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When applying a service pack or CU to SharePoint, are clients still able to connect to the web application and use sites within my collection while i'm applying the patches or running PSconfig afterwords?

Is there a suggested way that would keep them out until things were applied, I don't have another farm to point them to or another server/database to handle requests.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

No IIS will be down while you're running PSConfig.

On how to keep the users out see What is the best practice for redirecting users when sites are being upgraded?

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Sounds good, I've posed a similar question before in more of a general speak to the tone of Message page when sharepoint is down?… My only concern with using the app_offline.htm method was if it would impact my service pack and CU installation along with a follow up PSCONFIG...any thoughts on if this would impact that or are those updates and configurations unaffected by this method. – Jacob A Aug 21 '12 at 17:55
None of the updating is using web requests so app_offline.htm isn't going to affect these, but as PSConfig is stopping IIS it'll not be effective during the entire upgrade, so the proxy/dns redirect will work best. – Per Jakobsen Aug 21 '12 at 18:10
Perfect, as always thank you Per Jakobsen! – Jacob A Aug 21 '12 at 18:14

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