Structural navigation and performance

Structural navigation is an out-of-the-box solution for SharePoint sites with publishing enabled. This navigation option shows sites and/or pages under the current site in the site navigation. It does not require any customization, and users can easily add items, hide items, and manage navigation from the settings page.

Note: This article is intended for sites already using structural navigation. We do not recommend enabling this type of navigation if it hasn't already been used on your site.

Verify if your site is using structural navigation

Note: Structural navigation requires publishing to be enabled for the site. If you don't see the Navigation option under Look and Feel in on the Site Settings page, then your site does not have publishing enabled and this article is not applicable to your site.

  1. Go to your site and select Settings  Settings icon , then select Site information. At the bottom, select View all site settings.

  2. Under the Look and Feel heading, select Navigation.

    The Site Settings page in classic SharePoint, with the cursor selecting Navigation

  3. You have structural navigation enabled for your site if it is selected for either global navigation or current navigation. 

    The structural navigation options for SharePoint sites

Note: When using structural navigation, selecting Show pages will have negative impact on performance.

Caching for structural navigation

If you are using structural navigation on a site and notice page performance is lagging, we recommend that you enable caching for improved performance. 

Once caching is enabled, it will work continuously until disabled. When changes to navigation are made, the navigation items will automatically refresh daily. You can also refresh navigation items manually.

Note: Caching cannot be controlled at a tenant level. You can only enable or disable caching at the site level or site collection level. 

To enable caching at the site level:

  1. Go to your site and select Settings  Settings icon , then select Site information. At the bottom, select View all site settings.

  2. Under the Look and Feel heading, select Navigation.

  3. Scroll to the Structural Navigation: Caching section, and check the box for Enable caching.

    The Structural Navigation caching option, showing as enabled

  4. Click OK.

Note: If the Enable caching checkbox is not available, confirm that caching is enabled at the site collection level. 

To enable caching at the site collection level:

Note: This option is only visible to a site collection administrator.

  1. Go to your site and select Settings  Settings icon , then select Site information. At the bottom, select View all site settings.

  2. Under the Site Collection Administration heading, select Site collection navigation.

  3. Scroll to the Structural Navigation Caching section and check the box for Enable structural navigation caching.

    Checkbox to enable or disable structural navigation caching at a site collection level

  4. Click OK.

To refresh the cache manually:

Note: Navigation items will automatically refresh daily if changes are made when caching is enabled. Site owners can also manually refresh navigation items from navigation settings as needed.

  1. Go to your site and select Settings  Settings icon , then select Site information. At the bottom, select View all site settings.

  2. Under the Look and Feel heading, select Navigation.

  3. Scroll to the Structural Navigation: Refresh Cache section and click Refresh.

    The Structural Navigation refresh cache option

To disable caching at the site level:

Note: We do not recommend disabling structural navigation caching, as it will have a negative impact on page performance.

  1. Go to your site and select Settings  Settings icon , then select Site information. At the bottom, select View all site settings.

  2. Under the Look and Feel heading, select Navigation.

  3. Scroll to the Structural Navigation: Caching section and uncheck the box for Enable caching.

    The Structural Navigation caching option, showing as enabled

  4. Click OK.

To disable caching at the site collection level:

Note: This option is only visible to a site collection administrator. We do not recommend disabling structural navigation caching, as it will have a negative impact on page performance.

  1. Go to your site and select Settings  Settings icon , then select Site information. At the bottom, select View all site settings.

  2. Under the Site Collection Administration heading, select Site collection navigation.

  3. Scroll to the Structural Navigation Caching section and uncheck the box for Enable structural navigation caching.

    Checkbox to enable or disable structural navigation caching at a site collection level

  4. Click OK.

For more information about other navigation options available for SharePoint in Microsoft 365, see Navigation options for SharePoint Online.

Related PowerShell commands

If you are a site owner or site collection owner, and are familiar with PowerShell, you can use the following commands to verify the current state of a site or site collection, and enable or disable caching.

Site owners can run:

Site collection owners can run:

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