I'm just learning the basics of Sharepoint and I've set up a test instance of Sharepoint Foundation 2013 in a virtual machine running Windows Server 2012. (I followed http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/15289.sharepoint-2013-creating-a-development-environment.aspx to set up my dev environment)

I set everything up and it appears to be working for the most part. I didn't like the default HTTP authentication that was used and decided that the first thing I'd try to do was set up Forms Based Authentication. Turns out this may have been a bit of a mistake, as it's now been a week and I still have no idea what I'm doing, so I'm finally asking for help.

I wanted the FBA to be compatible with the Active Directory system already in use, so I followed this tutorial: http://davidmsterling.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/setting-up-forms-based-authentication.html.

It all looked good, so I tested it out. I attempted to log in as Administrator, and I got the following error:

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

I tried logging on as YM\Administrator, same deal. I changed sAMAccountName in the configs to accountPrincipalName and tried [email protected]. Nothing. I downloaded a free program called LDAPAdmin and tested that all the LDAP details I'd entered were correct, and they were. I also tried changing the LDAP settings in the configs and got a different error, so it appears that it definitely is connecting to LDAP properly.

I followed this tutorial (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff650307.aspx) to create a standalone ASP.Net application to test LDAP, using the exact same settings as I'd put in earlier in Web.config. It worked fine. Sharepoint still won't work. I tried changing my password, no luck. I made sure the user I was attempting to log in as had the correct permissions in Central Administration. Still no luck.

It seems like everything is working correctly but I just can't log in. I don't know what else to try, so I'm asking for help.



P.S. Sorry about one of the links not being functional, I don't have enough reputation to post more than 2 links yet.

EDIT: Link fixed as I now have sufficient reputation.

1 Answer 1


As you have found, configuring FBA is not trivial. MANY posts I have found just plain don't work. The best I have found is Mirjam's. She has two, I have used the one for SQL FBA and it works every time. Here is the link to her post on AD FBA: http://sharepointchick.com/archive/0001/01/01/configuring-claims-and-forms-based-authentication-for-use-with-an.aspx

There is no way I am going to rehash everything in the post, it is way to detailed. But in an attempt to try to help you troubleshoot the issue here are a few tips:

  • Be certain that you back up all three web.config files before you edit ANY of them. If you kill your web application you can have SharePoint recreate it by turning off the Windows SharePoint Foundation Web Application in Services on Server in Central Admin and wait until it cleans up IIS then you can turn it back on and it will rebuild your content Web Apps. (Or you can just delete your Web Application and start over.)
  • Since you are learning SharePoint, ADD FBA to a working NTLM Web app rather than try to create one from scratch. You will get a login "toggle" page that enables you to select your authentication mechanism. This makes troubleshooting much easier.
  • If AD is not working for you, try SQL, get that working so you can understand the basics before returning to AD.
  • Thanks, I'm not actively working on SharePoint at the the moment but I'll be sure to try this if/when I start again. Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 13:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.