The topics in this section describe the Tableau Server concept of a site and aspects of working with multiple sites. Topics include authentication type each site uses, and what to know about user licenses and administrator-level access to sites.
In this article
You might be used to using the term site to mean “a collection of connected computers,” or perhaps as the short form of “website.” In Tableau-speak, we use site to mean a collection of users, groups, and content (workbooks, data sources) that’s walled off from any other groups and content on the same instance of Tableau Server. Another way to say this is that Tableau Server supports multi-tenancy by allowing server administrators to create sites on the server for multiple sets of users and content.
All server content is published, accessed, and managed on a per-site basis. Each site has its own URL and its own set of users (although each server user can be added to multiple sites). Each site’s content (projects, workbooks, and data sources) is completely segregated from content on other sites.
All sites on a server use the same Run As user account. By default they use the same user authentication type. You configure both of these settings when you install Tableau Server. For information, see Configure Initial Node Settings.
Users who have access to more than one site on the same Tableau Server instance use the same credentials for each site. For example, if Jane Smith has a user name of jsmith and a password of MyPassword on Site A, she uses those same credentials on Site B. When she signs in to Tableau Server, she’ll be able to choose which site she wants to access.
Tableau Server installs with a site named Default. If you maintain a single-site environment on Tableau Server, this becomes the site you work with, and on which your users share their Tableau analysis. If you add sites, Default becomes one of the sites you can select when you sign in to Tableau Server. Default differs from sites that you add to the system in the following ways:
It can never be deleted but, just like sites that you add, it can be renamed.
It stores the samples and data connections that ship with Tableau Server.
The URL used for Default does not specify a site. For example, the URL for a view named Profits on a site named Sales is
http://localhost/#/site/sales/views/profits. The URL for this same view on the Default site would be
On Tableau Server, users, projects, groups, data sources, and workbooks are managed per site. You can add users to multiple sites.
Each environment and its needs is unique. However, as a baseline, Tableau Zen Masters and Product Managers tend to recommend using sites for true multi-tenancy needs. In other words, create a new site only when you need to manage a unique set of users and their content completely separately from all other Tableau users and content.
Examples for which it makes sense to use sites
You are a consultant who manages Tableau analysis for multiple clients, and you want to create a site for each client, to ensure that data from one client is not exposed to another.
You want to allow Guest user access to a small and contained area of the server.
Examples for which projects can work better than sites
A content-development process in which data sources and reports evolve from sandbox to production phases.
Migrating users and content from one site to another is a laborious process. Although you might have good reasons to use sites for this and similar processes, by creating sites, you as the site administrator compound your ongoing maintenance burden. For each configuration update you make to one site (for example creating new projects and setting permissions), you usually would need to duplicate the same work on each additional site.
You want to separate areas of the sever by functional area.
Among a group of Tableau users, it’s common that some users need to access content in multiple areas. Using sites would encourage publishing the same data sources and reports to multiple sites. This leads to data source proliferation and can negatively impact server performance. Using projects is a simpler way to work with this scenario.
For additional ideas, see the following resources:
Why use projects in the topic User Projects to Manage Content Access.
Discussions about sites on the Tableau Community forums. Here’s a link to get you started.
Tableau Server includes three administrator-level site roles: Server Administrator, Site Administrator Creator, and Site Administrator Explorer.
The Server Administrator site role always takes the highest license available, and it allows full access to Tableau Server, including all content access. You can find more information about this role in Server Administrator Overview. Server administrators also create sites as needed. (Site administrators don’t have permissions to do this.)
A server administrator can assign one of the Site Administrator site roles to users to delegate creating and maintaining a specific site’s user and content framework. The content framework enables Tableau users to share, manage, and connect to data sources and workbooks.
Assign Site Administrator Creator to administrators who also connect to data, and create and publish data sources or workbooks. This site role takes a Creator license.
Assign Site Administrator Explorer if the user manages the content framework but doesn’t need to edit the content itself. This site role takes an Explorer license, and it allows viewing and interacting access.
By default, the Site Administrator site roles allow creating and managing the site’s users and groups, creating projects to organize content on the site, assigning permissions to allow users (groups) to access the content they need, scheduling extract refreshes, and a few other tasks.
A server administrator can deny site administrators’ user management tasks. For example, you might do this if you use the Site Administrator Creator role for the data experts. In other words, you want to allow these users to manage connections to underlying data, create and publish “single source of truth” data sources, create top-level projects, and organize content across projects without restriction; but not necessarily add and remove site users.
For each site the server administrator can also limit site administrator access, so that site administrators can manage groups and content, but not add or remove users or set users’ site roles.
In some organizations, the same person might be both a server administrator and site administrator for one or more sites. Even so, the tasks performed by a site administrator and a server administrator are distinct.
You can add server users to multiple sites, and set their site roles and permissions on each site. A user who belongs to several sites does not need a license for each site. Each server user needs only one license.
Server administrators can use the Limit number of users setting (select Site <name> > Settings) to specify a user limit for the site. Only licensed users are counted. For example, if a site has 90 licensed users (including administrators), 20 unlicensed users, the user count is 90.
For site administrator recommendations for how to set up users on a site, how to structure a site for publishers and other content users, how to give users permissions to share and manage their content, and so on, see the Manage Sites section.
For information about how users can get their content to Tableau Server, see Publish Data Sources and Workbooks in the Tableau user help.