How to Configure Hub Sites in SharePoint Online: Step by Step

What is Hub Site in SharePoint Online?

Hub sites in SharePoint Online is a new way to organize related sites together into centralized portals based on organizational attributes such as project, concepts, team, department, division, region, etc. A hub site can have both modern team sites and communication sites associated under it. Hub sites provide common navigational structure, look and feel, Logo and search across associated sites.

Features of Hub Sites

Hub site brings consistency across sites from the top to down. When a team site or communication site is associated to a hub site, it inherits common characteristics, such as:
  • Consistent look and feel - All sites associated, gets the branding from hub site. Logo and theme of the hub site pushed to all underlying sites. This allows you to maintain a consistent look and feel across your sites. 
  • Common Global Navigation across all associated sites
  • Scoped Search - If you search within the hub site, It searches for content on the current hub site also within all the connected sites and displays the search results page.
  • Site Activities: All user activities done in the associated sites
  • Content Roll up - Automated aggregation and display of content from multiple sites: Consider the scenario that you are rolling out department intranet sites, and want a single landing page where the entire organization can see a roll up of the announcements from each department all at once. News web part, sites web part and highlighted content web part can be utilized in hub sites to get aggregate content from all the associated sites and display the roll-up on the hub site's home page.

Step 1: Create Hub Site in SharePoint Online:

You can designate an existing site collection as a hub site or create a new site collection and set it as a hub site. But there are no ways to create a hub site directly using create site option, because there is no specific template for that. A SharePoint Communication or Team Site can be promoted to Hub Site. Make sure you have SharePoint Online Administrator permissions (or above) in Office 365 to create SharePoint hub sites. There are 2 steps involved in configuring Hub sites in SharePoint Online:
  •     Step 1: Create or convert an existing site to as Hub site
  •     Step 2: Associate site collections to the hub site

How to Create a Hub Site in SharePoint Online Admin Center?
Login to New SharePoint Online Admin Center >> Click on "Sites" from left navigation >> Active Sites >> Click on "Create" button
  • Pick Communication Site Template and choose "Topic" Site Design  
  • Click Finish to create the site.

Register Hub Site in SharePoint Online
To register Hub Site through SharePoint Online Admin Center, follow these steps:
  • Navigate to the new SharePoint Online Admin Center
  • Click on Active Sites to see a list of all the site collections
  • Click on the check box next to the site that will become a hub >> Click on "Register as Hub Site" from Hub Site menu.
  • Fill in the name of the Hub and click on Save.

Create Hub Site in SharePoint Online using PowerShell
You can convert existing Sites to Hub Sites, but sites that are already associated to another hub can't be converted to a hub site. To make the site as Hub Site using Power Shell script, Make sure you have downloaded and installed the latest SharePoint Online Management Shell first. If you already have a previous version of the shell installed, uninstall it first and then install the latest version.

Connect the SharePoint Online Management Shell
Connect-SPOService -Url https://crescenttech-admin.sharepoint.com
It will prompt user credentials, give the credentials and connect to SharePoint admin site.

Register the Site as Hub Site
Register-SPOHubSite -Site https://crescenttech.sharepoint.com/sites/Departments -Principals $null

If you need the Hub Site to be Unregistered, following PowerShell command can be used.
UnRegister-SPOHubSite "https://crescenttech.sharepoint.com/sites/Departments"

You can revert hub site to team site or communication site from SharePoint Online Admin center as well. You can create up to 100 hub sites for an organization. There is no limit on the number of sites that can be associated with a hub site. This enables hub site in SharePoint Online.

Customize Hub Site Logo, Theme, and Navigation:
Now we have the Hub Site is Ready! Change the Logo, Theme for the Hub Site based on your organization requirement.
  • Go to the Hub Site >> click Gear Icon > Hub Site Settings
Also, edit the hub site navigation that appears on all associated sites. All sites associated with the hub site will inherit these elements. Please note, when you customize the hub site after associating with any SharePoint Online sites, it could take up to two hours for the changes to propagate in associated sites.


Step 2: SharePoint Online: Connect Site to Hub

We've the flexibility to move from one hub site to another if your organization changes the way you are structured. Let's say we have a "Sales" site associated with "Departments" Hub site and want to restructure it to "Operations" Hub. We can simply detach the site from the Departments hub and reattach the site to the Operations Hub, without having to migrate our sites anywhere. To associate a site with hub site, you can follow any of these three approach:

Option 1: Associate Site to Hub from Office 365 Admin Center
In SharePoint Online Admin Center, click on the checkbox next to the site collection you want to associate with the hub, then from the Hub site drop-down menu choose "Associate with a hub site"
from the list of all the hubs you have available in your tenant, choose one you want to connect to and click "Save".

Option 2: Associate to Hub site using PowerShell 
To add site to hub, use this PowerShell script:
Add-SPOHubSiteAssociation https://crescenttech.sharepoint.com/sites/Sales `
-HubSite https://crescenttech.sharepoint.com/sites/Departments
This sets the hub site association for given site collection.

Option 3: Connect to Hub Site from the Site Collection
To associate the hub site from the Site,
  • Navigate to the root site collection that you want to associate with the hub
  • Click on Settings gear Icon >> Select Site Information
  • Choose the Hub Site Association and click on Save
Please note, this technique only works for site collections that have been modernized!

Once you connect the site with hub, Navigation, Theme and Logo will be applied to the newly joined site. You won't be able to associate a SharePoint Online hub site in to another hub site. Also, You can't associate a site with more than one Hub Site.

Any site owner can join the site to the Hub. To control who can associate their site with hub sites, use the following PowerShell command:
Grant-SPOHubSiteRights -Identity https://crescenttech.sharepoint.com/sites/Departments -Principals John@TheCrescentTech.com -Rights Joins
That's All!

SharePoint Online: Hub Site Navigation
Associating a site collections to the hub, does not automatically add links to the Top navigation of the hub site! By default, only the link of the Hub Site appears on top. We need to build rest of the Top Navigation manually in the hub sites. Here is how to do this:
  • Navigate to the Hub Site
  • Hover over to Top Navigation area >> Click on Edit
  • Click the "+" sign to add a new link.
  • Click OK and Save.
Associated Sites will automatically contain a link back to the SharePoint Online hub site. You'll also notice that you cannot change the theme of an associated site, since it will inherit the theme from the hub site.

SharePoint Online: Hub Site Permissions
When users associate their sites with a hub, it doesn't impact the permissions of either the hub site or the associated sites. It's important to make sure all users you allow associating sites to the hub have permission to the hub.

Disassociate a SharePoint site from a hub site
You can disassociate your site from a SharePoint hub site when the association is no longer needed. Doing so will remove the hub site navigation bar from the top of your site. The look that your site inherited from the hub site will stay the same and features such as additional navigation links, applications, or custom lists with specific columns that were added as part of the inherited hub site design will remain.

To remove the existing hub site association, You can select "None" in Hub Site association drop down list and Save. It will remove the Navigation and logo, but it will not restore the original theme. We need to manually change the Theme/look and feel.
How to Configure Hub Sites in SharePoint Online: Step by Step How to Configure Hub Sites in SharePoint Online: Step by Step Reviewed by Salaudeen Rajack on September 01, 2018 Rating: 5

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