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Connect to ArcGIS Server from ArcGIS Desktop

When working in ArcGIS Desktop, you can connect directly to an ArcGIS Server site. This allows you to work with content and, if you have the appropriate credentials, to publish services and perform various administrative tasks. If the server is federated with an ArcGIS Enterprise portal, you provide credentials to the portal's identity store; if the server is not federated, you provide credentials for the server's security store.

Connection types

You can connect to a server in ArcMap as an administrator, a publisher, or a user to accomplish tasks and work with server content.

The type of connection you can make from ArcGIS Pro to a server depend on whether the server is federated with an ArcGIS Enterprise portal. You can only connect to a federated server from ArcGIS Pro as a user. However, you can connect to a stand-alone server from ArcGIS Pro as a user, as a publisher, or an administrator.

Learn more about connecting to GIS servers from ArcGIS Pro

Administrator connections

When you connect to an ArcGIS Server site as an administrator, you can edit server properties such as the configuration store location, and the list of machines participating in the site, as well as manage the site's data stores. You can also publish, add, delete, start, and stop services.

When you connect, you'll be prompted for a user name and password that has administrative privileges to the ArcGIS Server site. This can be either the primary site administrator account that you defined when you created the ArcGIS Server site (in other words, when you first logged in to ArcGIS Server Manager) or another account that has been added to your security store and granted administrative privileges.

Publisher connections

When you connect to an ArcGIS Server site as a publisher, you can publish GIS resources, such as map documents, databases, and service definitions, to your server. You can also configure and publish draft services that reside locally on disk or in the Drafts folder of your connection to the server. Additionally, you can add, delete, start, and stop services. You cannot edit site properties.

When you connect, you'll need to enter a user name and password for a user that has been granted at least publishing privileges by an administrator.

User connections

When you connect to an ArcGIS Server site as a user, you can view and use the services published to the site. However, you cannot edit server or service properties; publish services; or add, delete, start, stop, or pause services.

Connect from ArcMap

You can connect to an ArcGIS Server site from ArcMap as a user, a publisher, or an administrator.

  1. Start ArcMap or ArcCatalog.
  2. If the ArcGIS Server site is federated with an ArcGIS Enterprise portal that uses SAML authentication, you must first sign in to the portal before connecting to the server site. Open the ArcGIS Administrator utility and connect to the portal. Then, in ArcMap, sign in to the portal. Once signed in, you can proceed with the following steps to connect to the federated server.
  3. In the Catalog tree, expand the GIS Servers node.
  4. Double-click Add ArcGIS Server.
  5. Choose the type of connection you want to make to the server, and click Next. Ensure that you have the appropriate credentials for the connection.
    • To make a user connection, choose Use GIS services.
    • To make a publisher connection, choose Publish GIS services.
    • To make an administrative connection, choose Administer GIS server.
  6. For Server URL, type the URL of the ArcGIS Server site you want to connect to, for example,

    If you need help constructing this URL, see Components of ArcGIS URLs.

  7. Choose ArcGIS Server from the Server Type drop-down list.
  8. Uncheck Use ArcGIS Desktop's staging folder and browse to a new location to change the default staging location for service publishing if you're making an administrator or publisher connection.
  9. Provide your User Name and Password credentials for the ArcGIS Server site. If the ArcGIS Server site you're connecting to is federated with a portal, provide portal credentials. Optionally, you can save your user name and password information so that you don't have to type it each time you connect.
  10. Click Finish.

    Your connection appears in the GIS Servers node in the catalog tree.

  11. Optionally, rename your connection. Right-click the connection in the catalog tree, choose Rename, and type a new name.