I am getting ready to build a three-tier SP 2013 server farm and have a couple questions about the domain accounts needed. I was planning the following:

  • sp_install
  • sp_farm (farm acct)
  • sp_webapp (for Web servers)
  • sp_serviceapps (services acct)
  • sp_crawl (search crawl)
  • sp_userprofile (UPS)
  • sp_workflow (workflow manager)
  • sp_report (reporting services)

I mainly have three questions:

1.We are going to have identical QA (quality assurance) and a production environments/farms. Should we have two separate groups of accounts, one for each environment? The only thing I am concerned about are those that someone will actually use to log into a server for any reason, which increases the chance of someone locking them out.

2.Do we need an account for just installing? If so, is this account also used down the road for installation maintenance on the server? We already have separate accounts for server admins. Example, I have my normal login I use every day (jdoe), but I also have a server admin login (sajdoe) with admin rights on the server. I was thinking I could just use my sajdoe account to install.

3.Which of these accounts, if any, do SP admins actually use to log in to a server for administration of SP, such as deploying and enabling features, running powershell, etc.?

I just think we have some bad practices in our current instance of SP 2007 and would like to clean them up in our new environment.

Any advice is appreciated.

2 Answers 2


1.) i would recommend to separate set for each farm, your fear is correct and that happens many times. so don't risk your Production.

2.) Best Practice is always recommend to use a separate account which perform Installation, configuration, Routine Maintenance, Pathes/CU and day to day operation i.e powershell. From your list sp_install is the account which you should use. One thing make sure, you should give this account DBO rights on all the Databases( config, Content, Services).

3.) sp_install is the account which you should use.

  • Thanks! Do you think I could eliminate the sp_workflow and sp_report and just use sp_serviceapps for them? Also, should there be a separate crawl and search account of can I use one for both? I have a feeling I'll get some pushback from our AD admins with this many accounts and having so many makes it harder to manage them all. Feb 19, 2014 at 21:13
  • this strategy is called separation of duties, we have almost 20 accounts in one farm... i would not recommend this but its upto you...also you should need super user and super reader account for object cache as "boreal" mentioned in his reply.
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Feb 19, 2014 at 23:20
  • you unmarked my post as answer, any reason?
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Feb 20, 2014 at 3:37
  • It shows as marked when I look at it. Could it be because I marked the other one as the answer too? Feb 20, 2014 at 13:51
  • i dont know who its worked...but its ok...-:)
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Feb 20, 2014 at 15:46

In addition, you should consider using sp_superuser and sp_superreader accounts for caching.

As far as "eliminating sp_workflow and sp_report and just use sp_serviceapps", I would suggest that you do not take that approach. Separating service accounts by role will help your farm function well and it will enable you to troubleshoot problems more effectively as they come up.

Take some time to dig in deeper with this post from Todd Klindt.


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