Stage 1: Create site collections for cross-site publishing

This is a blog post in the series “How to set up a product-centric website in SharePoint Server 2013”.  In this series, I'll use data from a fictitious company called "Contoso" to show you how to use search features to set up a website based on product catalog data.
Note: most of features described in this series are not available in SharePoint 2013 online.

For an overview of the blog posts in this series, go to How to set up a product-centric website in SharePoint Server 2013.


Start stage 1

When you use cross-site publishing, you use one or more authoring site collections to author and store content, and one or more publishing site collections to show this content.

In our scenario, we'll start by creating a Product Catalog Site Collection. We'll use this site collection to author and store information about the products that Contoso offer, for example, info about the MP3 player "Litware 2G E200", or the Laptop "Adventure Works 15.4W".

Along with this, we'll be creating a Publishing Portal Site Collection. We'll use this site collection to display product info about "Litware 2G E200", "Adventure Works 15.4W" and all the other products that Contoso offer.

Remember though, visitors browsing the Contoso website, which is the publishing portal, will NOT be able to view content in the product catalog! Visitors will only get to see content that has been added to the search index from the product catalog. When visitors browse the Contoso website, search technology displays content from the search index.

So, in the simplest of terms, our architecture will look like this:


Site architecture


Bear with me if this is a bit tricky to follow. I'll soon be using real examples, and it'll all become a lot clearer. But first things first: let's create the site collections.

To create a Product Catalog Site Collection, here's what you should do: Go to Central Administration --> Create site collections, and then enter details for the site collection. Here's what you need to enter:

  1. title for the website.
  2. The website's URL.
  3. Select 2013 for the experience version.
  4. From the Publishing tab, select the Product Catalog template.
  5. In the field Primary Site Collection Site Administrator, enter the site admin's user name.

Take a look at the screen capture below for some more guidance.

Create Product Catalog Site Collection

Now, to create a Publishing Portal Site Collection, repeat the steps above, but with one difference, from the Publishing tab, choose Publishing Portal. The title of this site collection is Contoso.

Create Publishing Portal Site Collection

Now that we've our site collections, it's time to start adding content.


Next blog article in this series
Stage 2: Import list content into the Product Catalog Site Collection



Additional resources



Comments (27)

  1. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Don,

    Many of the features I describe in this blog series, are not available in SharePoint 2013 online. They are only available in SharePoint Server 2013.


  2. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Navaneetha,

    The Product Catalog is only available in the SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise CAL.

    Is it possible that you have the SharePoint Server 2013 Standard CAL?

    For an overview of available features in the different plans, see…/jj819267.aspx.

    Hope this helps.


  3. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Doug,

    Yes, your summation is correct.
    Good luck in setting up your environment 🙂


  4. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Doug,

    I am not quite sure what you mean by “simple search driven content”. If you mean using the Content Query Web Part, then you are limiting yourself when it comes to future growth in content and site architecture. For more information about that, see this article:

    In your case, you have an intranet scenario. The Contoso scenario is an internet scenario, which means that quite a few things are different. The most important thing is that the Contoso site has anonymous users, while an intranet site has logged in users.
    Anonymous users can’t view items on the authoring site. So, in order for anonymous users to be able to view the items, you have to give them a "different" kind of access. An this is where the catalog comes in. Remember, when you enable a list as a catalog,
    you also specify that anonymous users can view the content from the search index (
    And the thing is, to be able to enable the list as a catalog, you have to activate the cross-site publishing feature.

    In your scenario, your users have access to the items, so you might not have to enable your list as a catalog (meaning you don’t have to activate the cross-site publishing feature). But if you want your catalog items to have friendly URLs (FURL), you have to
    enable your list as a catalog. The only way to generate FURLs is to connect to a catalog (
    So, to summarize: for your catalog items to have FURLs you have to enable your list as a catalog, which means you have to activate the cross-site publishing feature.

    When you connect to a catalog, SharePoint will also do a few things for you automatically. It’ll create a result source for your catalog, and a category and catalog item page for you publishing site. You can of course do all of this manually, but it’s nice
    to not have to do the extra work.

    Hope this wasn’t too confusing and that it was somewhat helpful.
    If not, just let me know 🙂


  5. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Jeff,

    The cross-site publishing features that I describe in this blog are only available in the Enterprise CAL.


  6. Bella_Engen says:

    Cross-site publishing is not available in SharePoint 2010. It is a new feature in SharePoint 2013, so you will have to migrate in order to use it.

  7. Bella_Engen says:

    I am not able to check any product keys, so I can’t tell which version you have.

    But from what you are describing, I suspect SharePoint Server 2013 is the Standard CAL.


  8. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Luis,

    Glad to hear you like the series 🙂

    Regarding your first question: I will have to get back to you.

    Regarding your second question: Yes, you can display the content of the Summary Link column on a publishing page. To do this, you will have to modify the display template of your Content Search Web Part (…/jj945138.aspx).


