I apologize if this is too close to some questions that have been asked but I cannot find any definitive answers on this, specifically for a farm similar to the setup I am working with. I am currently exploring some workflow options and as I understand it, Workflow Manager 2013 is needed on an on-prem SharePoint 2016 farm in order to create SP2013 workflows. Our farm is a small one, with one WFE, one app server and one DB server. The app and WFE are configured as "traditional" servers (not using MinRole) and thus the app server has the SharePoint Foundation Web Application Service and the Workflow Timer Service disabled. The app server hosts the CA page.

From reading, I have found mixed opinions on whether Workflow Manager should be installed on the app server or WFE. I do understand it can be installed on a separate server if needed; however, ours will not be used heavily in the foreseeable future so I do not think this is necessary at this time (from what I understand we can move it later if needed). But for the time being, if it doesn't warrant its own server, which is the better route to go in my case?

I would think the app server would make sense, since its job is to do job processing, etc., as opposed to the WFE which is for serving user requests. But then some people say to put it on the WFE because the WFE will be serving the user requests. So I'm a bit confused here.

Does anyone have any advice on this? Is there an official best practice for this scenario recommended by MS?


1 Answer 1


Workflow Manager, as a batch service that doesn't impact end user responsiveness, should reside on an App server. This would be best practice and follows the Streamlined topology guide principles.

  • Thank you for the quick response! That makes sense. So my next question is, if putting it on the app server - will there be any issue with the Workflow Timer Service being disabled? The reason its disabled is because we disabled the SP Foundation Web App Service since we did not want all web apps being provisioned on the app server. As I understand it, the rule here is to either have both of those services on, or both off, on a given server, but not one enabled without the other due to issues that can arise in that case. What would be the recommendation here?
    – dwillis77
    May 15, 2019 at 23:03
  • Workflow timer is solely dedicated to SharePoint 2010 workflows and there is no reason it shouldn't be enabled on the App server (and should be disabled on the WFE). You can disable it, though, without any impact to SharePoint 2013 workflows.
    – user6024
    May 15, 2019 at 23:09
  • Interesting, ok. So, there would be no harm in enabling the Workflow Timer Service on the app server (without the SPF Web App Service running) in order to allow it to support both 2010 and 2013 workflows? I believe this is actually the reference I had in my notes for the recommendation I mentioned previously, but that is for a specific scenario and from reading that thread it looks like its since been fixed and is no longer an issue anyway.
    – dwillis77
    May 15, 2019 at 23:23
  • Here is the other reference I had for why to disable them both but it looks like that has a better workaround as well (and is also for SP2010). So - it looks like the best route would be to put the Workflow Manager on the app server, enable the Workflow Timer Service on that box and disable Workflow Timer on the WFE?
    – dwillis77
    May 15, 2019 at 23:50
  • Yep, that would be the route I would take.
    – user6024
    May 16, 2019 at 1:04

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