There are quite a few situations where you want your SharePoint Web Application available to different sets of users, using different web addresses. For example, our internal users may use http://XYZ to access our web application, but our external clients may have to enter http://secure.xyz.com
SharePoint allows you to assign up to five different “end-user addresses” for each of your Web Applications. These “end-user addresses” are ones that people will type into their browser to access your site. SharePoint uses a feature called Alternate Access Mapping (AAM) to make sure that the web application is available through different addresses while still ensuring that the links in the page sent back to the user are formatted correctly.
For a standard, non-SharePoint web site, this is relatively easy. Microsoft’s IIS web server allows an administrator to specify as many addresses as they want for a single web site. These are called “host headers”. If you are careful and make sure that all the internal links in your standard web site are written without a domain (e.g. /contactus.aspx), then the end user will always get the correct links based on the address they have used to access the website.
So why doesn’t SharePoint work the same way? Well, part of the reason is that there are some scenarios where SharePoint will receive requests using one address, but it needs to translate these to another address before sending the final page to the end user. More on this later. Continue reading “SharePoint site with a different name”