Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Two - Web Application


This article is the second part of the SharePoint series. You can read the first part here at Learn SharePoint In Series-Part One-Introduction. In the previous article, I have described the introduction of SharePoint and some basics of SharePoint such as history, and choosing between SharePoint and other technology. So, in this article, I am moving one more step ahead.

In this article, I am going to cover the following topics.

  • Background of SharePoint
  • SharePoint Web Application in Terms of SharePoint on Premises Server
  • SharePoint Web Application in Terms of SharePoint Online
  • Creating Web Application

Background of SharePoint

SharePoint is based on the .NET Framework. SharePoint requires a Windows Server Operating System. SharePoint uses SQL Server Database to maintain the contents. In SharePoint terminology, the SQL Server Database is called a Content Database. The users and groups in SharePoint are managed in Active Directory.

SharePoint Web Application in Terms of SharePoint on Premises Server

We know that every .NET web-based application needs an IIS Server for hosting. We create an Application Pool and a Website in IIS to host the .NET Framework web application. In a similar way, when we create a SharePoint Web Application, SharePoint creates an application pool and IIS websites and hosts precompiled websites in that IIS under created IIS site. SharePoint Web Application is the entry point for SharePoint.

In a single SharePoint Server, we can have only one SharePoint Web Application without a port number in the URL (Default port i.e. 80). Example: We can create only one SharePoint Web Application with http(s)://domain. When we create another Web Application it creates with URL such as http(s)://domain:port (5555). However, we can extend the SharePoint Web Application to support multiple Web Applications on Port 80.

As per Microsoft Limits and Boundaries description, we can have 20 Web Applications per SharePoint Server. However, this is not the hard limit. These are Microsoft-supported limits. We can create more Web Applications but that will affect the performance of the SharePoint if the SharePoint Server is not capable of handling the bigger loads.

If we talk in terms of Content Database, then a single SharePoint Web Application can have a maximum of 500 Content Database. In a case when you have large data, let’s say more than 1000 GB, Microsoft doesn’t recommend you to store all the data in a single Content Database. Microsoft recommends 200 GB of content per content database. So we can divide the contents into various content databases. So in other words, we can say that a single Web Application can have more than 1 content database.

As I have specified earlier in this article, Web Application is the starting point for SharePoint. So there must be some security to the contents. In order to make content secure, SharePoint provides a very powerful mechanism of security in terms of Authentication and Authorization. For authentication, SharePoint provides various ways to protect the entry to SharePoint. It provides multiple types of Authentication mechanisms such as Windows Authentication, Claim-Based Authentication, Form-Based Authentication, and many more. In other words, you can even enter SharePoint using your Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. If you want to build a public-facing website then, in that case, SharePoint also provides Anonymous Authentication in which users can enter into SharePoint without login.

SharePoint Web Application in terms of SharePoint Online

As we all know SharePoint Online is a cloud-based platform. SharePoint Online only supports Internet-based web applications. In SharePoint Online we cannot access without login. When we configure SharePoint Online from Office365 we get a tenant. A single tenant acts the same as a single Web Application in SharePoint on-premises. The URL of SharePoint Online is always like https://tenantname.sharepoint.com. If you want another Web Application then, in that case, you will need to set up another tenant. In order to access the SharePoint Online, we need to log in. The username to log into SharePoint Online will be [email protected]. Later on, you can remove the Microsoft domain and add your custom domain to the user.

Creating Web Application

Creating Web Application in SharePoint on-premises: In order to create a Web Application in SharePoint on-premises, we can make use of Central Administration and create and configure a new Web Application. For more information about creating a SharePoint Web Application, you can refer to the following links.

Creating Web Application in SharePoint Online: In SharePoint Online, in order to create a Web Application, you have to subscribe to Office 365. Detailed steps for creating a SharePoint Online Web Application are given below.


Here in this article, I tried to explain the basics of SharePoint Web Application in terms of SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online. If you are a SharePoint developer or SharePoint administrator and if think that any of the information provided above is incorrect or misleading then please let me know in the comment section. In my next article, I will be explaining Site Collection and Sites in detail in the context of SharePoint Online and SharePoint on Premises.

 My other articles in this series are,

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