I'm looking for an elegant solution for redirecting users to an application maintenance page. There are weekly periods for an hour whereby content is being promoted and changed on our main SharePoint application. During this period I would prefer that our 4000+ users are presented with a message that the application will be back shortly rather than continuing to use parts of the system which may return errors.

During these periods we use a bespoke C# application to communicate with the SharePoint API. If I were to develop the maintenance tool to place an app_offline.htm page in each front end server I believe that this would give the correct result. However, is there any problems with this approach when it comes to using URLs in SPSite / SPWeb objects etc? Will they encounter any problems initialising whilst an app_offline.htm file is present?

Are there any other solutions that others use such as DNS switching?

1 Answer 1


There is app_offline and here is a good extension of this for sharepoint:


"SharePoint Offline displays a friendly error messasge that enables farm administrators to take a web application offline and display a custom message"

I think this is a nice elegant way, and it also supports a schedule, so you don't have to rush setting the downtime. You could also automate this centrally yourselves fairly easily

  • this looks really good. Do you know though, does having an app_offline.htm file present in the front end server web root cause any issues when referring to SPSite / SPWeb etc in code by url? Commented May 7, 2013 at 11:04
  • It doesn't effect null context calls. Powershell, custom apps etc.
    – Hugh Wood
    Commented May 7, 2013 at 14:22

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