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Join an existing site

A site is a deployment of ArcGIS Server. If you've installed ArcGIS Server on a machine for the purpose of adding it to an existing site, you have the opportunity to specify that site the first time you open ArcGIS Server Manager. You can also join a machine to a site using a command line utility.


If your existing site has been configured to use HTTP only, you must add the new server machine to the site, as described in Add an ArcGIS Server machine to a site.

Considerations before joining a site

The Join Site operation adds a new machine to an existing ArcGIS Server site. This can be done temporarily to migrate to new machines, or more permanently to increase the resources and processing power of your server site. If you are using Join Site to migrate, the new and existing machines do not need to match, but if you intend to keep all machines in the site, it is recommended that you ensure they meet the following criteria:

  • The new machine must be running on the same operating system platform as the other ArcGIS Server machines in the site. It is recommended that you use the same operating system version and hardware resources for all machines in your site. For example, if you have a site comprised of ArcGIS Server machines, each running on Windows Server 2008 R2 with a 3 GHz processor and 8 GB of RAM, the machine you add to the site should also have the same operating system and hardware specifications.
  • The new machine must be at the same version number as the other ArcGIS Server machines in the site.
  • The new machine must have the same license applied to it as the other ArcGIS Server machines in the site.
  • The new machine must be able to read and write to the site's configuration store and server directories.
  • The new machine must be running ArcGIS Server under the same ArcGIS Server account as all the other ArcGIS Server machines in the site. This can be a domain account, or it can be a local account with a name and password that are identical on all machines. See The ArcGIS Server account to learn more about this account.
  • The new machine must be able to communicate with all the other ArcGIS Server machines in the site through the ports listed in Ports used by ArcGIS Server. This may require adjustment of firewall settings.
  • The new machine must be able to read any data referenced by services on the site. A good way to verify this is to check whether the machine has permissions to all the data storage locations registered with the site. See How to register your data with ArcGIS Server to learn more about these registered locations.

When you create or join a machine to a site, logs at the Verbose level are written to <ArcGIS Server installation directory>\usr\logs\<machine name>\server. If the site creation or join fails, you can open the logs with a text editor to get more information about the problem.

Once the site creation or join is complete, the logs are moved to <ArcGIS Server installation drive>\arcgisserver\logs and the log level is set to Warning. If the ArcGIS Server account does not have permission to create or write to this folder, the site creation or joining the site will fail. If you don't want to give the ArcGIS Server account permissions to create folders on your entire drive, you can manually create this folder in advance and grant the ArcGIS Server account permissions to write to it.

Join a site using Server Manager

To join a machine to a site using the ArcGIS Server Manager application, complete the following steps:

  1. Open Server Manager. The URL to open Server Manager in a browser is, or you can use the installed shortcut.

    If you're prompted to enter a user name and password, someone already joined this machine to an existing site.

  2. Click Join An Existing Site.
  3. Type the URL to the site you want to join. The URL usually follows the format
  4. Type the administrator name and password of the site you want to join. This can be the same user name and password that you used when you created the site (the primary site administrator), or it can be another ArcGIS Server user account to whom the server administrator has granted administrative privileges.

    Click Next.

  5. Examine the configuration summary and click Finish when you are ready to join the machine to the site.
  6. If your site has registered Relational Data Store Types, you must restart ArcGIS Server on each newly added machine by restarting the Windows service. After restarting, ArcGIS Server on each added machine will be fully functional.

Your machine is now added to the site.

Join a site from the command line

You can also use the join-site command line utility to join your machine to an ArcGIS Server site. This utility requires that you specify the location of the configuration store of the existing site, rather than its URL. Because of this, the utility is advantageous for certain cases in which using the URL would clog up the network requests queue for the site. Consider using this utility if the machines in your ArcGIS Server site are already overloaded with network requests, or if you want to join a large number of machines to your site at one time.

The same criteria and considerations apply to machines when using the join-site utility as when joining using Server Manager.

The join-site utility is installed in \tools\JoinSite under the ArcGIS Server installation directory. Run the join-site utility from the ArcGIS Server machine you want to add to an existing site, using the Run As account for ArcGIS Server.

The utility includes an optional flag, -m, starting at 10.8, to control when the newly added machine can start processing requests. If you include -m true in the utility command, the machine will be placed under maintenance when it joins the site. When a machine is under maintenance, ArcGIS Web Adaptor does not send requests to the machine. If you don't include -m or include -m false, the machine will be able to process requests as soon as it is added to the server site.

  1. Grant read and write access on the configuration store folder of the existing site to the network account used to run the ArcGIS Server service on the machine or machines you want to join to the site.
  2. Create a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) file named connection.json.
  3. Add the following line to the file, replacing <path to the configuration store> with the configuration store location of the existing ArcGIS Server site:

    {"type": "FILESYSTEM", "connectionString": "<path to the configuration store>"}

    In this example, the path to the configuration store of the existing site is \\\\myshare\\arcgisserver\\config-store:

    {"type": "FILESYSTEM", "connectionString": "\\\\myshare\\arcgisserver\\config-store"}

  4. Save and close the connection.json file.
  5. Place the connection.json file on the machine that will join the site or on a shared directory that you can access from the machine that will join the site.
  6. Open a command prompt and run join-site.
    The syntax is as follows:

    join-site -f <The file path to the configuration store JSON file> -m <specify true to initially place the machine under maintenance>

    In this example, the path to the configuration store JSON file (connection.json) is C:\serverfiles and the machine will initially be placed under maintenance.

    join-site -f "C:\serverfiles\connection.json" -m true

The machine is joined to the ArcGIS Server site.