What does this mean for existing Office 365 customers?
- As of February 2017, customers have had the ability in the SharePoint Admin Center to postpone the removal of their SharePoint Online public website, which would allow them to continue to use the site through March 31, 2018. Customers will continue to have the option of subscribing to third-party solutions for public website functionality. To postpone the site deletion through March 31, 2018, follow these steps:
- Select Admin from the App Launcher.
- Select Admin Centers.
- Select SharePoint.
- Select Settings.
- Scroll to Postpone deletion of SharePoint Online public websites.
- Select the I’d like to keep my public website until March 31, 2018 option.
Note Depending on your existing SharePoint experience, the steps may be slightly different. For example, you may not see the option to select Admin Centers.
Note Customers who have a Small Business subscription may not have access to the SharePoint Admin Center. Therefore, if a customer who has a Small Business subscription wants to postpone site deletion through March 31, 2018, they should contact Microsoft Support.
- Beginning May 1, 2017, anonymous access for existing sites will no longer be available. If customers need more time to move their public website, they have a one-time postponement option for up to one year (March 31, 2018). Customers must select the postpone option by May 1, 2017.
If you can't postpone the deletion of the SharePoint Online public websites, you won't see the MAKE WEBSITE ONLINE button available in the upper-right corner.
Note In the URL path, replace <domainname> with your domain name.
- On October 2, 2017, when Microsoft deletes the public site collection in SharePoint Online, customers will no longer have access to the content, images, pages, or any other files that reside on their public website. Before October 2, 2017, customers should make a backup copy of all their public website content, images, pages, and files, so that they don’t lose this content permanently.
Note Microsoft previously cited September 1, 2017, as the date when public site collections in SharePoint Online would be deleted. However, this has been postponed to October 2, 2017, and communicated to customers accordingly.
- On March 31, 2018, Microsoft will delete all public sites that have been postponed.
Customers will see a banner at the top of their sites that states the following:
"Reminder: this site will soon be unavailable. Click Here to learn more."
The link in the banner points to this Knowledge Base article. The banner cannot be removed.
What happens after your public website is deleted?
On October 2, 2017, when Microsoft deletes the public site collection in SharePoint Online, customers will no longer have access to the content, images, pages or any other files that reside on their public website. Customers can, however, recover their content through the Recycle Bin. To recover files from the Recycle Bin, follow these instructions.
Note When you delete an item from a site recycle bin, that item automatically goes into the second-stage recycle bin or site collection recycle bin, where it remains for approximately 30 days, after which it's completely purged from SharePoint.
What does this mean for new Office 365 customers?
How will this change be communicated to Office 365 customers?
Will Microsoft fix any new issues that affect existing public websites?
Why is Microsoft making this change?
As part of the evolution of the Office 365 service, we periodically evaluate the capabilities of the service to make sure that we’re delivering the utmost value to customers. After careful consideration, we concluded that for public websites, Office 365 customers would be better served by third-party providers whose core competency is public websites. Therefore, we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue the SharePoint Online Public Website feature so that we can focus our efforts and investments on delivering capabilities in Office 365 that will bring more value to our customers.
Overview of third-party offerings
You can migrate your SharePoint Online Public Website to a partner website. For more information, see Migrate your SharePoint Online Public Website to a partner website.
Please note that the process of migrating to an alternative solution is not supported by Microsoft support staff.
Will customers or users lose any content while they make the transition?
All migration of content and data is a manual process and must be completed by the customer. To avoid disruption and data loss, customers should back up all content and data from the SharePoint Online Public Website feature before they switch to any new solution or service. This will minimize potential disruptions.
Note There are multiple ways to back up your public site data. One way is to follow steps 1-10 at Migrate your SharePoint Online Public Website to a partner website. These steps put a copy of your public website files in a specified location.