Getting Started with SharePoint Hub Sites
SharePoint Hub Site is a new site feature recently released in SharePoint Online that allows you to associate team sites and communication sites with a hub site. SharePoint Hub Sites provide a shared navigation for all the sites associated with it. The sites associated also inherit the theme and logo from the hub site.
An Administrator can designate an existing site collection as a hub site or create a new site collection and set it as a hub site. Team sites and communication sites can then be associated with the hub site.
When planning your digital transformation strategy and site organization, it is important to avoid creating a deep hierarchy of sub-sites and instead use a flat-based site collection structure. This design is the recommended approach provided by Microsoft and it sounds great, but there was no way to organize or group all these different site collections in the past.
Hub sites is the solution that provides the missing piece of the puzzle and allows you to connect all the site collections under a single hub site.
It has become more necessary than ever to have an easy way to group site collections together and allow users to easily navigate. Hub Sites makes it easy for SharePoint Architects to implement a robust Information Architecture plan and use a flat-based site collection design for the multitude of sites in a SharePoint Tenant.
SharePoint Hub sites brings content from Team sites and Communication Sites together and allows you to organize your navigation, theme and news.
Features of Hub Sites
Sites associated to a hub site inherit the navigation of the hub site. This is a powerful feature that gives you a lot of flexibility to create a centralized navigation.
Sites inherit the theme of the hub site. This allows you to maintain a consistent look and feel across your sites.
SharePoint Hub sites can aggregate news from the associated sites and can display the roll-up on the hub site.
The scoped search feature of SharePoint Hub sites allows users to search for content belonging to the hub site and its associated sites.
Create a Hub Site in SharePoint Online
Hub Sites can be created using SharePoint Management Shell or PowerShell. The only way to create a Hub Site or a convert an existing site to a Hub Site is via PowerShell. This can only be done with the latest version of SharePoint Management Shell.
The following steps describe how to Create Hub sites using SharePoint Online Management shell
Step 1: Download the latest version of SharePoint management shell. The following steps will not work if you have earlier version of SharePoint Management Shell installed. Un-install the older version first before installing the latest version.
Step 2: Connect to your SharePoint Online Tenant
$adminUPN=”<the full email address of a SharePoint administrator account, example: email@example.com>”
$orgName=”<name of your Office 365 organization, example: abc>”
$userCredential = Get-Credential -UserName $adminUPN -Message “Type the password.”
Connect-SPOService -Url https://$orgName-admin.sharepoint.com -Credential $userCredential
Step 3: Convert site to hub site and enable hub site features
Register-SPOHubSite -Site https://abc.sharepoint.com/sites/marketing
Configuring Hub Sites in SharePoint Online
Set the Site name and add a Hub Site Logo
The Hub Site Name and Logo is visible on the Hub Site and any sites associated with it. You can update the Hub site name by clicking the settings on the site, and then select Hub Site Settings. Update the Hub Site Name.
The Hub site settings option is only visible from a modern SharePoint site page and not a classic page. If your hub site is still using a classic site theme page, change the homepage to a modern SharePoint page instead.
You can also update the Logo by clicking Upload and selecting an image. The image for the logo should not be more than 24 pixels in height.
The updated site name and Logo will now appear on the hub site and the sites associated with it. This is a very useful feature, because it allows you to update the logo in one place and it automatically updates on all sites associated with a hub site.
Customize the SharePoint Hub Site Navigation
The Hub Site has a central navigation bar that is visible on the Hub site and the sites associated with it. The Navigation Bar can be edited by clicking the edit button to the right of the navigation bar.
The navigation bar is only visible on a modern SharePoint site page and is not visible on classic SharePoint pages yet.
Once the navigation bar is updated, the new links will be visible on all associated sites.
Customize the Hub Site Theme
The colors of the SharePoint Hub Site and associated sites can be customized to use a single theme, by updating the Hub Site Theme.
To set the Hub Site Theme, click Settings and then select Change the Look.
Once the Hub Site Theme is updated, the associated sites will inherit from the same theme. The change is not immediate, and it takes couple of hours for it to be applied.
Associate SharePoint site with hub site
One of the most important benefits of using hub sites is to link sites together and makes it easier to share news and for users to discover related content.
A SharePoint site owner can associate a SharePoint site with a Hub site. Once a site is associated with a hub site, it inherits the theme and navigation bar of the hub site.
SharePoint Sites can also be associated with a hub site by a Site Owner or a Site Collection Administrator.
A site owner can use the following steps to join their site to a Hub site.
Click the Site Settings icon, select Site Information and in the site information pane select the hub site drop down menu and select the name of the Hub Site.
An Admin can use the following PowerShell commands to join a site to a Hub Site.
Associate a Site to a Hub Site
Add-SPOHubSiteAssociation https://abc.sharepoint.com/sites/member -HubSite https://abc.sharepoint.com/sites/hub
Remove or disassociate a site from a hub site
If a SharePoint site is associated with a Hub Site, the security permissions of the member site still applies and is in effect, and users will not be able to see content they do not have access to.
Hub Sites cannot be added to another Hub Site. At this time, A site also can only be associated with one hub site at a time. There are a lot of use cases, where it may be essential to associate a site with multiple Hub Sites but this feature is not available yet. Microsoft will definitely improve on Hub sites and add more functionality in the future, but for now we have an excellent solution for organizing sites and content in SharePoint Online.