More than 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 Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams Add private channel from admin centre

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 Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams 29 Private Channels in the Teams Admin Centre

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 Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams image 56

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!

Avatar for Pieter Veenstra

By Pieter Veenstra

Business Applications and Office Apps & Services Microsoft MVP working as a Microsoft Productivity Principal Consultant at HybrIT Services. You can contact me using contact@veenstra.me.uk.

26 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

      1. You can identify your private channels using the following
        Get-SPOSite –Limit All -Template “TEAMCHANNEL#0”

  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.

  4. I deleted the private channel from team and then from SPO used removedeletedsite and yet the pvt channel was still visible in deleted in Teams .. its identity is stuck some where.. 😉

  5. Hi Pieter, I extracted private channel URL based on template TEAMCHANNEL#0 and then remove-spodeletedsite for the specific channel , but the pvt channel still reflects under deleted in Teams.

  6. Ill give you a scenario where more than 30 private channels are needed…

    I am running a competition for a company that has over 600 schools joining it, with a handful of judges and volunteers needed to manage schools (say 100 each judge) – some general communication to all 100 schools needed (like on the General Channel) but then 1-1 to collaborate and judge private work (like with a Private Channel). This would have worked fine on a single team with the 100 schools in it but for the fact i can only have a maximum of 30 private channels (not the 100 needed).

    I will now have to create 4 x Teams (with private channels) for each judge or 100 x Teams for each school plus 1 additional Team with all schools as members for the general comms.

    1. Hi Tristan,

      Interesting use case.

      I would be interested to see what you see as a problem with creating that many Private Teams. In both cases things like SharePoint sites are created. The deletion of all the teams/channels I guess would be easier if the channels are all part of the same team.

      Which ever way this is implemented I would probably script the creation of the many teams/channels.

      Is this something that you have already implemented? I wonder if there is a way to get Microsoft to enable a higher limit for you. Feel free to hit the chat on my site and I can see if I can help you.

  7. Here’s our private channel scenario: We use teams for incident management. All of our general incident management resources are in the main general team and I create a private team for each new incident that arises and add the appropriate incident response team members to that channel. We want all staff to have access to the incident response process but obviously not all staff should have access to every incident.
    We’re now well past 30 channels and have found that deleting them doesn’t hard delete after 30 days so I’ve had to resort to creating a new team every 30 incidents.

  8. I am currently running a project that has about 70 different workstreams under it for each application impacted. The individuals for each app vary greatly so private channels were a good choice until I hit the 30 max limit…and why a limit so low? Furthermore, i find it odd that there is a 200 max public channel limit in contrast…

  9. Here’s an example of why I need more than 30 private channels per team. We have 3 partners in our consulting firm. Each partner has their own team, and then each new project gets a new channel under that team. Only the people working on the project should have access to that private channel, otherwise it would clutter up everyone’s Teams. I am on every channel because I manage them. Maybe this wasn’t the best way to set it up, but it’s how we did it (because we didn’t know about the private channel limit), and it would require a complete reorganization now. As it is, we haven’t been able to use Teams for our new projects, which isn’t ideal.

    1. Hi Amanda,

      In these kind of cases I would consider using separate teams for each project.

      Is there any difference between being able to only see the teams that you are involved in and being able to see only the channels that you are involved with?

      In both cases the number is the same.

      Also, do you use external sharing features? So would you have clients visible within the teams (and visible to each other!) and then have only the relevant channel visible to the specific client? This means that clients potentially share the general channel.

      1. We liked the idea of having a Team for each partner. It seemed more organized and I know what each partner’s projects are. I do not think my coworkers are sharing these channels with clients. I believe if they want to share anything, they create a new private Team and share that. I am not on those, so I am not completely sure.

  10. Late to this board but I have another scenario where we could use more than 30 private channels. I am a recruiter and we created an internal Recruitment Team. We were creating a private channel for each position we were working. Since we discuss candidates and other sensitive topics such as salary in the channels, we wouldn’t want everyone to have access to the channels. After 30 positions last year, we ran into this limit. It wouldn’t be a problem if there was a way to easily export the chats within the channel so it could be saved per our records retention schedule, then delete the channel afterwards.

  11. I have another scenario that makes me seriously bummed about the 30 PC limit in an educational situation. We have a Team that is an information hub for 2 different but overlapping degree programs. They all have semester reviews together on the same days each semester. They all upload their materials for us to review in their private channel and we meet there when we meet them online. Because of FERPA rules students shouldn’t be accessing other students assessment materials so Teams has been a wonderful way to be able to POST everything which is relevant to everyone but meet students individually and keep their documents hidden from each other (only us instructors see all student channels). Right now, with enrollment up we have a whole group of incoming students who can’t do what we are asking them to do because we cannot give them their own channels. We literally have to wait for that many current students to graduate, and then 30 days past deleting those channels apparently, just to do basic file sharing. No we do not want to create separate Teams for these different populations because 95% of the important information we post applies to every body, and no we do not want to be cross referencing two different Teams to review materials for recurring and congruent assessment events. Please allow more private channels! Of course there will be more scenarios…..

  12. I also have a use case where 30 private channels is too little. We have an internal training academy and we have created a Team for this. Here we communicate about new course types and new course dates etc.
    Not knowing this limitation, we started creating a private channel for each course event we had (we hit 30 after approx a year) to share training material, exercises and responses etc. The benefit of this approach is that only the course participants could see their own course material. Secondly, if you participated in e.g. 3 courses then you would easily find these (as you do not see all the courses you didn’t participate in and the list becomes bigger and bigger).

    Having these courses distributed across multiple Teams doesn’t give the course participant the same easy access and their list of Teams also becomes bigger and bigger as we also use Teams for each customer project we engage in.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.