SharePoint Central Administration on more than one host

This was a really good note and I decided to copy it rather than reference it (sorry Bryant but link to you is still there). I didn’t want to risk that site being shutdown and not having this.

Yes, you can run a second Central Administration (CA) website on a second server. I don’t care what other people are saying, I have done it, and am doing it now. Here are the steps I followed:

Use the psconfig.exe command to install the first server (so you can name the database yourself. I hate the default name the wizard uses (Sharepoint Admin Content guid guid guid guid guid guid guid guid guid guid, etc). It’s too long. If you need the syntax, do a search on psconfig.exe -cmd -create and you should get the help you need. The basic syntax is:

PSCONFIG.EXE -cmd configdb
[-server ]
[-database ]
[-dbuser ]
[-dbpassword ]
[-user ]
[-password ]
[-addomain ]
[-adorgunit ]
[-admincontentdatabase ]


  1. Run the Sharepoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard on THE FIRST SERVER to finish the installation.
  2. Use the psconfig.exe command to connect to the Configuration Database you just created (you don’t specify the AdminContentDatabase, you do that later).
  3. Again, run the Sharepoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard on THE FIRST SERVER to finish the installation, but on the last step, you will notice an Advanced” option. Click the “Advanced” Button, and then choose the option for the server to host the Central Administration Website. Let the wizard finish.
  4. Once you have finished the installation on both servers, you will notice two things:
  5. Note: When you launch CA from either server, it will only connect to the first server. IIS on both servers shows the Sharepoint Central Administration v3 Site.

  6. Now, here is the easy part. Go to Central Administration, Operations Tab, and click on Alternate Access mappings. Click on “Edit Public URLs”, then choose the drop-down list for “Alternate Access Mapping Collection:”. In the list, select “Change Alternate Access Mapping Collection”, and in the resulting window, select Central Administration. Now, the Default should already be set to the first server: port combination. Just add in the “Custom” box the address for your SECOND server: port (by the way, the port will always be the same).
  7. Now return to the second server, and open regedit.HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftShared Tools Web Server Extensions12.0WSS. When you highlight the WSS Key, you will see “CentralAdministraionURL” REG_DWORD with the First Server’s URL. Change this value to your second server’s URL.
  8. I also went back to the First Server to check the regedit location to be sure it was the first server.

That’s it. Now you can get to CA from either Server.


And then, this was a followup note by someone else, just to keep in mind (although Bryant’s experience was different):

I have been running two Central Administration Sites in my farm for over a year now. One per web front end server. That worked out well, up to the point where I wanted to install SP1! Now: If you have more than one Central Admin Site in a farm the update to SP1 will fail! We had to find this out the hard way. We’re now back to one CA site.