More than 30 Private channels in Microsoft Teams

Be careful with your 30 private channels in Microsoft Teams

When you create private channels in Microsoft Teams there are some limitations that you need to be aware of.

Microsoft Teams Private Channel limitations

A while back I wrote about limitations in Microsoft Teams. One of the limits is that a team can only have up to 30 private channels. You can have 200 normal channels.

When you try to create more than 30 private channels you will get the following message when you try to add another one.

Your team has ached the maximum number of private channels

Be careful with your private channels in Microsoft Teams

If you try to do the same in the Admin Center you will get

We can’t add the channel right now. Please try again

Be careful with your 30 private channels in Microsoft Teams 1

This is not too much of a problem in most cases. If you need that many private channels you should really consider if you need a different of your teams!

I’m sure that someone will give me a very good reason to create this many private channels. If you have a good reason then please let me know.

But looking in the Teams Admin Center, I actually found that the number of private channels is set to 29.

Be careful with your 30 private channels in Microsoft Teams 2

In the past i deleted one of my private channels. And this deleted channel seems to still be included in the limit of 30 private channels.

So what is the solution?

Well, I don’t have one at the moment, other than creating multiple teams. I was contacted earlier this week by a someone in the educational sector. Trying to create a new private channel for students.

In this case I would potentially look into creating multiple teams and spread the private channels across the different teams. Having said that I could also imagine that in the use case of education that the limit of 30 private channels could be challenging.

If private channels then are still counted even though they have been deleted then that doesn’t make things any easier. Potentially it would be better to modify an existing channel rather than deleting it.

What is left when an private channel is deleted?

Well, this is the big question!

There is no site collection after deletion. I didn’t find any recycle bin. So not sure where to start.

I found in the admin center a list called

DO_NOT_DELETE_SPLIST_TENANTADMIN_AGGREGATED_SITECOLLECTIONS

Yes, that is a scary name, but this list contains items holding details about my channels, including the deleted private channel.

Maybe this is the missing part of the private channel deletion. I’m not going to even try touching that list!

Restore and Reuse channels

At the moment the only thing you can do is go to the Private channel that you deleted in the Deleted section. Restore the channel and then reuse it.

Hmm, not sure if that really covers the term private!

Be careful with your 30 private channels in Microsoft Teams 3

If the restore and reuse option is used then that would for me mean that I would have to think twice about how private a channel really is, but having said that, the private members of a team could vary in a similar way anyway, so it is probably ok.

Anyway, please do feel free to share your experiences with private channels in Microsoft Teams. I’m interested to hear if you have found any better solutions.

Normal channels in Microsoft Teams

This post has been mainly about private channels, but you will find similar issues with normal channels. The only difference is that the limit for normal channels is 200, hence you are less likely to reach that number.

In general I would recommend anyway to keep the number of channels low and increase the number of teams as you architect your organisational teams structures. Having 200 channels within one team must become quite painful beast to use!

8 thoughts on “Be careful with your 30 private channels in Microsoft Teams

  1. As always, Information Architecture is critical.
    My first response was the same as yours, ‘why would anyone do that?’.
    The education scenario is interesting. I used to be a teacher, a very long time ago (we used BBC Micros in the physics department) and having Teams would have been marvellous. It would have been great to have 1 to 1 student interaction, but I would do that using Chat and OneDrive, not a private channel.
    For multidisciplinary stuff, it would be a Teams Area per student.

    I rarely see a need for more than a handful of Private Channels, at most. Many P.C.s is target an IA red flag leading to are design!

  2. Hi Pieter,
    Is there a recycle bin for deleted private channels so you can restore them? Perhaps that is the reasons for the 29 – your tenant is waiting for that deleted channel to be permanently removed before you can create a new one. Just a thought.

    1. Hi Ellen,

      I’ve not found any. These site collections don’t seem to appear in any site collection overview in the admin centers. they also didn’t appear in the recycle bins for me.

      Thanks,
      Pieter

  3. Hi Pieter we experienced that in the past and created a ticket w/ MSFT support.Below there feedback and indeed after waiting 30 days the no longer required Private Channels was finally removed and we could start creating new ones (but never more than 30 🙂

    Based on https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/limits-specifications-teams, the limit of “Private Channels” for a single Microsoft Teams “Team” is 30 and “Public Channels” is 200 (for both deleted and active channels added together).

    The error message received is an expected reaction of the application, when the limit was reached.

    “Private Channels”, same as “Public Channels”, have a 30-day timer after the deletion (channels can be restored in 30 days).

    After deletion, for 30 days, the channel is counted in the same count as the active ones, in this case, it would be 30 “Private Channels’ and 200 “Public Channels”.

    Thus the message received is an expected response, due to the fact that limit was reached. Currently, there is no option to purge the deleted channels before the 30 day period. After investigating the issue, we can suggest these workarounds.

    1. Creating a new team, this will have a new pool of 30 “Private Channels”.

    2. Restoring deleted channel and reusing/re-purposing it.

    The instructions on how that can be done is here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/archive/blogs/uclobby/restore-deleted-teams-and-channels-from-microsoft-teams.

    3. Waiting for the designated 30 day period of time, when the channels will be permanently deleted.

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