What’s the difference between a site and a subsite in SharePoint? I hear this question quite a lot from my clients and blog followers. In the past, I have written blog posts explaining the difference between sites and site collections, sites and pages. Today, I want to clarify the last SharePoint terminology misperception: Site vs. Subsite.
The short answer is that there is no difference between a SharePoint site and a SharePoint subsite. They are the same thing. I think the confusion originates because of the fact that in SharePoint you have the two terms used interchangeably, causing you to believe that there might be a difference between the two.
In reality – it is just a terminology thing. Any site you create in SharePoint is a subsite since it will reside under some other site in your site hierarchy. The only site that is a true site and not a subsite is the very top site of the site collection since it does not appear under any other sites. So really, the only site you have in your environment is the root of your site collection (this is where you usually have an Intranet Homepage). All the other sites in the environment (department sites, project sites, team sites, Wiki sites) are all subsites.
The picture is worth a thousand words, so hopefully below image clarifies it even further.