Introduction to SharePoint and Confluence Terminology

This page contains a beginner's guide to the terms used in Confluence and SharePoint. It is useful for people who know either Confluence or SharePoint, but do not yet have a good understanding of both.

SharePoint Terminology

SharePoint has the following concepts:

  • Farm
  • Web Application
  • Site Collection
  • Site

In SharePoint a farm is the top level entity. An enterprise may have a production farm and a development/test farm for their intranet. You typically do not have multiple farms to cover something like an intranet except in circumstances such as regional separation across the globe. The same applies to an extranet or a public facing website. There can be many servers within a farm and they can perform different roles such as a search index server, a web front end server, database servers, etc.

A farm can have multiple web applications. A web application is usually a security boundary since it maps to an IIS web site which can have some added control over access. For example, one web application may allow anonymous access and another may not.

A web application can have multiple site collections. A site collection is simply a collection of sites. It has a single top level site, also called the root site. Each site can have any number of child sites.

You might have a site collection per department or you might have all departments in the same site collection. If you use 'My Sites', you will have a separate site collection per user.

Confluence Terminology

Confluence has the following concepts:

  • Installation
  • Cluster node
  • Space
  • Page

An enterprise may have several Confluence installations (similar to SharePoint farms). Each Confluence installation can be hosted in a single server or on several cluster nodes.

A single Confluence installation can have multiple spaces. A space can have multiple pages. The pages can be organized in a hierarchical fashion where one page is the parent of another page.

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