The Ultimate Guide to SharePoint Hub Sites

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This page will be actively updated as I learn more about it – Last updated May 4th, 2018.

In this guide to SharePoint Hub sites we’re going to take you through the process of enabling them on your tenant and then making use of the connected hub sites, in an Intranet style format giving your flat, disconnected Site Collection structure, a new lease of interconnected modern site delightfulness.

However, before we begin, we should probably answer a few questions and explain why there is a need for SharePoint Hub Sites

With the invent of Office 365 Groups, Microsoft Teams and of course the new modern interface (Modern Communication and Modern Team Sites) we are now in a position where users are empowered to create a silo of content loosely connected via the applications (Outlook / Teams) that surround them, SharePoint was originally built to bridge this gap between silo’d content but it feels like we are doing a bit of a u-turn largely thanks to the fact that we have this team / project based view of the world.

Teams offers a view of your Group data
Outlook offers a view of your Group data
Groups in the browser offers a traditional SharePoint view of your Group data

They are essentially disconnected.

Enter – SharePoint Hub Sites.

With SharePoint Hub sites, you can essentially promote any Site Collection based on the modern SharePoint Framework, into a SharePoint Hub Site.
You can then associate these disconnected entities (Office 365 Groups) into a logical structure, with shared theming, navigation and search, rolling up news items at the same time.

Whilst it feels like an Intranet of old, the sites that are connected work as they always did with the minor changes above, from a user perspective this is great because there’s no real change, however, from an organisational perspective we can now advertise a central location or Hub Site providing the user with structure and hierarchy, which sounds like a oxymoron when I describe no change but then big change, you see functionally the Office 365 Groups work in the same way they are just now connected.

Should your hierarchy change in the organisation, no worries, simply disassociate the Office 365 Group with a Hub Site and associate it with it’s new structure.

So what does this all look like in practice?

Take a look at the screenshot below, here you can see three main sections

1. Shared Navigation – Similar to the Office 365 Suite Bar but available on the Hub Site and its associated member sites, this provides a sensible and persistent navigation that is easily configured.

2. Shared Search – This allows you to search across the Hub and its member sites, the immediate flyout provides you with instant search which is awesome.

3. Rolled up News – Again this is a cross site news rollup, in the example below you can see we have news from the Intranet (SharePoint Communications Site), Kinetal Media (Office 365 Group Team Site) and Kinetal IT (Office 365 Group Team Site).

4. Themeing – The theme applied to the site is currently applied across the Hub Site and all member sites, if I try to change it at member site level, a nice message is presented to me informing me that the site is managed at Hub level.

At this time of writing SharePoint Hub Sites are currently rolling out, in fact for most people you will need to be part of the First Release Selected Users with a permission level of SharePoint Administrator or Global Administrator in order to enable the features and register new SharePoint Hub Sites.

How to enable SharePoint Hub Sites

(Promote Site Collections to Hub Sites)

Connect to SharePoint Online using the SharePoint Online Management Shell or using SharePoint Online PnP

# Connect to SharePoint Online Admin Centre
Connect-SPonline
# Registers a SharePoint Site Collection as a SharePoint Hub Site
Register-SPOHubSite URL

PnP

# Connect to SharePoint Online Admin Centre
Connect-SPOService -Url https://YOURSITE-admin.sharepoint.com
# Register Site Collection as a SharePoint Hub Site
Register-PnPHubSite -Site https://tenant.sharepoint.com/sites/myhubsite

Once you have enabled a Site Collection as a hub site, you will then need to associate a SharePoint Site / Office 365 Group to that Site Collection.

Connecting or Associating a SharePoint Site Collection to a SharePoint Hub Site

# Connect to SharePoint Online Admin Centre
Connect-SPonline
# Connects a SharePoint Site Collection to a SharePoint Hub Site
Add-SPOHubSiteAssociation https://YOURSITE.sharepoint.com/sites/Research `
-HubSite https://YOURSITE.sharepoint.com/sites/Intranet

PnP

# Connect to SharePoint Online Admin Centre
Connect-SPOService -Url https://YOURSITE-admin.sharepoint.com
# Connect SharePoint Site Collection to SharePoint Hub Site
Connect-PnPHubSite -Site https://YOURSITE.sharepoint.com/sites/Research ` 
-HubSite https://YOURSITE.sharepoint.com/sites/intranet

Microsoft Reference for Add-SPOHubSiteAssociation

This list was compiled by Jenkins over on his blog post about SharePoint Hub Sites

  1. You can create a Classic SharePoint Site as Hub Site with Limitations. Yes with Limitations (News and content rollup will not support)
  2. You can associate hub site for any site collection or Subsite. If you associate Subsite as Hub Site, the good news is the parent site doesn’t have to be a part of the hub site.
  3. You can convert existing Sites to Hub Sites.
  4. Create and Manage SharePoint Hub Sites
    1. Using PowerShell
    2. Using REST API
    3. Using CSOM
  5. You won’t be able to associate a SharePoint hub site to another hub site
  6. You can’t associate more than one SharePoint Hub Site
  7. Microsoft recommend selecting a communication site, or a team site that uses the new template. If you use a classic team site, the hub site navigation will only appear on modern pages, including document libraries, lists, and site contents. Hub site settings will only appear on modern pages.
  8. You can create up to 50 hub sites for an organization
  9. If you set up SharePoint Multi-Geo for your organization, only sites within the same geo location can be associated with a hub site
  10. No limit to associated hub sites.
  11. When users associate their sites with a hub site, it doesn’t impact the permissions of either the hub site or the associated sites. It’s important to make sure all users you allow to associate sites to the hub site have permission to the hub site.
  12. Implementing Security trimming for Hub Site Navigation refer here
  13. While removing hub site association from the site, theme will not restore automatically. You need to change manually.
  14. You can create root site collection as Hub Site refer here
  15. While creating site, looking for automatically associate hub sit, click here to know step by step implementation…
  16. Getting all your Hub Site content using Search API

In order to create this blog post, I had to get inspiration from a whole bunch of places, in the resources below I list everything that was of some use.

What is a SharePoint Hub Site – Microsoft Support
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/what-is-a-sharepoint-hub-site-fe26ae84-14b7-45b6-a6d1-948b3966427f

Create a Hub site in SharePoint Online – Microsoft Support
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-a-hub-site-in-sharepoint-online-92bea781-15d8-4bda-805c-e441e2191ff3

Setting up your SharePoint Hub Site – Microsoft Support
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/set-up-your-sharepoint-hub-site-e2daed64-658c-4462-aeaf-7d1a92eba098

Associate a SharePoint Site with a Hub Site – Microsoft Support
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/associate-a-sharepoint-site-with-a-hub-site-ae0009fd-af04-4d3d-917d-88edb43efc05

Office 365 Hub Sites are Here a Few Tips – Marc Anderson
https://sympmarc.com/2018/03/28/office-365-hub-sites-are-here-a-few-tips/

Create SharePoint Hub Site using PowerShell
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/features/hub-site/create-hub-site-with-powershell

SharePoint Patterns & Practices PowerShell Overview – Microsoft
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/sharepoint/sharepoint-pnp/sharepoint-pnp-cmdlets?view=sharepoint-ps

Getting Started with the SharePoint Online Management Shell
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/sharepoint/sharepoint-online/connect-sharepoint-online?view=sharepoint-ps

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