Manage unused Web sites (SharePoint Foundation 2010)


Applies to: SharePoint Foundation 2010

Site usage confirmation and deletion can help to free resources that are used by sites that are no longer needed. Site collections can be deleted automatically after a specified period of inactivity or can depend on the site collection owner’s response to a notification.


To send e-mail notifications, you must configure outgoing e-mail settings. For more information, see Configure outgoing e-mail (SharePoint Foundation 2010).

Before completing the procedure in this topic, you should determine the following:

  • How long to wait before you check whether a site is inactive.

    The default time period for team sites or for project sites is 90 days after site creation. You can also set the time period that is given to site collection owners. You can give site collection owners a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 365 days as the notice period.

  • How often to send e-mail notifications to site owners to see whether their sites are inactive.

    After the first e-mail notification, if the site owner does not respond, you can continue to send additional notices at daily, weekly, or monthly intervals.

  • Whether you want to automatically delete unused sites or delete a site if the site owner does not respond to multiple e-mail notifications.

    If you delete sites without an owner’s approval, we recommend that you first back up the site. You can customize this functionality so that it automatically backs up a site before deletion by using the SharePoint 2010 Software Development Kit (SDK) (

  • If you plan to automatically delete unused sites, how many e-mail notifications will you send to the site owner before you do so?

    By default, 28 daily notices are sent before site deletion. You can configure this number from a minimum of 28 notices to a maximum of 168 notices. For weekly notices, you can send a minimum of four notices and a maximum of 24 notices. For monthly notices, you can send a minimum of two notices and a maximum of six notices to site owners.

    The e-mail notification contains links to confirm whether a site collection is active or inactive. After an e-mail notification is sent to the site collection owner, there are three possible outcomes:

    • If the site collection owner confirms that the site collection is active by clicking the confirmation link in the e-mail notification, the certification date of the site is renewed.

    • The site collection owner continues to receive periodic e-mail notifications according to the interval specified by a member of the Farm Administrators group, until the site collection owner confirms that the site collection is active or deletes the site collection.

    • If the site collection is not active, and a member of the Farm Administrators group has turned on the automatic deletion feature, e-mail notifications are sent to the site collection owner for the specified number of times. If the site collection owner does not confirm the status of the site collection, the site collection is deleted automatically.

We recommend the following best practices to safeguard against the automatic deletion of a site:

  • Require a secondary site collection owner when users create site collections.

    By default, the site collection creator is listed as primary site collection owner. A site collection owner can also specify a secondary site collection owner. Confirmation notifications are automatically sent to the primary and the secondary site collection owners.

  • Keep the organization informed about vacations and leave a contingency plan.

    For example, if a site collection owner is unavailable for four weeks, and a member of the Farm Administrators group has set the site collection and deletion policy, after four missed weekly confirmations, the site could be deleted without giving the site collection owner an opportunity to confirm the usage of the site.

  • Ensure that there is a schedule to back up site collections regularly so that you can restore a recent copy if a site collection is deleted.


    Automatic deletion permanently removes all the content and information from the site collection and any sites within the site collection.

Manage unused Web sites

Use this procedure to manage unused Web sites. You can follow these steps to determine the schedules for notifying owners of site inactivity before deleting unused sites.

To manage unused Web sites

  1. Verify that you meet the following minimum requirements:

    • You must be a member of the Farm Administrators group.
  2. On the Central Administration home page, click Application Management.

  3. On the Application Management page, in the Site Collections section, click Confirm site use and deletion.

  4. On the Site Use Confirmation and Deletion page, in the Web Application section, if the Web application that you want to configure is not listed, expand the Web Application list, and then click Change Web Application.

    On the Select Web Application dialog box, click the Web application that you want to configure.

  5. In the Confirmation and Automatic Deletion Settings section:

    • Select or clear the Send e-mail notification to owners of unused site collections check box.

      If you select this check box, type the number of days, after the site creation or after the site usage is confirmed, to start to send notifications. The minimum number of days is 30, and the maximum is 365.

    • Specify a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule for e-mail notifications. The default schedule is daily. You can also specify the exact time to run the check for the site usage. The default, time is midnight.

    • Select or clear the Automatically delete the site collection if use is not confirmed check box.

      If you select this check box, type the number of notifications to send before the site collection is deleted. By default, it is 28 notifications.

  6. Click OK.

See Also


Restore a deleted site (SharePoint Foundation 2010)