Renaming URLs in a SharePoint Online site

One of the questions I’ve grown to dread in my years of working with SharePoint is “can we change the URL of my site?” Up until now, the answer was pretty much no, unless you wanted to go through major hassles to create a new site, copy over content, etc. However, Microsoft has finally rolled out a feature to allow you to truly rename a URL, *and* it handles automatic redirects if someone uses the old URL. There are some caveats that I’ll point out at the end of this tip, but here’s how it works…

In the SharePoint Admin console, I’ve got my site named DufSite (/sites/DufSite) which should have been Duff Site (/sites/DuffSite):

Machine generated alternative text:
Home 
Sites 
Active sites 
Deleted sites 
Policies 
Sharing 
SharePoint admin center 
Active sites 
Learn about working with sites 
+ Create Export 
Site name 
DufSite 
p Search sites 
Sites BV Descendina Creation Date 
URL 
.../sites/DufSite 
Storage used (GB) v 
Hub v 
Last activity (UTC) v 
Date created 
1/22/20, 4:52 AM

In the Properties pane for that site, there’s an entry for the URL, along with the Edit link to change it:

Machine generated alternative text:
Home 
Sites 
Active sites 
Deleted sites 
Policies 
Sharing 
Access control 
Settings 
Migration 
SharePoint admin center 
Active sites 
Learn about working with sites 
+ Create 9/ Permissions 
Site name 
DufSite 
Hub 
Search sites 
Storage used (GB) v 
1 selected 
Hub v 
Sites BV Descendina Creation Date 
URL 
.../sites/DufSite 
Insights 
No data available 
Properties 
Domain 
.sharepoint.com 
URL 
.../sites/DufSite 
Edit

All I need to do is provide the new URL I want to use:

Machine generated alternative text:
x 
Home 
Sites 
Active sites 
Deleted sites 
Policies 
Sharing 
SharePoint admin center 
Active sites 
Learn about working with sites 
Create 9/ Permissions 
Site name 
DufSite 
Hub 
Search sites 
Storage used (GB) v 
1 selected 
URL v 
.../sites/DufSite 
Hub v 
Change site address 
x 
I e a ress 
DufSite 
.../sites/DufSite

SharePoint makes sure that URL is available. Once I’m OK with the new name, I click Save:

Machine generated alternative text:
x 
Home 
Sites 
Active sites 
Deleted sites 
Policies 
Sharing 
Access control 
Settings 
Migration 
Migration manager 
SharePoint admin center 
Active sites 
Learn about working with sites 
Create 9/ Permissions 
Site name 
DufSite 
Hub 
Search sites 
Storage used (GB) 
1 selected 
x 
URL 
.../sites/DufSite 
Hub 
Desktop tool (SPMT) 
Cloud content migrations 
Advanced 
API management 
Change site address 
Site address 
DuffSite 
.../sites/DuffSite 
The site address is available. 
Cancel

The process then asks if I want to also change the name of the site. In this case, I click Yes:

Machine generated alternative text:
Change site name? 
Do you also want to enter a new site name? 
x 
No

I enter the new name of my site, and SharePoint once again confirms that site name is available. If I’m happy with the new name, I click Save:

Machine generated alternative text:
x 
Home 
Sites 
Active sites 
Deleted sites 
Policies 
Sharing 
Access control 
Settings 
Migration 
Migration manager 
SharePoint admin center 
Active sites 
Learn about working with sites 
+ Create Permissions 
Site name 
DufSite 
Hub 
URL 
p Search sites 
Trage used (G3) 
Site updated X 
.../sites/DufSite 
1 selected 
x 
Hub 
Desktop tool (SPMT) 
Cloud content migrations 
Advanced 
API management 
Change site name 
Site name 
Duff $ite 
The site name is available. 
Cancel

I now have a site with a new URL and name:

Machine generated alternative text:
Home 
Sites 
Active sites 
Deleted sites 
Policies 
Sharing 
Access control 
Settings 
Migration 
Migration manager 
SharePoint admin center 
Active sites 
Learn about working with sites 
+ Create 9/ Permissions 
Site name 
Duff Site 
Hub 
Search sites 
Storage used (GB) v 
1 selected 
Hub v 
Sites BV Descendina Creation Date 
URL 
.../sites/DuffSite 
Insights 
No data available 
Properties 
Domain 
.sharepoint.com 
URL 
.../sites/DuffSite 
Edit

As you might imagine, there are a number of effects that happen when you change the URL of a site. These things involve permissions, redirects to the new site, what happens to things in the recycle bin, what happens to Flows and PowerApps, and so on. Veronique Palmer has a very good write-up on this feature at https://veroniquepalmer.com/2019/10/18/how-to-change-a-sharepoint-online-site-url/. I strongly encourage you to read it before you start down the URL change road…

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