Recover a SharePoint Online Site

In SharePoint Online, it’s easy to delete an entire site or documents in a site.

Recovering documents is also quite easy, go to the site’s recycle bin which is normally located at https://contoso.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename/_layouts/15/RecycleBin.aspx – replacing ‘contoso’ with your tenant name, and ‘sitename’ with the actual site name. Deleted items can be selected and restored to their original location.

How long are deleted items kept in the Recycle Bin?

In SharePoint Online, the default retention time is 93 days for both site recycle bin (first stage) and site collection recycle bin (second stage). The site recycle bin storage counts against your site collection storage quota and the List View Threshold. The site collection recycle bin retention starts at the same time for both recycle bins when the item is first deleted, so the total maximum retention time is 93 days for both recycle bins. The default amount of space for the site collection is 200% of the site collection quota.”

However, I had some issues when trying to recover an entire site. My top level recycle bin https://contoso.sharepoint.com/_layouts/15/RecycleBin.aspx showed nothing. I’m unsure if there’s another way of viewing deleted sites via the web interface, and gave up after a lot of clicking around and Googling, but it’s easy to do with PowerShell.

After installing the SharePoint Online Management Shell, and connecting to SharePoint Online with the ‘Connect-SPOService‘ cmdlet (and don’t forget to use HTTPS rather than HTTP when connecting to your SharePoint Online instance or you’ll get a rather generic error: connect-sposervice : Could not authenticate to SharePoint Online http://contoso-admin.sharepoint.com/ using OAuth 2.0), you can see what your deleted sites are with this command:

Get-SPODeletedSite

Simple, you’ll then be presented with a list of all sites that are deleted and waiting in the recycle bin along with when they were deleted, and how many days are remaining before they disappear from the recycle bin. Sites deleted seem to sit in that recycle bin for 30 days, rather than site collection items but I couldn’t find any documentation supporting this.

To restore a deleted site, just use the following command with the URL of the site to restore, which you can see from the ‘get’ command above

Restore-SPODeletedSite -identity https://conotos.sharepoint.com/sites/oops

That’s it. Your site is back.

From what I’ve read, there is no way to change the retention values of SharePoint Online recycle bins.

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