Update on Office 365 Public Facing Web Site Third Party Service Offering

As previously posted, Office 365 will be discontinuing its support for public facing web sites.  Microsoft is outsourcing the service to third parties – the current list includes GoDaddy and Wix.comMicrosoft has just released some new information on the new offering.

Neither third party has published any product details, pricing, etc. for their new Office 365 public facing web site service.

Public Facing Web Site is No Longer Included in Office 365 Subscription

Microsoft does not include the cost for your new public facing web site in the subscription cost – you will need to pay the third party provider an additional hosting fee.  Microsoft is promising “discounted pricing rates where available”.  The cost of your Office 365 subscription isn’t being reduced either.

New Third Party Offerings will be More Robust

The original Office 365 public facing web site offering was limited in scope.  The new third party offering will be more robust (presumably a full instance of on premise SharePoint 2013).

The existing SharePoint Online Public Website feature was designed for customers who need only a basic online presence. These new solutions will provide more robust tools and solutions needed for delivering, supporting and managing a complete online presence.

Third Parties are Responsible for Migration, Training and Onboarding

Microsoft’s only commitment is essentially to provide a link to these new third party services only.  Training, migration, documentation is now the responsibility of the third party service.

You Have Two Years to Migrate

For those with existing web sites, you will have two years from March 9, 2015 to migrate to the new third party service.  No new public facing web sites will be allowed to be created.