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I have a web application that uses forms-based authentication. As part of the process of setting this up (e.g. these instructions), I need to register the FBA membership and role providers in Central Admin by adding entries for them in Central Admin's web.config.

I'm a bit wary of fiddling with Central Admin's web.config for something seemingly unrelated to it. I guess I have two related questions: why does CA web.config need to know about these providers, and is it an absolute requirement that it does (i.e. can I get away without adding the providers to CA web.config, or will things go wrong if I don't.)

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Registering the FBA provider with Central Administration allows you to set the Site Collection Administrator to an FBA user. Additionally you might be needing it if you want to use User Profiles or Audiences with FBA users.

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You don't need to put them in the CA web config, but as Waldek is saying you will not be able to control permisions to the site from CA without the entries being there

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