Basic SharePoint terms

Web Application

  1. This is an IIS web site configured in SharePoint to provide content or services such as workflow. Excel calculation service etc.
  2. This works on Http Handler like ASP.Net 2.0
  3. This allows for logical separation of SharePoint content. Each web app runs under a different process on the IIS web server.
  4. These were the Virtual server in WSS 2.0.
  5. Each Web Application can have their, own domain name and IP address.
  6. Examples of different Web Application are, central administration site which run on arbitrary port number and SharePoint site which runs on port number 80.
  7. At the time of creating one Web Application, one Content database is also getting created.

Site Collection

  1. This is collection of site inside a web application.
  2. All sub sites inside a site collection having same global configuration setting, like Admin , recycle bin, theme ,permission etc.
  3. Each Site Collection has one Top level web site.
  4. A site collection uses a single content database.

Site or Web

As of MSDN

A SharePoint site is a place for collaboration, communication, or content storage. Depending on your business needs, you can create sites such as team sites, blog sites, wiki sites, and others. You can customize a site’s appearance, users, user permissions, galleries, and site administration by using the Site Settings administration pages.

  1. It
    is a collection of pages, lists and related settings.
  2. It is where, all bulk ok action takes place.
  3. As programmer view this object is getting interacted most
  4. These lives underneath a site collection.
  5. Global settings are applied on Site from the Site Collection.
  6. There are many types of sites template available like Help Desk Template, WIKI template etc.

SharePoint Server Farm

In the context of SharePoint, the term ‘farm’ is used to describe a collection of one or more SharePoint servers and one or more SQL servers that come together to provide a set of basic SharePoint services bound together by a single Configuration Database in SQL.

  1. This is collection of one or more server.
  2. One Server Farm has only single Configuration database.
  3. In a farm there are many services which run on one server or all.
  4. All the services which are running on a Server Farm are running on all web application in that particular Server Farm.
  5. Server Farm provides Load balancing, scalability and fault tolerance.
  6. In Server Farm, multiple servers appear as a single resource.

Site Definitions


A set of files that includes a master XML configuration file that is stored on all front-end Web servers. A site definition provides the basic blueprint for how sites look, what lists they include, their default navigational structures, and so on.

  1. These consist of series of files which define components like lists, features, master pages etc.
  2. These contain many configurations, which get interfaced by site template.
  3. All Site Templates are based on the site definitions.
  4. These are stored in \\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE directory.
  5. These used the File System.


Site Template:


A package containing a set of differences and changes from a base site definition that is created through the UI or through implementation of the object model. The site template package is stored as a .cab-based file that can be downloaded or uploaded to site collections by users with the appropriate rights. Site templates offer a measure of portability to SharePoint applications.

  1. This is not a site definition
  2. It is used to refer one of the configuration in the site definition
  3. These are stored in database as .stp file.


Happy Coding

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