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Modern Team Sites vs. Modern Communications Sites

Kirk Liemohn is a Principal Software Engineer at ThreeWill. He has over 20 years of software development experience with most of that time spent in software consulting.

What’s the Difference Between Modern Team Sites vs. Modern Communications Sites?

“Use Modern Team Sites for inner-loop collaboration and Modern Communication Sites for top-down sharing or telling a story.”

I understand the messaging from Microsoft, but I want to understand what is really different between these two modern site templates underneath the covers.  I thought that maybe there would be some silver bullet that would really differentiate the two.  Other than the security model, I couldn’t find much.  Here’s what I was able to find (along with links to references below).

Modern Team Sites

A Modern Team Site has:

  • An Office 365 Group.  An O365 group has other components that come with it like Planner, Outlook distribution list, and more – and can connect to Microsoft Teams.  A Modern Communications Site will not have these or be able to connect to a Microsoft Team.
  • A SiteAssets library.  This has the site icon in it.  I don’t see a SiteAssets library as an “app” for a Modern Communications Site, but I don’t know if that matters.  Maybe it is there if you enable a feature.
    • UPDATE: The Site Assets library is created in a Modern Communications Site the first time you create a page that has an image (or maybe any other asset) that is uploaded.  Thanks for the tip, Kerry!
  • Left Nav.  I don’t know if you can enable this in a Modern Communications Site and I didn’t see a way to do so when I dug a little.
  • Show a summary of team members with a link to conversations(?).  I have seen documentation indicating this, but am not seeing this in my simple test.

Modern Communication Sites

A Modern Communications Site has:

  • Different designs you can choose from when provisioning the site.  A Modern Team Site does not (currently).
  • An Events list.  Granted, you could create one in the Modern Team Site.
  • Top Nav.  I don’t know if you can enable this in a Modern Team Site and I didn’t see a way to do so when I dug a little.

What Does All of This Mean?

If the features/details above don’t help you lean one way or another, just use Microsoft’s guidance.  If it leans more towards collaboration, choose a Modern Team Site.  If it leans more towards top-down sharing, choose a Modern Communications Site.

What’s Your Experience?

If you have found any other difference between these two site templates, we would love to hear from you!  Please leave a comment below.

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