SharePoint Tips & Tricks: Run Central Admin on Two Servers

Sharepoint Tips and Tricks graphicHere at, a majority of our builds have a fairly unique setup due to the fact that we host SharePoint virtually (in the cloud) and offer unlimited SharePoint customizations to fit your business. It can not only be difficult, but also very pricey for our clients to use best practices 100% of the time.

Using virtual servers rather than physical servers, gives our customers quite a bit more flexibility in the way they choose to architect their farms. Essentially what it comes down to for them is performance and reliability.

If we have a client with more than one Web Front End server, one of the best performance and redundancy points is to have Central Administration running on multiple servers. Doing this gives an Administrator more control over their environment in the unlikely event that their primary Web Front End is inaccessible.

Running Central Admin on multiple servers is very simple to setup. In this example, I will install SharePoint on two front-end Web servers which are both equipped with a publicly accessible IP address. (Keep in mind this is for a hosted cloud environment).

To start, you set up SharePoint as normal on both servers. On the primary server, run the post-installation SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard. Here you will identify the database server name, the farm account, passphrase, and port for which the Central Administration site will be configured. Let the first Configuration Wizard finish completely before moving to the next server.

On server number two, after the initial installation, you will also run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard. On this server, you will choose to connect to an existing farm. It will prompt you to enter the Farm Passphrase as you specified above. On the final setup screen, you will see an “Advanced Settings” button as seen below:

Screenshot: Advanced Settings option in SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard

This will bring you to the “Advanced Settings” screen where you will want to select Use this machine to host the web site. As shown below:

Screenshot: Configuration Wizard Advanced Settings

Once selecting OK, it will then run through the Configuration Wizard. Once the Wizard finishes, you will need to open up Central Administration.

Once you have opened Central Administration, browse to Configure Alternate Access Mappings:

Screenshot: Configure Alternate Access Mappings under the System Settings menu

On the right hand side of the screen, select Show All on the Alternate Access Mapping Collection drop-down menu and choose Change Alternate Access Mapping Collection:

Screenshot: Change Alternate Access Mapping Collection pulldown option

Select Central Administration:

Screenshot: Select Central Administration on Alternate Access Mapping alert window

Select Edit Public URLs:

Screenshot: Select Edit Public URLs

On this screen, you will enter the name of the second server in the Intranet field as shown below:

Screenshot: Intranet Central Administration mapping

Note the server names have been greyed out, but you can see that server 01 is the default server, while server 02 is the secondary server. Both host Central Administration on the same port and each server will now have its own IIS site for Central Administration!

Learn more about Total Server Control for SharePoint.

As always, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

2012-06-11T20:54:11+00:00 June 11th, 2012|


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  2. Robert August 6, 2012 at 11:12 am - Reply

    thanks for this article “Run Central Admin on Two Servers”. I haave configured it as you show and now on the Alternate Access Mappings I see Server1: Default, Server2 Sefault and Server 2: Intranet. Is this how it should work?

  3. Joe Beyer August 6, 2012 at 11:16 am - Reply


    Hi Robert,

    Yes, as long as you show both server names in Alternate Access Mappings, the name of the zone does not really matter. If you show Server2 in the list twice, you can just delete one of the entries and should be just fine.

    Thanks for the comment!

  4. Robert August 6, 2012 at 11:17 am - Reply

    Another question when I try to open Central admin on Server 2 the site opens up as server 1. Is there a local registry setting or something that is pointing there?

  5. Joe Beyer August 7, 2012 at 4:48 am - Reply


    Do you have a Central Admin site in IIS on Server 2? What entries do you have in the host file pointing to Central Admin on that same server?


  6. Pratyush Nayak December 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    hi Joe,
    i have a medium farm 1 app and 1 wfe, want CA on both, (Kerberos authentication was selected while configuring.
    Problem: Cannot access CA of WFE on APP and vice Versa.

    Please suggest: has it got anything to do with Kerberos.

  7. Joe Beyer December 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    @Pratyush Nayak

    Without having additional information, it can be difficult to determine the issue. Are you saying you cannot access CA at all?


  8. bhavin August 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm - Reply


    I have been looking to have dedicated Microsoft project server users, who are not going to be authenticated by active directory services. It seems that I need to enable somehow from some magical link “manage site collection” which I cant see on the sharepoint central administration ad enable the share with external users button. Please help me with the steps I need to follow.
    I am not having office 365 sharepoint installation I am having sharepoint server 2013 installed on windows server 2008 r2 with project server 2013 on it.

    Thanks for you help in advance.

  9. jey November 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    I done as you told me to; however, there was no error. When I opening the CA2 xyz:123, it did not show up and give an error messae saying “Unexpected error”.

    What could I have done to correct this issue, thanks.

  10. Amol December 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    At the time of sp patching on which server we need to run psconfig so that patching will go clenaly.

  11. Paul April 22, 2015 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Is there any implications by having the central admin running on 2 servers at the same time?

  12. Katalin Hopkins April 23, 2015 at 1:18 am - Reply

    Did you find a solution to this? I am having the same problem. So far, no resolution. Please let me know if you solved this.Thanks in advance!

  13. Brandon G November 18, 2016 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    This is pretty late from the questions, but hopefully this helps someone else. I was having the same issue, went into IIS Manager on Server#2, went to the central admin site, and added a binding for “Server2name”. Make sure you change the port to the one you used for central admin. Restarted the site, and everything worked for me after that. Hope it helps!

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