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I have a host header web application pointing to a Load Balanced IP. Is there any way that I can hit a specific server in the farm? I'm trying to diagnose intermittent 503s and cannot determine which app pool is misbehaving.

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We do something a little bit different. We actually create DNS entries that point directly to the server IP addresses themselves. If the load balanced URL is, we'll create that points directly to the first server and then that points to the second and so forth. Naturally, these also need to be defined in Alternate Access Mappings as well.

This makes it so that anyone anywhere can go directly to a particular server if needed which comes in handy if your company help desk also troubleshoots SharePoint issues. It also means that you don't need to fight with the HOSTS file whenever you need to troubleshoot a specific server issue.

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I have found the best method of doing this is to modify your machine's HOSTS file for your load balanced URL to point to the specific WFE IP. This will direct all of your traffic to that one IP skipping the NLB.

HOSTS is located in c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc.

Add an entry like

Where is one web front end and is your load balanced URL.


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I thought that would point an IP at the specified host. Does it work the other way around as well? – James Grizzle Nov 12 '12 at 17:45
It only works to point a host name to an IP. it does NOT point an IP to a host necessarily. You can't override IPs in the HOSTS file, just hosts. – David Lozzi Nov 13 '12 at 15:30

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