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  • By Bryan Archer (CTO)
Bryan Archer (CTO)
As 2014 drew to a close, Microsoft announced the discontinuation plans for the SharePoint Online “Public Website” feature, and these changes came into force on the 9th March 2015. Existing customers, currently using the Public Website feature, will continue to have access to the feature until at least 9th March 2017. For new Office 365 subscribers, the feature is no longer an available option. Instead, new customers are encouraged to use the recommended third-party offerings that provide a complete solution for building an online presence.


In order to understand who these changes apply to, it is important to make the distinction between the different versions of SharePoint. There are two separate types/versions of SharePoint which have, until now, allowed the creation of public facing websites

1. SharePoint Online (Office 365)
2. SharePoint Server

SharePoint online is a cloud-based service, hosted by Microsoft, for businesses of all sizes. Instead of installing and deploying SharePoint Server on-premises, any business can subscribe to an Office 365 plan or to the standalone SharePoint Online service. Until March 2015 it was possible to create Public Websites using the platform, but the changes brought into place have removed this functionality.

On the other hand, SharePoint Server is a platform which organizations can deploy and manage on-premises. SharePoint Server includes all the features of SharePoint Foundation, whilst also offering many additional features, one of which being SharePoint FIS (For Internet Sites), used for creating public facing websites. Whilst it is assumed that the next version of SharePoint Server will continue to support Web Content Management (WCM) capabilities, Microsoft have made it clear that the future is the cloud. After the removal of WCM services in SharePoint Online, the roadmap for websites built in SharePoint FIS is unknown. Due to this, the recommendations laid out below are applicable to SharePoint FIS users.


Continuing with SharePoint Server is one possibility. This option may offer a short-term cost effective method, but since the product pathway for SharePoint FIS remains unclear, it may not be the most prudent approach.

For organisations that require more control of their website, a more advanced editorial experience, and cutting-edge marketing tools, Sitecore is the best option. This is applicable not only to office 365 users, but also to the organisations using SharePoint FIS.

Sitecore is identified as a clear market leader for Web Content Management in both the Forrester Report and Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. The platform goes beyond basic content management. In fact, it is positioned as the world’s leading Customer Experience Management platform, offering unparalleled advanced marketing features such as Personalisation, A/B testing, and Marketing Automation.

Perhaps the most attractive opportunity of all, is the ability to integrate Sitecore with SharePoint. This option is particularly beneficial to customers currently using SharePoint FIS. Integrating Sitecore with SharePoint offers the best of both worlds – superior content management capabilities for both the internal digital environment and the external website environment.

3chillies Ltd are Gold Partners of both Microsoft and Sitecore and, as a result, are well positioned to offer advice on SharePoint and Sitecore.


As part of our offering to current SharePoint FIS users, 3chillies are offering a free website migration assessment, to include:

  • A site visit from a 3chillies technical consultant 
  • Health check of current SharePoint system 
  • Website migration feasibility study 
  • Migration recommendations and suggestions 
  • Sitecore integration feasibility

Please Note: This service is available for a limited time only. The service is free of charge for the first 10 qualifying organisations, offered on a first-come first-served basis. Issuance of this free service is awarded at the discretion of 3chillies Ltd.

We are also able to provide a one on one Sitecore Demo for organisations who are interested in migrating to the platform.

If you would like to take advantage of these services, contact 3chillies today.

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