SharePoint Limitations – The Infamous SharePoint 5,000 Item Limit and More

This article talks about various SharePoint limitations and how they can be a challenge for enterprises using SharePoint. There are limits to how many files and folders you can view within team folders, limits on how many files and folders you can store, limits on number of files you can sync, and much more. All such SharePoint limitations can force enterprises to look for better SharePoint alternatives, especially when there are better options at a much affordable cost.

SharePoint’s Infamous 5,000 Item Limit

SharePoint Limits Library View to 5,000 Items

  • SharePoint Library is equivalent to FileCloud’s “Team Folders”
  • In SharePoint, you cannot view more than 5,000 items within a Library/Team Folder, unlike FileCloud, which has no limit.
  • Enterprises often easily exceed 5,000+ files, in which case SharePoint will not display all of these files/ folders

SharePoint limits the number of items that are displayed in a given SharePoint Library view (equivalent of FileCloud Team Folders) to 5,000 items. Items include all files as well as the folders.


sharepoint limitations


In practice, enterprises can easily exceed more than 5,000 files and folders within team folders, so the SharePoint item limit can become a significant issue. FileCloud doesn’t have such limitations and you can display all files and folders in a single view.

SharePoint’s Sync Limits

  • You can sync only up to 5,000 items in a SharePoint library (Team Folders)
  • This limit includes folders as well as files in the SharePoint Library
  • You can sync only up to 20,000 items limit in the OneDrive library

Even with the new OneDrive sync client, you can only sync 300,000 files across all libraries. In practice, enterprise team folders often easily exceed these limits. FileCloud, on the other hand, does not impose any limits within the sync client.

sharepoint limits
FileCloud Sync Client Benefits

  • No item/ files/ folders limit through FileCloud sync app
  • Use Selective Sync to sync only the files and folders you need, to save local disk space
  • Get offline access to network folders
  • Automatically schedule folder backups

SharePoint’s Complicated Guest User Experience

Steps to Share Files With Guest Users in SharePoint

  1. Enable guest access and external sharing
  2. Enable Guest Access for Office 365 Groups
  3. Invite guest users to Office 365 groups
  4. Guest users now need to setup MS accounts

Only after so many steps, can guest users can access files.

Guest Users can face further complications within SharePoint

  • Most users have personal Microsoft account and corporate accounts. This means they have to switch back and forth every time they have to access files as a guest user, making the process terribly tedious and user-unfriendly
  • SharePoint’s guest user experience is not intuitive, as mentioned before and reported by many users.
  • Guests may have to setup multiple accounts in order to access files
  • Overall, users have rated that they would prefer sharing files via email over setting up guest accounts.

With FileCloud, inviting guest users is a single-step process

  • Invite guest user via email, and that’s it.

For security, you can password protect the share as well. For public shares, a FileCloud account is not required and for private share, guest users need to create the FileCloud account.

SharePoint’s Permission Inheritance Issues

What is “Permission Inheritance” ?

In SharePoint, children files and folders automatically inherit permission levels from their parent folder/ site.

Breaking Permission Inheritance

To manage individual files/ folders, users have to change permissions and break permission inheritance.

Permission Inheritance Limitation

If your SharePoint Library has over 100,000 items with unique SharePoint permissions, you will get an error while breaking the permission inheritance.

Long Processing Time

Database operations on library items can process limited items in one request. Operations that exceed the 5,000 item limit for permission inheritance can take a long time and may throw an error.

permission inheritance


In practice, enterprise file permissions can easily exceed these limits and having limits on setting permissions on important documents is not ideal. Which is why, FileCloud doesn’t has any such limits on setting granular permissions for any file.

SharePoint vs FileCloud

Plan Wise Cost Comparison

SharePoint Online Premium Plan
FileCloud Online Enterprise Plan
Pricing: $29,000+ for 100 users/ year
Pricing: $18,000 for 100 users/ year
No DLP (have to buy extra DLP software)
Smart DLP included
No end-point backupEnd-point backup included
No ransomware protection
Built-in ransomware protection
Unlimited guest/ client user accounts
Unlimited guest/ client accounts
Major limitations on existing features
High availability architecture
No high availability architecture
Smart content classification
No smart content classification
No limitations, unlike SharePoint
SharePoint Server Premium Plan
FileCloud Server Standard Plan
Pricing: $14,000+ for 100 users/ year
Pricing: $5,000 for 100 users/ year
Limited storage, buy extra when needed
Unlimited storage
No high availability architecture
High-availability architecture
Large file support (100 GB limit)
Unlimited file size upload support
Deprecated Enterprise Sync (Windows file servers to cloud)
FileCloud ServerSync (Windows file servers to cloud)

More SharePoint Limitations

SharePoint Library Item Limits

A maximum limit of 30 million items/ files and folders can be stored in SharePoint Library, which can easily be exceeded by large enterprises,

Unique permissions for items

SharePoint’s recommended general item limit is 5,000, which is a very small amount and can easily be exceeded in practice, causing errors.

SharePoint file size limit

Maximum file size of 100 GB, which can again be easily exceeded in practice, especially by law, design, architecture and construction firms.

Moving files in a single operation

No more than 30,000 files can be processed in a single operation, and each file must be less than 2 GB. Again, this can be very limiting for enterprises.

In practice, all these limitations can create serious challenges for enterprise teams to collaborate together and can reduce productivity. FileCloud offers a superior EFSS solution with no such limits, and more comprehensive features and security at a much affordable price.