I am new to SharePoint and want to understand few concepts of it:

  • What is Service Account
  • and What is managed account

and what is the difference between them

Thanks in advance

3 Answers 3

  • Service accounts are accounts in Active Directory or you local system that are used by a Service (example: running the SQL Server Agent, Running the Search Crawler, ...).

  • Managed accounts are Service Accounts in Active Directory or your local system that are managed by SharePoint (example: automatic password management).

The difference between them is that the Managed Accounts are managed by SharePoint, while a regular Service account is not managed by SharePoint.

  • Can you provide any example?
    – Anand
    Nov 9, 2017 at 9:29

I would define a service account as the account chosen to run the service, and managed account as an account managed by SharePoint. If you register an active directory account as a managed account in SharePoint, you can reuse the account for multiple services without having to re-enter the credentials, and SharePoint can even change the passwords for you, to follow your organization's security policies. You should never let SharePoint manage passwords of accounts used outside your farm.


A Managed Account is an Active Directory user account whose credentials are managed by and contained within SharePoint. In addition to storing the credentials of the object, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010/2013 can also leverage Active Directory Domain Policies to automatically reset passwords while meeting the requirements established by policy.What you need to remember from that definition is: Managed Accounts are managed by SharePoint (2010/2013) and provide automatic password updates.

Whereas a service account is designed to provide crucial applications such as Exchange Server and IIS with the isolation of their own domain accounts, while eliminating the need for an administrator to manually administer the service principal name (SPN) and credentials for these accounts. Passwords are automatically created for the MSA when the account is created, and refreshed every 30 days. You can change a password manually. The default behavior is that the password for the managed service account is automatically updated.What you need to remember from that definition is: Managed Service Accounts are managed by Active Directory and provide automatic password updates.

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