How to Set a Site as Home Site in SharePoint Online

How to Set a Site as Home Site in SharePoint Online

Are you looking for some way to set a certain site that you have as the home site for your whole SharePoint intranet?

Fortunately for you, this feature has been available for quite some time now. That is, you can formally set up and label a site to be the main site of your portal.

In this article, I’ll show you the step-by-step process in setting a site to be the home site in SharePoint Online. But before that, let’s discuss first the considerations you need to remember before rushing off.

Why Have a Home Site in SharePoint Online

When you assign a site to be the home site of your intranet, a lot of things can happen…

1. Search Box Turns Into a Tenant-Wide Search

By default, the search box at the top of the site only searches the site (or if the site is the parent hub site, it will search the sites connected to the hub). However, with a home site, the search box will now search the whole tenant.

Search Box Turns Into a Tenant-Wide Search

2. Home Site Tag

Another feature that becomes available with the home site is the home site tag that you will see on the site. Every time you publish a new post, you will see a rectangle above the title to inform the user that the new post comes from the home site.

Home Site Tag

The same tag can also be observed on the SharePoint Start Page (and on the mobile experience). Since all it does is aggregate all the new posts from all the sites, new posts from the home site will also get the rectangle tag as shown above.

3. Home Button on the Mobile App

Once you assign a home site to your intranet, there will be a home button that will serve as a shortcut to the home site when using SharePoint mobile app. Meaning, the home site will be easily available to both Android and iOS app users.

Though the image below comes from Microsoft Docs, it nevertheless looks the same:

Home Button on the Mobile App

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    Considerations When Setting up a Home Site

    When assigning a site to be the home site, there are certain points that must remember. Make sure to read through this first before deciding which site to use as your SharePoint Online intranet’s home site.

    1. Only Communication Sites Can Be Turned to a Home Site

    Perhaps the most important consideration to remember is that only communication sites can be assigned as the home site of your intranet. You can use any other classic or modern site as the home site.

    Although some may argue that this is unreasonable, it’s actually quite logical. The purpose of a communication site is to become a place (or a site) where you and others can share vast information including news, reports, and updates.

    Only Communication Sites Can Be Turned to a Home Site

    In addition, the home site that you set will automatically become an organization news site. Only communication sites have this capability (seeing team sites are made for collaboration and communication between small teams).

    It’s also important to note that you can’t turn a communication site that’s associated with a hub into a home site. The communication site that you want to use must be a standalone site or one that’s registered as a hub site.

    This also goes without saying — but you can only have one home site at a time. It won’t be a home site if there are more of it, right?

    2. Only possible using PowerShell

    For now, setting a site as the home site is only possible through PowerShell — SharePoint Online Management Shell. You must also be a global admin or SharePoint admin in your Microsoft 365 tenant.

    The SharePoint Online Management Shell is a tool that will allow you to manage your SharePoint Online subscription in Office 365. It’s basically a version of Windows PowerShell that you need to download and install.

    You can get a copy of SharePoint Online Management Shell from Microsoft.

    How to Set Up a Home Site in SharePoint Online

    The first step is to choose an existing communication site that’s part of your tenant. You can head over to SharePoint Admin Center to see all the active sites that you have. Alternatively, you can also create a new communication site from scratch.

    SharePoint Admin Center Active Sites

    If you created a new communication site, you may want to customize it further and add additional features (web parts) like header/footer, site logo, navigation, news, events, and others that can help your users.

    Once you have that ironed out, all that’s left is to use PowerShell to set the communication site as the home site.

    How to Use PowerShell to Set the Home Site

    If this is the first time you will be using the SharePoint Online Management Shell, you don’t need to worry since I’ll show the process to your step by step.

    Step 1: Download and install the latest version of SharePoint Online Management Shell

    As I discussed earlier, you can download a copy from Microsoft and install it on your system.

    Download and install the latest version of SharePoint Online Managment Shell

    Step 2: Connect to the SharePoint admin site

    Once you already have the SharePoint Online Management Shell install, you need to open it and connect to your SharePoint admin site.

    Simply enter the following command in the prompt (but change the “domain” part):

    Connect-SPOService -Url https://domain-admin.sharepoint.com

    The domain is your SharePoint domain name. If the domain name is “mrsharepoint”, then it will be https://mrsharepoint-admin.sharepoint.com as shown below:

    Connect to the SharePoint admin site

    After pressing “Enter” on your keyboard, you will then be prompted to log in. Make sure to use your credential with SharePoint admin access.

    Step 3: Run the home site command

    The last step is to simply run the code the will command SharePoint to set a certain domain (site) as the intranet’s home site.

    Copy and paste the code below into the command prompt (but change the “domain” part):

    Set-SPOHomeSite -HomeSiteUrl https://domain.sharepoint.com

    The domain is the URL of the communication site that you want to set as the home site. For example, if the domain name is “communicationsite”, then the URL will likely be https://mrsharepoint.sharepoint.com/sites/communicationsite.

    If you’re not sure of the exact URL of the communication site, then just open it up and copy its link from the URL bar of your browser.

    After pressing “Enter”, PowerShell will ask you to confirm your decision. Press “Y” and hit “Enter” to proceed. The system will then inform you that the URL has been set as the home and that it will take some time before it takes effect.

    Run the home site command

    That’s it! You have no set a site as the home site of your SharePoint Online intranet successfully. Next up are the steps you need to take in case you want to unregister your home site from your tenant (or change it up).

    How to Unregister Your Home Site From Your Tenant

    The next logical question is, what to do if you want to change the home site or simply remove any home site in your tenant.

    Fortunately, both are easy to implement (and they have to be done using SharePoint Online Management Shell).

    1. How to Switch to a Different Home Site

    If all you want to do is use a different communication site as the home site, then just run the command again and put in the URL of the new communication site. Seeing you can only have one home site at a time, entering the command will change it.

    Without scrolling up, run the command below on the PowerShell and replace the URL with the communication site that you want to set up as the new home site:

    Set-SPOHomeSite -HomeSiteUrl https://domain.sharepoint.com

    Various reports indicate that running the command above the first time will only take several minutes for the changes to take effect. However, the second time and further instances of running this (switching it up) may take up to two hours for the changes to take effect.

    2. How to Remove Any Home Site

    If for any reason, you want to remove any home site from your SharePoint Online, all you need to do is run as a simple command on the PowerShell. This will remove any home site designation right away.

    Enter the following command on SharePoint Online Management Shell to remove any home site from your intranet:

    Remove-SPOHomeSite

    You don’t need to specify any URL in the command.

    Were you able to successfully set a site as the home site (or change/remove it)? If you still have additional questions, don’t hesitate to drop them down below in the comments section or reach me directly on my contact page.

    About Ryan Clark

    As the Principal Solutions Architect at Mr. SharePoint, I help companies of all sizes better leverage Modern Workplace and Digital Process Automation investments. I am also a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) for Office Apps & Services.

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