Getting “HTTP Error 503. The service is unavailable.”?

Are you getting “HTTP Error 503. The service is unavailable.” on SBS 2011  network when starting Internet Explorer or specifically trying to load the http://companyweb internal website?

The SharePoint service account passwords may be out-of-sync.

An explanation of what could be going on can be found at the link below:

Background Information


In SBS 2011, we use 3 different accounts to run Windows SharePoint Foundation. The accounts we use are spfarm, spsearch, and spwebapp. For security reasons the passwords on these accounts are periodically reset. SharePoint manages the spsearch and spwebapp accounts and the Windows SBS Manager service manages the spfarm account. All of these accounts can be found under MyBusiness > Users > SBS Users.


The password for spfarm is reset every 7 days that the Windows SBS Manager service is running. The passwords or spsearch and spwebapp are reset the first day of each month.


In addition to these passwords being stored in AD, they are also kept in the SharePoint configuration database and the services database. Due to this, the passwords can become out of sync. Passwords may get out of sync or expire due to the following causes:


A SharePoint database is restored that contains an out of date password.
The Windows SBS Manager service is broken/disabled.
The Windows SBS Manager is never allowed to run more than 7 days (server is rebooted ever <7 days).
The accounts passwords expire due to a combination of password expiration policy and date change. I.e. your passwords must be reset every 180 days and you change the date by more than 180 days.
You change your password policy to require passwords be changed more often than every 31 days.
Failed migration.

A Small Business Server can be very complex.  The resolution found at the link above requires one to understand event logs, be comfortable modifying Windows Server services, and be proficient at using Powershell inside the Sharepoint Management shell.  We have the experience and expertise necessary to resolve these types of issues with your servers.

If you are having issues with your http://companyweb please call us today!  We are here and ready to assist in all your IT needs at Pro-Computer Services, Inc.

Disclaimer:  Pro-Computer Services, Inc. will not be responsible for damages or loss of any kind caused by attempts to perform any tasks mentioned or referenced on this blog.  Our blog posts simply serves as a accounting of our experiences while running our business and supporting IT.  It is encouraged that if any specific post relates to a scenario you are facing that you contact us and mention the specific post(s) so that we may help you avoid these possible damages or loss.

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