Microsoft Expands SharePoint Online URL Path Lengths

Microsoft has increased the maximum URL path length for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business subscribers.

The old "maxpath" limit was 256 Unicode code units, but it now has been expanded to 400 Unicode code units, Microsoft explained in an announcement this week. The maxpath expansion is yet another URL improvement on top of the added support for the # and % characters that Microsoft announced last month for SharePoint Online, according to Bill Baer, a senior product market manager for SharePoint and OneDrive.

The expanded maxpath limit only applies to unencoded URLs. "There is no limit to encoded URLs in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business," Baer explained.

This maxpath improvement also only applies to SharePoint Online and the OneDrive for Business service. Organizations using SharePoint Server are still limited by the old maxpath restriction, which apparently is 256 Unicode code units, according to this old TechNet article for SharePoint Server 2010. That article also apparently applies to SharePoint Server 2013 as well, per this TechNet forum post.

The maxpath limit apparently mostly affects organizations that use nonstandard ASCII characters in URLs, such as double-byte Unicode characters used with Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Hindi languages, which multiplies the length during encoding by a factor of 9. The use of high-ASCII characters in URLs, such as %, # and $, multiplies the length during encoding by a factor of 3, according to Microsoft's SharePoint Server 2010 TechNet article description.

The extended maxpath limit may make some SharePoint Online users happy, but it's unclear how many organizations faced such problems with the old limits. The SharePoint user voice forum just listed a few requests. One participant was struggling with Japanese file names and lengthened URLs. Another participant complained that migrating to a newer version of SharePoint Online was "not friendly to longer URLs." A third participant was incredulous about the URL length limitation, saying that "there is no reason why this limit has to exist."

Microsoft calculates the length of URL using the following formula: URL = protocol + server name + folder or file path + folder or file name+ parameters. It excludes the length of any parameters in that count, though.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.


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