In SharePoint 2013 we add some great new features around self-service site creation (SSSC). You can configure things like whether to use a custom form to create the site collection, whether to create a subweb or site collection, what path should be used when the site collection is created, and whether to ask or require that a site policy be selected when the site is created. A site policy is something that controls “closure and deletion”. These policies, of course, determine when a site will be closed, and ultimately deleted. You can configure them to do things like close x number of years after a site is created, to delete x number of months after a site is closed, run a workflow, etc.
Now what may be more confusing is how you actually get the end users to see and use this feature. Going forward, in SharePoint 2013 users will only see the link to create new sites using SSSC in the Sites page of their personal site. The Sites page is where you see all of the sites that you are following, and also where you will see this link. However, there is some configuration you need to think through in order to set this up.
To begin with, since this link only shows up in personal sites, you need to configure SSSC for the My Site host web application. The SSSC configuration looks like this now:
First you want to check the radio button to turn on self-service site creation. The next thing you need to do is to change the Start a Site link from being hidden to one of the options that shows the link. This is where it gets a little trickier. You can choose to have new site collections created in some path in the current web application, but chances are that you won’t be doing extensive site collection creation in the My Site host, since that is typically just used for personal sites. So, if you want to have site collections created in a different web application, like one used for collaboration, then you need to use the Display the custom form at option that I’m showing in the picture above.
In this case, I’ve decided that I want to create new site collections in my web app at https://sps. I’ve also decided that I want to use the out of the box page to create new site collections. If I had developed a custom page to provision new site collections then I could just enter the path to that provisioning page here. In this case though, I’m using the out of the box solution but I need to make sure I point to the new SharePoint 2013 page for creating site collections. If you use the old scsignup.aspx page then you will end up in an endless dialog when users click on the new site link – so it’s very important that you use the selfservicecreate.aspx page for this setting.
Once you’ve configured this on the My Site host web application, you still need to go in and configure SSSC for the web application where you want site collections created, if it is a different web app from the My Site host. When you do that you just need to make sure that SSSC is turned on, otherwise the code that the selfservicecreate.aspx page calls will fail.
Once SSSC is configured in these two places you are ready to go and start using SSSC.