How to configure Host-named site collection architecture and deployment in SharePoint

Host-named site collections are the preferred method to deploy sites in SharePoint 2013. Because the Office 365 environment uses host-named site collections, new features are optimized for these site collections and they are expected to be more reliable. Learn how to plan for and implement host-named site collections, design URLs, and manage URLs.

Host-named site collections enable you to assign a unique DNS name to site collections. For example, you can address them as and This enables you to deploy many sites with unique DNS names in the same web application. It also enables hosters to scale an environment to many customers. If you do not use host-named site collections, your SharePoint web application will contain many path-based site collections that share the same host name (DNS name). For example, Team A has a site collection at, and Team B has a site collection at

Microsoft recommends host-named site collections unless requirements dictate that path-based sites with alternate access mapping are necessary (described later in this article). This article describes how to implement host-named site collections in a recommended configuration with SharePoint 2013.

Recommended architecture for Host Name Site Collections

The recommended configuration for deploying sites is using host-named site collections with all sites located within a single web application, as illustrated in the following diagram.

This recommended configuration in the diagram includes the following elements:

The number of sites within the web application and the URLs for sites are not important for this example.

When creating a Web application for host-named site collections, the URL of the Web application and the root site collection will be http://<servername>/.

This architecture is recommended to deploy sites because it is the same architecture that the Office 365 environment uses. Consequently this is the most heavily tested configuration. New features, including the App model and Request Management, are optimized for this configuration, and it is the most reliable configuration going forward.

The recommended configuration does not include the following elements:

  • Enabling apps in environments with multiple zones.
  • Mixing host-named site collections and path-based site collections (except the root site collection).
  • Multiple web applications with host-named site collections.

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