URL namespace structure varies according to your environment. You can use Windows SharePoint Services in a variety of environments—from the small, departmental server to a large server farm at a service provider. To suit these environments, Windows SharePoint Services running on an Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 platform allows you to set up your URL namespace in several configurations, each of which is based on the type of site you want to create.

Windows SharePoint Services supports the following types of sites, which you can choose between depending on your organization's needs.

  • Domain-named sites

You can create multiple Windows SharePoint Services site collections with a network domain name as the URL.

Examples: http://mysite or http://mysite.fabrikam.com. Use domain-named sites to allow users to create short, simple URLs.

  • Subfolder-named sites

You can also create multiple site collections that are named as subfolders of a domain URL.

Examples: http://myserver/sites/mysite or http://www.fabrikam.com/myOffice/MyGroup/mysite.

Use subfolder-named sites to show the hierarchy of sites in your organization.

After you decide which basic site types you will support, you can choose from the following namespace configurations:

  • One domain-named site per virtual server

For example, Server1 contains http://site1, http://site2, and so on.

Each top-level Web site is a separate virtual server and has its own database. This scenario allows each site to be isolated for billing or security purposes.

  • Multiple subfolder-named sites per virtual server

For example, Server1 contains the sites http://server1/portal1, http://server1/portal2, http://server1/webapp, and so on.

Each virtual server can host multiple sites based on Windows SharePoint Services, and the same virtual server can also host Web applications. All of the sites for that virtual server can share the same content database. This allows team Web sites to coexist with portals and other Web applications.

  • One domain-named site and multiple subfolder-named sites per virtual server

For example, Server1 contains the sites http://portal/teams/site1, http://portal/teams/site2, http://portal/webapp, and so on.

The virtual server contains a top-level Web site based on Windows SharePoint Services. Subfolders of that site can be Web sites based on Windows SharePoint Services, or can be used for Web applications. All of the sites based on Windows SharePoint Services for the virtual server share the same database.

  • Two virtual servers hosting the same content (extranet scenario)

For example, Server1 hosts http://portal and Server2 hosts https://portal.fabrikam.com.

Both of the virtual servers (and they can be on separate server computers) share the same content database, and provide the same site content to create an intranet and extranet. The two servers can have different security settings in IIS—for example, they can require Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) access on the external site and anonymous access for the internal one—but share content.

The Microsoft FrontPage 2003 Recalculate Hyperlinks feature cannot work in this scenario, because fixing the links for one URL path would break the links for the other.
  • Multiple domain-named sites per virtual server (large-scale hosting scenario)

For example, Server1 hosts http://user1.fabrikam.com, http://user2.fabrikam.com, http://user3.fabrikam.com, and so on.

Each of these sites is a top-level Web site on the same virtual server, but they are mapped to different URLs. There can be one or many content databases, depending on the scale.

This solution uses the multiple domain-named sites per virtual server option because it allows you to provide a Windows SharePoint Services site for customers using the domain name that they choose, and it provides the most scalability in a multitenant hosting environment.