How it works: Site Directory

I’m writing a 5 parts troubleshooting post series about SharePoint 2007 Site Directory troubleshooting and in order to successfully troubleshoot a feature you need to understand how it works under the hood. This quite long post is part one of the series is about the details of Site Directory feature focusing on the site directory form rendering and entry addition to the Site Directory.

First of all Site Directory is a site template in MOSS 2007 enterprise edition under the Enterprise category.


The official documentation about the usage and purpose of Site Directory can be found here.

By default users are creating subsites (SPWeb) under the site directory website when they are using the create site button:


After you enable self-service site creation in Central admin site under Application Management / “Self-service site management” for the web application you can configure Site Directory to create site collections.



The Create site button will open /_layouts/scsignup.aspx in the root of the web application instead of /_layouts/newsbweb.aspx in the site directory subsite to create a site collection (SPSite) instead a subweb (SPWeb).

If you do not have a site collection created in the root you cannot enable Self-service site creation. It will fail with this error message:


It is good to keep in mind when you are designing your managed path / site collection creation strategy.

If you decide to create site directory site as a root site of a site collection (a top level website) you will face a problem with the Create Site button will have an incorrect url. (http://_layouts/newsbweb.aspx). Solution is described in the following KB article:Error message when you click "Create Site" on the tab that is located in the upper-right corner of the Site Directory page of a site collection: "Page cannot be displayed"

There is no such problem if you enable Self-service site creation though.

In order to successfully troubleshoot a Site Directory form display problem you must be able to verify if the user creates a site collection (/_layouts/scsignup.aspx  or /_admin/createsite.aspx) or a subsite (/_layouts/newsbweb.aspx)

You also have to keep in mind that each site collection  can contain multiple site directory subsites – each configures with different custom categories. However there is only one master site directory per farm. All three forms can receive the site directory url in query string and they can look it up automatically. If your customizations to the categories does not show up, make sure your new form is using the site directory you’ve just modified. For details, read on.

The Site categories form

This is the default form you will see out of the box.


The form looks the same for both type of creation pages but the logic and the actions done after clicking “Create” are very different.

Since by this time you know if this is a subweb creation or a site collection creation you can read in the next posts how that specific form is rendered.

How it works: Site categories form for subsite creation

How it works: Site categories form for site collection creation


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