Delete and restore site collections in SharePoint Server

Summary: How to delete and restore SharePoint Server 2016 and SharePoint 2013 site collection content, user information, and the site hierarchy.

If you've created a team site to track progress on a specific project, and the project has ended, you might decide to delete the site collection after a certain amount of time has passed.

When you delete a site collection, you are deleting the hierarchy of sites that comprise the collection. Deleting a site collection, also permanently destroys all content and user information, such as the following:

  • Documents and document libraries.

  • Lists and list data, including surveys, discussions, announcements, and events.

  • Site configuration settings.

  • Role and security information that is related to the website.

  • Subsites of the top-level website, their contents, and user information.

Note

You should back up a site collection before you delete it. For more information, see Plan for backup and recovery in SharePoint Server.

If the site collection is associated with a Project Server service application, you must remove the association and delete the Project Web App before you delete the site collection. You can remove the site collection association with the Project Server service application from service application settings page in the SharePoint Central Administration website.

Before you begin

Before you delete a site collection, ensure that a backup copy of the site collection and all of its contents exists.

There are two recycle bins in SharePoint and the retention time for each is as follows:

  • Site Recycle Bin (First-Stage) = 30 days

  • Site Collection (Second Stage) = 50% of the site quota

The maximum possible retention time for an item is 30 days. If you don't reach the second stage quota limit, the deleted item stays in one of the recycle bins for 30 days. If an item is deleted and resides in the first stage recycle bin, it is retained for the entire 30 days since it will still count against your quota. If an item is deleted and resides in or is moved to the second stage recycle bin, it does not count against your quota unless it's a deleted SharePoint web application, but the retention time for this item could be less than the 30 days if the total amount of content in the second stage bin exceeds the 50% of the site quota.

Delete a site collection by using Central Administration

After you perform this procedure, the site collection and all of its content and user information will be permanently destroyed.

To delete a site collection by using Central Administration

  1. Verify that you have the following administrative credentials:

    • To delete a site collection, the user account that is performing this procedure must be a member of the Farm Administrators SharePoint group.
  2. Open Central Administration.

  3. On the Central Administration website, click Application Management.

  4. On the Application Management page, in the Site Collections section, click Delete a site collection.

  5. On the Delete Site Collection page, in the Site Collection list, click Change Site Collection.

    The Select Site Collection webpage dialog box appears.

  6. In the Web Application list, click Change Web Application.

    The Select Web Application webpage dialog box appears.

  7. Click the name of the web application that contains the site collection that you want to delete. Relative URLs of sites in the site collections of the web application that you have selected appear on the Select Site Collection dialog box.

  8. Click the relative URL of the site collection that you want to delete, and then click OK.

  9. Read the Warning section and verify that the site collection information is correct.

  10. On the Delete Site Collection page, click Delete.

Delete a site collection by using Microsoft PowerShell

After you perform this procedure, the site collection and all of its content and user information will be permanently destroyed.

To delete a site collection by using PowerShell

  1. Verify that you meet the following minimum requirements:

    • securityadmin fixed server role on the SQL Server instance.

    • db_owner fixed database role on all databases that are to be updated.

    • Local Administrators group on the server on which you are running the Microsoft PowerShell cmdlets.

  2. Open the SharePoint Management Shell.

  3. At the PowerShell command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

    Remove-SPSite -Identity "<URL>" -GradualDelete
    

    Where: <URL> is the unique address of the site collection you want to delete.

    This command removes the specified site collection and all subsites. Gradual deletion reduces the load on the system during the deletion process.

    The previous procedure illustrates a common way to use the Remove-SPSite cmdlet to delete a site collection. You can specify different parameters to configure this command differently. For more information, see Remove-SPSite.

    Note

    We recommend that you use Microsoft PowerShell when performing command-line administrative tasks. The Stsadm command-line tool has been deprecated, but is included to support compatibility with previous product versions.

Restore a site collection by using Microsoft PowerShell

If you've accidentally deleted a site collection, you can restore it using PowerShell.

When a site collection (that is, a SPSite object) is accidentally deleted in SharePoint Server, the deleted site collection is stored in the SPDeletedSite object, not the SPSite object. To restore a deleted site collection, you must use the Restore-SPDeletedSite cmdlet or programmatically access the object model.

See also

Concepts

Create a site collection in SharePoint Server

Overview of sites and site collections in SharePoint Server