If you need to find out how to save a site as a template, please check out our previous article Save as Site Template.

Once you’ve saved this template/solution to your local drive, you can create a new Web Application, and then create a Site collection, based on that solution, even though it’s not uploaded to the server yet.

Here’s how it’s done – –
Under ‘Application Management’, in Central Admin, click on ‘Create site collections’. Once there, change to the correct Web Application you have newly created. Give it a Title, and a description (if you so desire). Under the ‘Template Section’, click on the ‘Custom’ tab. You’ll notice that there are no templates there, but you will see something similar to “< Select Template later >”. Enter the Primary/Secondary Site Collection Administrator names and click OK.

Once you do this, you will come to the ‘Success’ screen. Click on the link to go to the new site. Once you get there, instead of a site (remember, you didn’t actually use a template) you will see the familiar Template Selection Page, with the tabs. Here, instead of choosing an existing template (also remember, you haven’t uploaded your template yet), click on the ‘Solution Gallery’ link toward the bottom, but above the ‘OK’ button.

When you get there, click the ‘Solutions’ tab in the ribbon and you will see the ‘Upload Solution’ button, which you will need to click. Make sure that your solution is copied to a computer accessible to the server you are working on. (I usually copy it over from my local computer first). Browse for your .wsp file (the solution file), click ‘Open’ and then, ‘OK’.

Once it’s uploaded, click the ‘Activate’ button on the next screen. Once it’s finished activating, you will be guided back to the Solution Gallery and you will see the new solution you just uploaded, in the gallery list.

Now, just click on the Root link of your site (in the BreadCrumb trail), and you will get back to the ‘Template Selection’ page. Click on the ‘Custom’ tab again, but this time, you will notice that your new solution is there. Click the ‘OK’ button.

Once it’s finished doing it’s ‘thing’, that’s all there is to it.