I’ve been playing a little with our clients’ websites hosted on Office 365. I’ve also been testing and setting-up Dev-Vision’s SharePoint Online intranet sites.
Our clients like and use the Small Business Plans, mainly P1, thus we realized some differences between the two service types.
The Domain Names
While SharePoint on P1 is rather Spartan and offers only a handful of features, it takes complete control over your domain. Thus, basically the only thing a company using the P1 plan needs is a domain name. Office 365 offers, in this case the DNS server needed, along with the e-mail, communication and collaboration capabilities of Lync Online and the SharePoint public facing and intranet sites.
For the E3 plans, Office 365 offers tons of additional features. Thus, now Office 365 lets companies host their DNS server (or use a third party host). This changes a bit the “game”, as now we have a lot of possibilities, while some may argue that they don’t need all of them.
With the P1 plan all you need to do is add the name servers into your domain registrar’s form and you’re ready to go. Create a public facing web site, which will basically be something like yourdomain.extension. Don’t even need the www subdomain.
E3 is a little complex. It doesn’t allow administrators to create public facing websites just like that. Here we have to add the domain once and then add it again with the www. subdomain for the public facing website. I assume this is a Microsoft decision due to the fact that any normal company using the E3 plan (which is usually a company with more than 25 users and it’s valued at $24/user/month) don’t want to be limited in using the basic web site offered by default on SharePoint Online. Again, one can contact us to develop a professional web site on-top of SharePoint Online, but usually I assume this is the least used service by companies of such sort.
So, to add a domain name for an Internet facing website on an E3 plan, first add your domain and select only Exchange and Lync as intents for that domain. Your domain should be similar to yourdomain.extension, without any other subdomain. After you verify the domain by adding the TXT record to your DNS service provider, you may add a new subdomain, say www. This is the subdomain your company will use for the public facing website. Now, set the intent of this domain - SharePoint.
The public facing website settings are quite the same from now on:
In the SharePoint Site Collection, you can create only one Public Website, for which you have to select the domain name you would like to use as your public web site.
For the E3, you’ll have to add the ProdNetxy.SharePointOnline.com CNAME to your www subdomain on your DNS service provider, while for the P1 plan, it’s all been taking care of by Office 365.
After the provisioning of the Internet facing website your site’s visitors may see the public site.
As for the intranet website, this is usually a site using yourdomain.extension/teamsite/. Sometimes I like to setup a subdomain for that. Just use your imagination to create a subdomain which is easy to be accessed by employees that need access to the intranet website.
Ok, that’s all for now. In a next post we will write more about the domain names, how to fix common issues in adding, removing and editing domain names and how the whole SharePoint Online domain assignation works. Until then, please send us your comments, questions and feedback.
Thank you for reading.
Salut, sunt Răzvan Burz: programator cu o vechime de peste 15 ani în software și web development, antreprenor, tată, soț, consultant pentru companii din multiple țări, podcaster, blogger, gamer ocazional și pasionat de cafea. →