I'm trying to setup an external portal for our SharePoint 2013 site on server 2012 so external suppliers can access content. I've gotten FBA setup with the following guide: http://blogs.visigo.com/chriscoulson/configuring-forms-based-authentication-in-sharepoint-2013-part-1-creating-the-membership-database/

I've got my ASPNET database setup, and have one user added to it. Problem is no matter what I do, logging in fails. The webpage simply returns:

"The server could not sign you in. Make sure your user name and password are correct, and then try again."

However, the error log on the sharepoint server returns this:

The server was unable to process the request due to an internal error. For more information about the error, either turn on IncludeExceptionDetailInFaults (either from ServiceBehaviorAttribute or from the configuration behavior) on the server in order to send the exception information back to the client, or turn on tracing as per the Microsoft .NET Framework SDK documentation and inspect the server trace logs

I can access the .net users tab just fine from IIS8 so long as I change my FBA provider to the default. From there I can add/delete users as well as roles, and the changes appear in my SQL database.

Other than this, my windows auth works fine on all my other web apps, and I get the prompt to select which type of authentication I would like to use.

Anyone know how I can narrow down what the possible cause is? The cryptic error message doesn't seem to be very helpful. All my web.configs match, as well as my STS config file.

  • 1
    it could be better if u can share membership part from all web app and STS. I am sure u must have done some mistake in webconfig file. Also check that Machinekey is same in al places.
    – Pushpendra
    Sep 26, 2013 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


You were correct @pushpendra that I had some web.config errors with my STS. Using this guide: http://underthehood.ironworks.com/2011/05/sharepoint-2010-an-exception-occurred-when-trying-to-issue-security-token-the-server-was-unable-to-p-1.html

I managed to get detailed error reporting turned on. Once it was working, a quick glance at the event log on my SP server told me exactly what the problem was. Somehow I had ended up with multiple duplicate FBA membership and role provider statements. I removed them one at a time until no more events were appearing, and at that point FBA started working properly.

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