Almost 9 years ago when we started our company Office 365 didn’t exist. In the rush to setup the company we didn’t spend much time on brand and naming as we had already secured several projects and were focused on getting into delivery. 4 years ago we rebranded and discovered that we couldn’t change the URL on SharePoint Online.
I logged a request to join the private preview to change the URL’s associated with our tenant in 2019 and then promptly forgot about it until I was contacted last week to see if we were interested in participating. YES PLEASE!
It isn’t uncommon for your favorite IT support person to pick the tenant name when setting up Office 365, often blissfully unaware that this forms part of SharePoint and OneDrive URLs. Once that’s done it becomes harder to move and so companies often grin and move on because change is to hard.
The URL must be available which means registering an additional onmicrosoft.com domain in Azure. When you do this, the Azure Portal gives a warning if the domain is already in use and won’t let you register the new domain name. In our case, someone had used our preferred name, so I made an executive decision on the new tenant URL (I’m the Managing Director of Stratos, but I’d recommend you get approval for your domain from the right people before choosing one!)
This update changes the URL’s for SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and associated Admin Portals. This includes URL’s used in sharing links that are visible to our partners and clients.
The URL change was undertaken by Microsoft and the actual cut-over takes anywhere from 30 mins to 2 hours (or so) depending on the size of the migration. Users can continue to work during the cut-over but may need to log out of applications or reboot at the end of the rename to get some functionality.
The update doesn’t have any impact on other Office 365 services including Exchange Online. I suspect you may need to update the Dynamics 365 paths for SharePoint but I am not using that feature, so it is just speculation.
A redirector URL is put in place, so visiting the old tenant URL will redirect users to the new URL. This works pretty well but there are a few places that it isn’t supported because the applications don’t support the URL redirection.
A few things I noticed:
- Search based web-parts didn’t show images until the search crawl ran. This includes the Highlighted Content web-part.
- SharePoint and OneDrive content was available immediately
- SharePoint Mega Menu links didn’t update
- The OneDrive Sync client automatically updated (I was advised I may need to reboot)
- Attachments in Teams channels don’t work, I understand they don’t use the document URL so redirects don’t work.
- Some search results had the old URL until the crawl had completed.
- I was unable to save to OneDrive until I had rebooted. SharePoint was OK.
- Recent files in Office Applications point to the old URL
- Office 365 Groups in Outlook took several minutes to appear when I click the Groups link in the left hand panel
- Flows and PowerApps with SharePoint data connections needed to be updated to use the new URL
- Existing sharing links worked and automatically redirected
- Teams channels didn’t show up in the Teams client. 20 hours later I still don’t see the files, but I can access them directly in SharePoint.
- OneNote file sync to OneDrive for Business didn’t work until I rebooted by laptop.
So just over 30 minutes after the scheduled Teams meeting with Microsoft to implement the change and we were up and going with our new tenant URL. It has been an very painless and quick experience. Absolutely brilliant!
Microsoft haven’t given a timeline for making this generally available at this stage, so keep an eye on the roadmap! I know many people will love this capability because of it’s simplicity and the expense of moving to a new tenant can be very high.
I’ll update this post again with new observations and issues.