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Author: Jonathan Stuckey

This article is for SharePoint page publishing trouble-identification, diagnostics and recovery. It covers steps for how to recover home-page from catastrophic editing issues on SharePoint site. Specifically in the event of publishing changes that cause the site to lose the connection with the designated "Home-page".

The net result of the issue below is that the user is presented with a generic (unhelpful) "The site can't be reached" page when trying to navigate to the site or follow links to the home of site. see below.

Recover from home-page changes made outside of edit-mode

This is a common issue encountered in supporting users editing the home-page of a SharePoint site, and either accidentally publish with no content, or the user has changed the name of the Home.aspx page without resetting it as the home for the site.

This issue can also sometimes be caused when content from a classic SharePoint site has been migrated | imported into a modern site, and the classic site was using a home-page of the designation: default.aspx

For example: if site is called pnp-safety, and the user changes the name of the home-page to something not registered as home then can get message like this:

It is important to understand that in this scenario the site is actually still available, but the message is misleading. You can verify the site is extant in your tenancy SharePoint Admin Center active sites listing.

Recover access to the site and home-page

All home-pages, news and content / articles publishing in SharePoint are only documents with a file-format of ASPX. All the Pages are kept in a specific library on every SharePoint site called: /sites/<MySitenameHere>/sitepages

When you are not able to navigate to the home of your site (using path, or a short-cut), the best way to access the pages - and attempt recovery - is by direct access to the /sitepages/ library. This can be achieved by constructing the URL which leads directly to your site's SitePages library.

Navigating to the home using URL e.g. https://<tenancy> will always result in the above error-message experience.

To recover access to the home-page on a site

Adding the following to the URL - /sitepages  to the URL will provide you access to the sitepages library, if the page is only suffering from poor editing or accidental deletion of content/webparts.

i. Paste in the equivalent of the following URL in your browser:  https://<tenancy> - this will take you direct to the library access

ii. Select the Home.aspx page - do not open it

iii. right-click (or use the ellipsis) for menu options

iv. click on 'make home-page'

IF you are sure that a previous version of the page will restore item to useful access then:

v. Select the Home.aspx page - do not open it

vi. right-click (or use the ellipsis) for menu options

vii. click on 'Version history'

ix. Identify relevant version (by date/time-stamp) 

x. select 'Restore' on menu

xi. on browser dialogue for replacing current version - click 'OK'

xii. dismiss the version history dialogue

xiii. select the page and Republish to make the change live

Validate page restoration is correct by navigating back to the home of the site.

Task is now complete.  


If the home-page of the site is corrupt/broken/deleted or (re)named default.aspx - adding /sitepages to the URL - e.g. https://<tenancy> will not give you access.

Instead you can end up with page failing to display, and view of code instead. e.g.

Your options are to either:

  1. append the following: SitePages/Forms/AllPages.aspx to the URL, or 

  2. append the following: SitePages/Forms/ByAuthor.aspx

to go direct to specific system view in the library and see pages using a system generated view. For example:

The above options bypass the default behaviour of the site when redirecting you to see the page - triggering the error situation. These constructured URLs provide you a view of all the pages, at which point you can proceed with following resolution steps above.

Once you have restored a valid page or renamed (default.aspx) to name the modern publishing service uses e.g. Home.aspx, then proceed with the steps above.


The following Microsoft articles referenced support the topic above, providing additional information:

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If you want to talk about getting understanding troubleshooting with Microsoft 365 and SharePoint, contact us at:

About the author: Jonathan Stuckey


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