Friday, 16 November 2007

Master Site Directory in Sharepoint 2007 Error

I ran into an error when trying to assign a master site directory in MOSS 2007 Central Admin:

This not a valid site directory. Specify a URL to a site that is using the site directory template.

I checked that the URL was valid and that it was pointing to a Directory Site. I even created a new directory site and tried that with no luck.

I worked out that if I set the default public URL to be a simple name like site, instead of, the master site directory page accepts the entry and it all works. However this is no good as we need a proper FQDN as the default public URL (and changing it back after setting the MSD breaks the MSD functionality).

I have a call open with Microsoft through ESCUK about this. This call has been dragging on for a long time and somehow Microsoft have not been able to reproduce the problem.

I'll keep this post updated as and when I hear something back from Microsoft. I would be very interested to hear if anyone else is seeing this problem so I can feed back to Microsoft. Thanks!


Microsoft have finally reproduced this problem and have acknowledged it as a 'possible bug', as such it has been escalated. No news as to a fix yet.


Today I had a call from a developer at Microsoft who has been looking through the code used by the Master Site Functionality and established that it first checks for the existance of the site in the configuration database. This is interesting because apparently if it does not find the exact URL in the config database it will reject it. This means that if you use a different default AAM to the URL you used when creating the web application that hosts your MSD, the lookup will fail. The only way I know of to fix this is to extend your web application and use the URL of your default AAM as the URL for your new IIS site and set this extended web app to use a different zone (i.e. Intranet). The default AAM URL will end up the default AAM for two different zones and will now appear in the configuration database (as it is added by Central Admin when you use it to extend the web app). This is not pretty and I don't advise you go ahead with it in the production environment without taking advice from Microsoft.

Fortunately our default AAM was also the URL that was used to create the original web application used to host the MSD. Therefore the work around above is not appropriate. Back to the drawing board......

Quick thought...... if using NetBios names fixes the problem, what could be happening differently for FQDNs. Perhaps a proxy issue. However I have made sure that our proxy is configured to be disabled for the application pool and service accounts. However each web application's web.config file by default sets the proxy to auto=true. The developer at Microsoft suggested changing this to false for the Central Administration web application. That did the trick! We now have a full functional master site directory. It was a very long time coming for a simple solution, but a good learning experience.

To make this change go to C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\****, where **** is the port number of your Central Admin site. If you are not sure which is the right virtual directory open IIS Admin, right click on the Central Admin site and choose Explore. Right click in the white space to the right and select properties to get the folder and path. Open the web.config and locate the following:

(proxy autoDetect="true")

Change to:

(proxy autoDetect="false")

You will also need to do this for any web applications that you want to create Site Collections from within a Site Directory page (and make use of the Master Site Directory feature). Hhowever if you do this you may want to use something more like below so that web parts like RSS readers can connect to external feeds.

This adds exceptions for * and 198.168.*.*

I hope this saves someone a lot of time!


Slauterhaus said...

Thanks for the posting. We will be trying to use the MSD in our environment, and it's good to know this workaround if we run into the same issue.

Anonymous said...

received the same error message when setting up the master site directory. the solution of changing the detect proxy to false worked like a charm. Thanks for sharing. Maybe I'll be home by 11pm tonight now.

Harsh Trivedi said...

Today at the time of configuring master site, I got the error message:
This not a valid site directory. Specify a URL to a site that is using the site directory template.

Configuration of my laptop is : Windows Vista Home Premium, 2 gb RAM. Somehow I was able to install MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0 on my machine , thanks to bamboo solutions

I have configured every steps but was stuck at two places:
1) From Central Administrator: Operations : Services on server : Office SharePoint Server Search : I am not able to start this service. Under '
Farm Search Service Account' I am not able to validate user name and password. User name and password i am using is of admin account. This is Vista Home Premium, and I have no DNS set up.
2) As i have stated above, at the time of configuring master site, I am not able to do that. The message appear like 'This not a valid site directory. Specify a URL to a site that is using the site directory template.'. I have changed web config and put to (proxy autoDetect="false"). But this thing also didn't work.


Can you please help me out to resolve this thing?

westerdaled said...

I have the same annoying issue when I try to configure the Site Directory Setting setup. My instance of MOSS 2007 is hosted on an a Ubuntu 8.10 server runnning KVM vituralization with Ubuntu DNS providing the aliases for my host headers associated with my various web apps (I really rembering hate port nos!). There is no AD and all user accounts are local

When I click on the test link (http://team.mydomain.local) I sucessfully navigate team site directory however I am still getting the "This is no a valid" error.

To further diagnose the problem
1) Is there a way of showing that the AutoDetect="false" in the admin web.Config has been set and not overriden
2) Can I determine that the URL for my site directory is in the content database of the admin web app.
3) What is this AAM you mention?