  9. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Yes, you can enable other lists or libraries as catalogs as well. You just have to make sure that the Cross-Site Collection publishing feature is enabled on the site that contains the lists or libraries (…/jj656774.aspx).

    Hope this helps.


  10. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Jon,

    Yes, cross-site publishing is available for SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise.

    For more info, see the service description overview:…/jj819267.aspx


  11. YU says:

    Could it be' applied allo fornSharepoint 2010?

  12. Don says:

    I'm using SharePoint 2013 online and don't see a "Product Catalog" choice under the Publishing tab when creating a site collection.  Thanks.

  13. Jon says:

    Is Cross site publishing feature a enterprise version thing?

  14. Luis Carrazana says:

    Hi Bella. First of all I'd like to thank you for this GREAT series. I used this as a reference to start building a cross-site publishing environment for an ongoing project I'm currently developing. I think the feature is awesome, however I've hit some roadblocks that are not allowing me to move forward with the implementation.

    I'd like to ask you a couple of questions to see if you can point me in the right direction:

    1- After you create a Catalog and Publishing sites, would it be possible to allow end-users to rate the content and add comments for each individual page on the publishing portal?

    2- I'm using a Page library in the Catalog site, which contains a Summary Links column. Is there a way to display the content of the Summary Link column on the Publishing Portal?

    Thanks in advance.

  15. Hi Bella,

    I am not able to see the "Product Catalog" option under Publishing Template on creating site collection. Could you please help?

    Below are product details inistalled in my system

    "C5D855EE-F32B-4A1C-97A8-F0A28CE02F9C", "SharePoint Server 2013"

    "9FF54EBC-8C12-47D7-854F-3865D4BE8118", "SharePoint Foundation 2013"

    Thought doing the steps as per your guidance but stopped because of this 🙁


    Navaneetha Krishnan D

  16. Thanks for your response Bella

    Correct me if i am wrong SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Server 2013 Standard CAL are same? because i have only "SharePoint Foundation 2013" and "SharePoint Server 2013"


    Navaneetha Krishnan D

  17. FYI

    Please navigate to regedit.exe — HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE — SOFTWARE — Microsoft — Shared Tools — Web Server Extensions — 15.0 — InstalledProducts

    This will display the product keys of SharePoint 2013 Installation Types.

    Below link helps to Detect the installed SKU of SharePoint 2013 through code.…/jj659075.aspx


    Navaneetha Krishnan D

  18. andreas says:

    Hi Bella, nice article!

    Is it possible to enable every list or library as a catalog or does the list/library has to be inside a Product Catalog Site Collection.

    Thanks in advance!


  19. Anonymous says:

    In SharePoint Server 2013, recommendations and popular items can be displayed because a feature called

  20. Doug Steckel says:

    Hi Bella,

    Thanks for the great post. We plan to implement a company news intranet using xSP and I want to understand what xSP and catalogs bring to the party that simple search driven content could not.

    So on our authoring SC we build lists to suite our needs. We then crawl and index that data. We then surface that info per our requirements using search query web parts (the what) and format it using display templates ( the how). So far we have not created either a product catalog or a publishing portal nor have we enabled the xSP feature. My question is what to they add? So far I'm seeing that they add the catalog list templates to the sites, somehow (not sure how) provide for anonymous access to the publishing site and build out navigation through managed metadata.

    The reason I'd like to understand the differences is because we have a real set of requirements that we want to implement and I want to be clear on what requirements are met only through xsp vs search and cswp. We'll be living with the results for A very long time so want to get it right.


  21. Doug Steckel says:

    Hi Bella,

    Thanks so much for your reply. I posted the original question before SPC14 and have learned much since, but your comments have further clarified this for me. By “simple search driven content” I wasn't referring to CQWP but rather search driven content using CSWP but without xSP being turned on. I just didn't fully understand what the publishing feature added. From your reply it looks like…

    – Anonymous Access (Typically needed for Internet scenarios)
    – Friendly URL's (FURLS)
    – Other Automation
    — Creates a result source for your catalog,
    — Creates category and catalog item page for you publishing site

    So we're about to start creating Authoring and Publishing SC's so we'll be learning more. Thanks again for your help! I hope others find this useful.


  22. Allen says:

    Great article! Looking forward to another new series of ariticles.

  23. Anonymous says:

    To build our Contoso website, we'll be using cross-site publishing, a new publishing method that's

  24. Indresh says:

    Hi Bella,

    This blog is a great help for the people who are trying to shift from SP 2010 to SP 2013.
    This blog helped me a lot to configure the cross site publishing feature.

    Thanks You so much. keep on posting.


  25. Jeff Vojtko says:

    Is the functionality to create Publishing Sites part of the Sharepoint 2013 Standard CAL? Or, is that an Enterprise feature?

  26. Ferat says:

    Hi Bella,

    1- Is it possible to use Team Site instead Publishing Portal

    if is it ?

    can we connect Five (5) different Team Site to the Product Catalog?


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