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Server directories

A server directory represents a physical directory on the network that is specially designated for an ArcGIS Server site to store and write certain kinds of information. There are four types of server directories: cache, jobs, output, and system.

  • Cache directories store caches of prerendered tiles that map services can use for faster display. You can configure the cache on the Caching tab of the Service Editor in ArcGIS Desktop. Once the service is published, you'll use the system tools included with ArcGIS Server to build the cache. Cached services often require large amounts of storage on disk, so ensure your cache directories are adequately proportioned to handle the tiles created during the caching process.

  • Jobs directories store files needed by geoprocessing services. Often, geoprocessing services require a space to write temporary files and store information about ongoing jobs and job results. These items are stored in the jobs directory.

  • Output directories are for temporary files needed by the server. Output directories are required for geoprocessing services; recommended for geodata services; and optional for map and image services. When you publish a service or edit its properties in Manager, you can choose which server output directory it will use.

  • The system directory is used to manage information necessary for maintaining services, ArcGIS Servers, and database connections, as well as storing files uploaded to the ArcGIS Server site. Do not manually modify or delete files in this directory. There can only be one instance of this directory within the ArcGIS Server site.

Permissions and visibility of server directories

When you create an ArcGIS Server site in Manager, the server directories are created on your ArcGIS Server machine and the account running ArcGIS Server is granted read and write access to these directories. By default, the server directories are installed at <ArcGIS Server installation directory>/arcgis/server/usr/directories. You can manage your server directories in Manager by browsing to Site > GIS Server > Directories.

When configuring a multiple-machine site

If you are configuring a multiple-machine site, you must configure the server directories to use a network share before you add ArcGIS Server machines to your site. See Configure a multiple-machine deployment for more information about setting share and file permissions on your server directories.

When expanding from a one-machine site to a multiple-machine site

If you are expanding your site from one ArcGIS Server machine to multiple machines, you'll need to use your operating system tools to share the folders containing your directories and ensure that the ArcGIS Server account has permissions to read and write to these shared folders. For full instructions, see About multiple-machine ArcGIS Server sites.

Server directory cleaning

ArcGIS Server periodically deletes (or cleans) old unneeded files from the jobs, output, and system directories to prevent them from taking more disk space than necessary. The cache directories are not cleaned because their contents are expected to be always available.

How the server cleans directories

When ArcGIS Server attempts to clean a file in a server directory, it checks to see if the time elapsed since the file was last modified is greater than the specified maximum file age. If the file meets this criteria, it is removed and the server moves on to the next file in the directory. If the file does not meet this criteria, it is retained in the directory.

By default, the server jobs, output, and system directories are specified to be cleaned using the following criteria:

DirectoryCleanup modeMaximum file age


Time since last modified

360 minutes (6 hours)


Time since last modified

10 minutes


Time since last modified

1,440 minutes (24 hours)

For example, if a file in the output directory has not been modified within 10 minutes of being created, the cleanup mechanism will delete the file since it has surpassed the maximum allowed file age. You can adjust the cleanup mode and maximum file age to match the needs of your site.

In addition to the cleanup mode and maximum file age, the jobs, output, and system directories have their own set of cleaning rules. For example:

  • When a jobs directory is cleaned, ArcGIS Server only deletes the job if it has completed, been canceled, or failed.
  • When an output directory is cleaned, ArcGIS Server only deletes files and folders if the file or folder name begins with _ags.
  • When the system directory is cleaned, ArcGIS Server only deletes uploaded items if they have been completely uploaded to the server.

Adjusting or disabling directory cleaning

You can adjust or disable server directory cleaning for the jobs, output, and system directories using ArcGIS Server Manager or ArcGIS Desktop. For full instructions, see the following:

Accessing server directories via URL

ArcGIS Server allows you to access items from your server directories using virtual paths, or URLs.

The URL of the directory takes the form<directory name>.

For example, if you have an output image at the location opt/arcgis/server/usr/directories/arcgisoutput/<YourServiceName>/_ags_map00c6dac961024efeb14067f990a38d5f.png, it is available through the following URL:<YourServiceName>/_ags_map00c6dac961024efeb14067f990a38d5f.png

You can click the Directories tab in Manager for more information about the URLs of each of your server directories.


Using ArcGIS Web Adaptor, you can adjust the URL above to remove the need for port 6443 or arcgis.

Set security for directory URL access

Using the ArcGIS Server Administrator Directory, you can set security for content that's accessed in your server directories through a URL (such as arcgisoutput and arcgisjobs):

  • To require authentication across your ArcGIS Server site when accessing the server directory URLs of secured services, open the Update Security Configuration operation and set the virtualDirsSecurityEnabled parameter to true.
  • To require authentication when accessing server directory URL endpoints for a particular secured service, starting at 10.8.1, you can edit the service and add the virtualDirsSecurityEnabled parameter and set it to true. This will not affect the security settings for other services' directory content.