If you want to expose the same content in a Web application to different types of users by using additional URLs or authentication methods, you can extend an existing Web application into a new zone.
When you extend the Web application into a new zone, you create a separate Internet Information Services (IIS) Web site to serve the same content, but with a unique URL and authentication type.
An extended Web application can use up to five network zones (Default, Intranet, Internet, Custom, and Extranet). For example, if you want to extend a Web application so that customers can access content from the Internet, you select the Internet zone and choose to allow anonymous access and grant anonymous users read-only permissions. Customers can then access the same Web application as internal users, but through different URLs and authentication settings.
Let me document the Frequently Asked Questions on SharePoint Managed Paths during my training sessions:
What is Managed Path in SharePoint?
A managed path is a location within a web application in which you can have site collections. When you create a web application, there are two managed paths created with it. The first managed path is called the Root “/” path of explicit inclusion type. The second is called “sites” with wildcard inclusion path. SharePoint 2010 My Site host comes with “Personal” Wildcard managed path.
Why We need Managed Paths in SharePoint?
Managed Paths in SharePoint used to group multiple sites based on some criteria. Also helps to maintain a logical structure in SharePoint. Say, You want to group all Sales department sites, then you can have: http://company/sales/Site1/ , http://company/sales/Site2/, etc.
SharePoint managed path examples:
Lets take an example. A typical SharePoint URL could be: “http://company.com/sites/Sales/apac/”
Explicit vs Wildcard
There are two Types of Managed Paths we can create:
Explicit inclusion : Path can be explicitly used for only one site collection. (E.g. http://company/sites/hr) and no site collections can be created underneath the path. (But sub-sites can be created under site collection)
Wildcard inclusion: If you want to create site collections underneath a specific path, choose “Wildcard” (for example, “Sites” in http://server/sites/). Unlimited site collections can be created under the given path.
How to Configure Managed Paths for SharePoint 2010 Web Applications?
Managed Paths are defined at web application level. You can have different paths for different web applications. They cannot be defined for host header site collections. To define managed path in SharePoint 2010, Go to:
Central Administration >> Application Management.
In Application Management page, click on Manage Web Applications
Click the Web application for which you want to configure Manage Paths
Now from the ribbon, click Managed Paths.
From here you can configure Managed Paths for a particular web application.
Once you are done with managed paths, click OK.
Nested Managed paths
is it possible to nest a managed path under another managed path? Yes! You can create nested managed paths! Say for E.g. You create a Managed Path “/sites/” , then You create managed path as “/sites/sales”. Now you can create site collections under each of these paths.
But you cannot create a site collection under /sites/ as “Sales”, because once you create the managed path “Sales” under “Sites” it is marked as reserved!
By default, Root Managed Path (/) is created as Explicit inclusion, which means you can create only one site collection at the root of the web application. However you can delete and Re-create it with Wildcard inclusion to enable site collections under Root.
How to Change site collection managed path
If you want to change the managed path of your site collection, You have to:
Backup your site collection
Delete your site collection
Restore your site collection with new managed path
What if I delete the Managed path in use?
Answer: Your SharePoint Sites under the specific managed path will result: HTTP 404 Page Not Found!
SharePoint Managed path not in list?
Managed Path Not available in Create Site Collection Page, After deleting the site collection which was occupying the specified managed path already ? Refer my article for the solution: Managed Path Not available
How to Create/Delete SharePoint Managed path Programmatically with C# object model or Powershell?