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I clearly have incomplete information on this situation, but all I know is that we had a web application in SharePoint Server 2007 that mysteriously disappeared today. It was our main app, running on port 80, and it no longer showed up in the Central Admin list of web apps. Attempts to hit the sites resulted in 404 errors. The IIS web site was still there on the SharePoint server, and the content database was still there, apparently fully intact. The devs that usually deploy to the server say that they were doing nothing at the time that this occurred.

So, how could the Web Application go AWOL like that? And what's the appropriate way to get it back? We seem to have gotten it back by creating a new SharePoint web app on that port and pointing it to the existing content database.

I looked at the IIS logs for the CA site for the last three days and see no activity that I'd consider suspicious. There are no hits other than a few redeployed solutions, and there is nothing indicating that the "/_admin/DeleteWebApplication.aspx" page was ever hit during this time. The timer jobs status page was viewed a few times here, too.

Other than the obvious "DeleteWebApplication.aspx" page, what might be indicative of the web app's being removed?

The server's application event log shows about 20 errors just like this one, starting at about the time the app failed:

Event Type: Error Event

Source: Windows SharePoint Services 3

Event Category: Topology Event

ID: 8214 Date: 5/25/2011

Time: 11:41:53 AM

User: N/A

Computer: HTS-APP1

Description: The description for Event ID ( 8214 ) in Source ( Windows SharePoint Services 3 ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: A request was made for a URL, http://myserver.mycompany.com, which has not been configured in Alternate Access Mappings. Some links may point to the Alternate Access URL for the default zone, http://myserver.mycompany.com. Review the Alternate Access mappings for this Web application at http://myserver:65200/_admin/AlternateUrlCollections.aspx and consider adding http://myserver.mycompany.com as a Public Alternate Access URL if it will be used frequently. Help on this error: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=114854.

The web app was originally set up to use the http://myserver.mycompany.com mapping instead of the myserver shortname. No other SharePoint-related events exist here.

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It's not easy, a "vanishing" app hasn't happened anytime I'm aware of. Start hitting logs, build an audit trail. I suspect it wasn't what, but whom on accident or deliberately... –  tekiegreg May 25 '11 at 18:20
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There is an option within Central Administration to remove a SharePoint Web application without deleting the IIS site or content database.

I suggest starting with your CA IIS site logs around the time of the incident, it might be quite enlightening...

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I was just considering that. Thanks. –  Chris Farmer May 25 '11 at 18:21
    
Well, there are no occurrences of the "DeleteWebApplication.aspx" page in the logs from the last three days, and the app was fine this morning. –  Chris Farmer May 25 '11 at 18:36
    
Anyone experimenting with Powershell or stsadm? –  PirateEric May 25 '11 at 18:48
    
There was indeed some stsadm to deploy timer processes. –  Chris Farmer May 25 '11 at 18:53
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You could check the Windows event logs and of course the SharePoint logs to try to track down what happended.

I suspect you're not getting the full story here. I think what Ben suggested is the most likely explanation. I can't think of a likely alternative, but you probably have to be careful what you say.

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Thanks. I checked the event logs and edited my question. I'm not sure how this error might relate. –  Chris Farmer May 25 '11 at 19:45
    
Has someone tried to fiddle with the access mappings? That might explain the vanishing site, but not its absence from the list of web apps. Could someone have touched the configuration database perhaps? –  SPDoctor May 26 '11 at 14:26
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Are you sure the entire site is gone? For example have you tried calling settings.aspx for the site, or call a subsite, list or other content?

I have seen sites become cripled before due to a module feature that provisions a welcome page being retracted (in fact i have a dev box where CA cant be reached through its welcome page because Of this, all other pages works fine...)

Just a thought.

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Hmm.. Well, I can't say that I tried to access all sites, because there were hundreds of small subsites in the hierarchy, but quite a few people complained that they couldn't get to their little parts of the SharePoint world. I am sure we explicitly checked pages on about 10 different sites. –  Chris Farmer May 25 '11 at 20:01
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Considering that developers may or may not have been involved (lets assume they were!) its quite possible to delete a Web Application through the API using code/powershell script that's running under the farm account.

This would not show up in the IIS logs. I think as has already been suggested check the ULS logs.

Your other option if your comfortable with this is to crack open SQL Management Studio and run the below query on the Config database for the farm:

    select * from Objects where ClassId = '113FB569-7520-4651-8FC4-E9F4F5887618'

This will show a list of all the Web Apps in the farm. The name column should display the name of the Web App, if the web app isn't listed here then i'd say its been deleted somehow. If it is listed then I don't what could have caused that. If your're really game you can crack open the xml in Properties column and see if something dodgy stands out in there, but don't try modifying anything in here.

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This would have been a great thing to try, but I think history has already been overwritten here after we recreated that web app. Thanks for the idea. –  Chris Farmer May 26 '11 at 14:12
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