filled out every field, click "OK." SharePoint will create your publishing portal, once created you will be able to move on to configuring individual publishing sites and subsites.

Use Your Publishing Portal by Creating a Subsite

The idea of the publishing portal hierarchy is that all sites featured in the collection will inherit publishing features. You will, therefore, be able to use these sites to author, store, approve, and publish new content. Features include libraries (useful for storing photos, videos and other media that goes along with your posts), page layouts, and other helpful resources for a publishing site to have.

To create your first publishing-enabled site, go to the homepage for your new portal or site collection and open the settings menu. From there, you'll be able to select "Site Contents" and click "new subsite." This action will open another dialog box, where you can input the title, description, URL, language, permissions, and navigation settings of your publishing site.

You will fill this form out based on your company’s preferences. The biggest decision you must make is whether you want to have workflows implemented on your site. If you do, choose the Enterprise tab from the template section and click "Publishing Site with Workflow" as your template. If you don't, just select "Publishing Site" as your template. (You can turn workflows on later, if you decide you need them.)

Get Help with Your Publishing Portal and Publishing Sites

The summary provided above should allow you to set up your first publishing site and start playing around with their various features. If you need some extra information about the features that a publishing portal enables, read Microsoft's blog post.

For a deep dive into all that SharePoint has to offer and how we can assist you with any functions and capabilities, check out our topic page SharePoint Consulting: Experts reveal SharePoint mysteries, eliminate confusion.

If you want to take your new publishing portal and publishing subsites to the next level, or learn how to master the various content management features of your publishing site collection, 2Plus2 is your go to SharePoint Consultant. Call us today at 510-652-7700 to get in touch and schedule your free consultation with one of our SharePoint Experts.


Anthony Baratta
Anthony Baratta – Chief Technology Officer
Anthony helps the company realize it's mission - Real results. Every time. Fluent in technology, Anthony breaks down complex problems into scalable solutions and manageable automated tasks.
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