SharePoint Best Practice: Reserving "Friendly" Top-Level URL's in the Portal

One of the first questions people ask after playing around with a SharePoint Portal for a while is “Why do my URLs suddenly have ‘Cx’ in them?”. Well, it’s a long story, and it was one of the first topics I decided to tackle on this blog. Rather than repeat myself, take a read of URLs Matter for a full explanation.  

Anyway, in that article I suggest that you may want to “reserve” these “friendly” top-level URLs for areas on the Portal that are particularly important. This was certainly the case with the customer I was working with at the time, and being able to reserve them became a very important part of the overall solution. For example they wanted to make sure of the following:

http://<portal>/HR – went to the HR Area
http://<portal>/Finance – went to the Finance Area

And so on, without this they were going to be very unhappy, and I didn’t want that!

This leads me on to my latest “Best Practice” post. This one seeks to detail the exact steps you should take in order to “reserve” these 20 URLs. The key thing to remember is that you have to perform these steps immediately after creating the portal, once an area has been created using a “friendly” top level URL the only way to get it back is to delete it.

The steps basically involve creating a hidden portal area, then moving dummy areas with “friendly” top-level URLs under it, safely storing them away until they are needed:

a. With the Portal Open click on “Manage Portal Site”
b. On the “Home” dropdown, select “Create Sub Area”
c. On the “Create Area” page, in the title, type “Reserved” and click “OK”
d. On the “Reserved” dropdown click “Edit”
e. Open the “Display” tab and check the “Exclude from Portal Navigation” box.
f. Click on the “Search” tab, and ensure “No” is select for “Include in search results” then click “OK”
g. On the “Reserve” drop down, select “Create Sub Area”
h. On the “Create Area” page, in the title, type “Reserve1” and click “OK”
i. Repeat until the URL of the new areas created include a “C1” then stop.

Note: This will stop at “Reserve3”, this is due to the sample areas that are created with each new portal. You will want to move these under the “Reserved” area you created above.

Note: You may also want to ensure the permissions on the “Reserved Areas” are such that only Administrators have access.

Finally, to use one of these reserved “friendly” URLs you simply delete one of the “Reserved Areas” with the “Friendly” Top-Level URL, then, immediately afterwards, create the area that requires the “Friendly” Top-Level URL.