Update – Publishing Features “not supported” on Office 365 Public Websites

This has been a bit of an on-running saga for many of you in the community and I have to admit I’ve found it as confusing (and sometimes frustrating) as the next person.

I have had an Office 365 Community forum thread running for a while now which originally stated that this was allowed:

“If there’s a feature in your site that’s able to be activated, you’re still within the terms of your agreement if you activate it”

This was initially great news, although the euphoria was short lived as I finally got in touch with Mark Kashman (Senior Product Manager on the SharePoint Team at Microsoft, specialising in Office 365 and SharePoint Online).

We had a bit of an email dialog  and the crux of it has been updated in the community thread linked at the beginning of this post. The details have been included below:

“The SharePoint Online public-facing website does not grant use rights to leverage the publishing portal components in Office 365. These features are only supported for intranet sites within the private site collections you create from the SharePoint Online Administration Center. For now, the public-facing site is configurable by use of the Site Designer ribbon tool. Microsoft only supports what Site Designer enables.”

As disappointing as this is I have to admit I’m not entirely surprised, and hopefully this will be addressed at some point in the future. In fact Mark goes on to say:

“The feedback from this thread, and companion posts in and outside of the Office 365 Community site, are important in helping guide planning for how Microsoft may offer web content management (WCM) driven public websites that can leverage the SharePoint’s powerful publishing infrastructure components and are licensed appropriately. I, too, will take the action item to add additional clarity on this same point within the next update to the SharePoint Online service description here: go.microsoft.com/fwlink

Now, I have asked the question .. does this mean we are not allowed  to activate these features, or Microsoft simply won’t support our environments if we do this?

I am hoping for a response soon, and will update you when I know more! Watch this space…

  • Anonymous

    I've been following your discussion topic for some time.

    It is very short sighted of MS. SharePoint has a publishing feature yet they give P1 plans something from the 1990's. It is obviously geared to little bubbles and there's little/no sharing between different O365 islands. As an individual user/self employed, these limitations were unacceptable and why I cancelled my O365. Google, WordPress and other cloud services offer so much more. A big shame.

  • Volker Leitzgen

    After 2 hours of web research I have found your root discussion here 🙂 MyQuestion: Future of OLSB/O365 for public websites!?! I am very interested what Mark Kashman will answer .. otherwise it would mean a sudden death of sharepoint for small biz public websites and we would need to think about webmatrix or non-Microsoft solutions which would be a pitty after all ….

  • Anonymous

    So… got did you got any answer?… are we allowed to active them but if we do we lose microsoft support? or we risk a legal action from Microsoft if we do?

  • Matt Groves

    you and me both mate… Will let you know if I hear anything too (I have a similar query open!!)