Saving a SharePoint 2010 site as a template allows you to clone it somewhere else. You can do this either without content (to create a brand new site with the same design) or with content (as one way of doing a site migration or backup).
How does this works?
1. Under “Site Actions”, select “Site Settings”.
2. Under “Site Actions”, you should see “Save Site as Template”. But sometimes it may not be there. You may see something like the below instead.
3. If you don’t have “Save Site as Template” as an option, it could be because you don’t have sufficient permissions (in which case you need to talk to your site administrator). But what if you are the administrator, and you still don’t see “Save Site as Template”? In this case, the problem may be that you need to turn off the site’s publishing features. (Note: if you are working with a sub site, the parent site will not be affected by this.)
3A. Go to Site Actions -> Site Settings -> Manage site features (under “Site Actions”)
3B. Click “Deactivate” for “SharePoint Server Publishing”
3C. Go back to Site Actions -> Site Settings. You should now see “Save site as template” as an option
4. Select “Save site as template”, and provide the required information. Decide whether you want to copy the site’s content with the template (see above). Click “OK”.
5. You will get a link to your “solution gallery”, which has your template.
6. If you need to find it later, the template is at <your root site URL>/_catalogs/solutions . Note that as with SharePoint 2007, the site template is stored at the root level (even if the site you are saving is a sub site). This means that you need to have permissions to the root site in order to complete this process.
7. If you want to clone the site to another location, first save it out, for instance to your desktop. Do this by
7A. Clicking on the name
7B. Clicking “Save” and selecting a location. For SharePoint 2010, it should save as a “.wsp” file. (“Resource Usage” of “0.00” does not mean that it is an empty file: you’re fine.)
8. If you now want to make the cloned site a sub site of another SharePoint 2010 installation, you first need to load it into the “Solution Gallery” in the target site.
8A. In the root site for the target installation, go to the “Solution Gallery”
8B. From the ribbon, select “Solutions” then “Upload Solution”
8C. Browse to the file. If you don’t see an “OK” button on the file browse window, click the “maximize” button in the upper right next to the “x”.
8D. Click OK
9. Check that the template now appears in the target installation’s Solution Gallery.
10. You can now create a new sub site using the template from Site Actions -> New Site