Retention policy for SharePoint sites

Copper Contributor


I have set a retention policy for SharePoint sites and it works as expected.

I used the "Retention"  under the security and compliance portal, under the Data Governance section (


When trying to delete a file a pop up message appears and the deletion doesn't work. as expected.
My question is what is the expected behavior for a site collection deletion?

How does the retention policy effect a deletion of a site collection?
I can enter the SharePoint admin center, mark the site collection and delete it. It goes to the recycle bin and after 30 days it will be moved to the second level recycle bin, but how does the retention policy effects the deletion of the whole site?

Effy L.


3 Replies



Retention Policy only works for the content on those SharePoint sites and not on the Site Collection or the Subsites.

A site collection can only be deleted by the administrators and you don't provide every user with the administrative permissions. Request you limit your user privileges.

Simply you can enable the alert and auditing so that you can get an alert if the admin deletes any site collection or subsites and auditing can help you to view users and administrator activities on SharePoint Online.


Hope this helps. Thanks.

We have a retention policy for all sharepoint sites to prevent deletion.

I want to delete one of the sites.


Is there a way to exclude the site from the policy rather than it applying to all sites.


It seems you can only select sites one at a time to include in the policy (meaning possibly new ones will not automatically get included)  Would be useful to have a select all / exclude checkbox against list of sites in retention policy.


The only way I see now is to remove all sharepoint sites from the retention policy.  Wait for this change to propagate, delete the site and then enable the policy again for all sites waiting for it to propagate the change a second time.  This second wait time allows a window where sites could be deleted unintentionally so not ideal.



Note - Retention Policy doesn't work for the sites which is connected to a Microsoft 365 Group.

Now we have this option to add separate sites in the Retention Policy. No need to add All Sites n, just enter the site URL and then click the Add button and the specific SharePoint will get added for the Retention Policy. You even has the option to exclude the SharePoint Site however that only works if you have added All Sites to the Retention Policy.

Link -

Let me know if this helps.