Skip To Content

Work with read-only mode in ArcGIS Enterprise

In ArcGIS Enterprise deployments, content can be created, modified, and accessed quickly. At times, however, you may need to prevent new content from being added to your deployment or prevent changes from being made to existing content and settings.

Read-only mode, introduced at 10.8, allows administrators to freeze an ArcGIS Enterprise deployment at a specific time, restricting operations that modify site data or configurations.

When a deployment is placed into read-only mode, it governs the portal, federated ArcGIS Server sites, and ArcGIS Data Store.


If you have one or more stand-alone ArcGIS Server sites in your organization, you can use the ArcGIS Server read-only mode setting.

Read-only mode does not prevent access to existing content and does allow some operations to occur. Your users can still view and work with content in many ways. When you move your deployment out of read-only mode, all operations can continue as before.

By setting your ArcGIS Enterprise deployment to read-only, you can reduce the chance of data loss as changes or upgrades are applied to the system.

Uses for read-only mode

Read-only mode can be beneficial when upgrading your ArcGIS Enterprise deployment to later versions.

For organizations that have regulations for system uptime or service-level agreements, placing a deployment in read-only mode eases upgrade complexity. These organizations often need to maintain availability during most or all of an upgrade period. They can achieve this by setting up a duplicate deployment and replicating content to it before upgrading the primary deployment.

For example, they can set their production environment to read-only, replicate content to a standby environment, and upgrade the standby environment to validate the upgrade. Once the upgrade has been validated, they can redirect traffic to their standby deployment. During this process, the original production environment is accessible and content can be consumed, yet no content can be modified. This eliminates the risk of data loss during the upgrade.

Read-only mode can also help if you are updating your machines. You can place your deployment in read-only mode and create a backup before making significant changes to hardware or the configuration of a deployment. This avoids the loss of any new or modified content if you need to roll back to the backup.

Functionality restrictions in read-only mode

When ArcGIS Enterprise is in read-only mode, many tasks and workflows are not available. Any requests to change or modify data or configurations will fail.

The following operations are not allowed in read-only mode:

  • Creating or uploading items
  • Running analysis tools in Map Viewer Classic
  • Publishing hosted feature layers or any other type of service
  • Editing feature services, including hosted services
  • Opening new ArcGIS Notebooks or saving existing notebooks
  • Terminating ArcGIS Notebook Server containers
  • Creating or modifying groups
  • Creating or modifying users
  • Making changes to the settings of your ArcGIS Enterprise components
  • Importing ArcGIS Enterprise backups using the webgisdr utility
  • Importing ArcGIS Server or portal backups

The following operations are allowed in read-only mode:

  • Viewing content in Map Viewer or Map Viewer Classic
  • Managing logs settings
  • Creating backups
  • Previewing open ArcGIS Notebooks
  • Restoring an ArcGIS Data Store using the restoredatastore utility
  • Reindexing the portal

If your 11.3 portal has federated servers that are version 10.7.1 or earlier, edits to feature services on these servers are not blocked when ArcGIS Enterprise is in read-only mode. You must disable editing on these services individually.

These lists are not exhaustive. You may find that other operations are blocked, such as running analysis tools in ArcGIS Notebooks. You may also find that other unlisted operations are allowed. In general, do not expect the ability to change content while ArcGIS Enterprise is in read-only mode, but do expect the ability to view existing content and settings.

Place ArcGIS Enterprise in read-only mode

Complete the following steps to set ArcGIS Enterprise to read-only:

  1. Sign in to the Portal Administrator Directory as a default administrator. The URL is in the format

    Members with custom roles that have administrative privileges can view the read-only setting in the Portal Administrator Directory but cannot update it. Only members of the default administrator role can update the setting.

  2. Click Mode > Update.
  3. Set Read Only to True. You can optionally type a custom message to display if a user attempts to create, modify, or delete content. If a custom message isn’t used, the default is used:

    ArcGIS Enterprise is currently in read-only mode. Contact your administrator for further assistance.

    When you turn on read-only mode, two properties are added to system properties of each federated server in your deployment. The readOnlyModeCopyConfigLocal and readOnlyModeRestartServices properties are added to increase the speed of turning each server site to read-only. They are removed from the system properties when read-only mode is turned off.

To take ArcGIS Enterprise out of read-only mode, return to the Update Mode operation and set Read Only to False.

To inform and remind your users that read-only mode is on, you can use the access notice and information banner features, which are available in the portal starting at 10.8.