SharePoint Notes

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Host file problems when using dedicated web front-end for crawling

Posted by Christian Dam on January 30, 2008

I ran into a weird problem today.  I couldn’t suddenly no longer access the Central Administration site when sitting on the server hosting the Central Admin!

I started trouble shooting:

  • I checked the local event viewer … no errors or warnings
  • I checked the System Center Operations Manager … no alerts
  • I checked for domain membership … the server was still member of the domain
  • I checked the event log on the domain controller … no errors or warnings
  • I checked DNS … everything OK
  • I checked the local host file …. oh … wait a minute, this can’t be right?! The host file had been modified and contained only one line – not even the localhost entry was there anymore: donkey # Added by Office SharePoint Server Search (1/30/2008 8:28 PM).

The IP address is so what’s going on?!

Fair enough, I’ll just correct the host file, and everything should be back to normal, right? Wrong! The host file was changed right back into the incorrect version. The host file entry suggested it has something to do with search, so I had to disable the search service to get the host file corrections to stick. I could now access Central Administration, but still not very satisfying since I lost my search capabilities in the process.

Having done a bit more research, the host file change seems to be by design when you specify a dedicated web front-end for crawling as I did a couple of days ago! For the fun of it I changed the crawl setting back to Use all web front end computers for crawling in Central Administration (Operations -> Services on Server -> Select Central Admin server -> Office SharePoint Server Search) and the “incorrect” host file entry is automatically deleted.

Ultimately, this means that you cannot access Central Administration locally from the server hosting the site if you use dedicated web front-end for crawling. It may be by design, but it is not very logical to me. You can naturally still access Central Admin from a remote server.


3 Responses to “Host file problems when using dedicated web front-end for crawling”

  1. erugalatha said

    i get the same problem. hosts file just gets overwritten. if this is ‘by design’ then it is a unbelievably bad design – it is a bug if it puts the wrong IP address for a server into the hosts file and causes issues for us all the time as the hosts file is usually the last place we look when a problem occurs.

  2. M said

    I also had the same probelm the only way was to change back to using All web front end computers for crawling

  3. Shan said

    This is not a bug or something. It is normal.. Read the article here:

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