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Frequently asked upgrading questions

Upgrade with ArcGIS Enterprise Builder

If your ArcGIS Enterprise deployment was installed using ArcGIS Enterprise Builder 10.5.1 or later, you can upgrade your base deployment using the builder.

Upgrade ArcGIS Server from 10.3 and later

The ArcGIS Server 10.8.1 setup package is designed to detect and upgrade an existing installation of ArcGIS Server on the target system. For instructions, see Upgrade ArcGIS Server.

Upgrade ArcGIS Server from 10.2.2 or earlier

If you are upgrading ArcGIS Server to 10.8.1 from a version earlier than 10.3, a direct upgrade is not supported. You will receive an error in the ArcGIS Server 10.8.1 installer.

However, sites at versions 10.1, 10.2, 10.2.1, and 10.2.2 can keep their existing configuration store and server directories, which avoids needing to republish all content. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Install an interim release, such as 10.5, to upgrade your site from 10.1 or 10.2.x.
  2. Install ArcGIS Server 10.8.1 to upgrade your site from the interim release.

Sites at version 10.0 and earlier cannot keep any existing content or directories. You must uninstall the software and install ArcGIS Server 10.8.1 as a new site.

Common software upgrade questions

This section addresses common questions about the upgrade behavior of ArcGIS Server10.8.1. Before upgrading, carefully review the following information:

Can I upgrade directly to ArcGIS Server 10.8.1?

Yes; however, the minimum version requirement to do so is 10.3 and later. For example, if you have version 10.5.1 installed, running the 10.8.1 setup will automatically upgrade it to 10.8.1. There is no need to obtain and install each released version to upgrade to 10.8.1.

Do I need to reauthorize when upgrading to 10.8.1?

If you are upgrading to 10.8.1, you need to reauthorize your software with a new authorization file for 10.8.1. You can access your new authorization files in My Esri.

Do I need to uninstall an earlier version of ArcGIS Server before installing ArcGIS Server 10.8.1?

No. If you have an earlier version of ArcGIS Server installed (10.3 or later), the setup will automatically upgrade it to ArcGIS Server 10.8.1 without additional configuration. Additionally, you can install ArcGIS Server 10.8.1 on its own without having an earlier version of the software installed on your machine.

Do the ArcGIS Web Adaptor and ArcGIS Server product versions need to be in sync?

Yes. You cannot configure an earlier version of ArcGIS Web Adaptor to work with an ArcGIS Server 10.8.1 site. The Web Adaptor version must always match the version of the ArcGIS Server site. You'll need to install ArcGIS 10.8.1 Web Adaptor at the same time you upgrade your ArcGIS Server machines.

For full instructions, see the applicable Web Adaptor as follows:

What is the order for upgrading my ArcGIS Enterprise deployment to 10.8.1?

Whether you are performing a direct upgrade or uninstalling the previous version and installing the newer software, the recommended order to upgrade your 10.8.1 deployment is the following:

  1. Portal for ArcGIS
  2. ArcGIS Web Adaptor (for Portal for ArcGIS)
  3. ArcGIS Server
  4. ArcGIS Web Adaptor (for ArcGIS Server)
  5. ArcGIS Data Store (If you have configured one or more highly available data stores, upgrade the primary machines first, followed by any stand-by machines.)

Do I need to back up anything before installing ArcGIS Server 10.8.1?

All of your services, site information, and security settings are preserved when upgrading to ArcGIS Server. However, it's recommended that you back up your data before installing the software.


If the server you're upgrading is connected to an Active Directory deployment that includes multiple domain controllers, but not all domain controllers are configured as global catalog servers, you'll need to manually specify the domain controller used by ArcGIS Server after performing the installation. For full instructions, see Configure the domain controller used by ArcGIS Server.

If I've federated my server with a portal, do I need to upgrade Portal for ArcGIS when I upgrade the server?

For your portal deployment to function correctly, your hosting server and Portal for ArcGIS versions need to be the same. However, as of 10.5.1, you can federate a server from an earlier version with a portal of a later version as long as it is not set as a hosting server, a GeoAnalytics Server, a raster analysis server, or an image hosting server. If the ArcGIS Server site you've federated with Portal for ArcGIS includes multiple machines, upgrade your ArcGIS Server machines sequentially. If you have ArcGIS Web Adaptor (single or multiple) configured with your ArcGIS Server site, you also need to update the web adaptors to the same version as ArcGIS Server.

If I've federated my server with a portal, should I unfederate before upgrading?

No. It's recommended that you do not unfederate when you upgrade your portal deployment. Doing so will adversely impact your portal deployment. For example, when you unfederate, all hosted service items remain in the portal, but they are disconnected from their services in ArcGIS Server. This means that members will not be able to access, share, or use these services in the portal. Additionally, any existing ArcGIS Server services that were imported during the federation process are removed from the portal and are no longer available.

Do I need to stop my GIS services and ArcGIS Server before installing ArcGIS Server 10.8.1?

If you have not already stopped ArcGIS Server, the setup will do it for you at the appropriate point in the installation.

In a multiple-machine site, can some of my ArcGIS Server machines run 10.8.1 and others run an earlier version?

No. For your site to function correctly, all ArcGIS Server machines must be at the same update version. You can upgrade your ArcGIS Server machines at the same time or sequentially. If you have ArcGIS Web Adaptor configured with your ArcGIS Server site, you also need to update the web adaptor to the same update version.

When upgrading, what password do I designate for the ArcGIS Server account?

When you begin the 10.8.1 set up, a panel appears requesting the user name and password of the ArcGIS Server account. This is the account you defined when installing the software. If the account has changed since you installed the earlier version, for example, by using the configure ArcGIS Server account utility, you'll need to enter the user name and password you designated when modifying the account.

I can't log in to Server Manager after installing ArcGIS Server 10.8.1. What do I do?

If you are experiencing issues logging in to Server Manager after installing the latest software update, you may need to clear your browser's cache to log in. This is typically due to residual information from the previous version of Server Manager being cached in the browser. Before clearing your browser's cache, make sure you are attempting to log in with an account that has administrative privileges to your site.

I don't see new features in Server Manager after upgrading to ArcGIS Server 10.8.1. What's going on?

If you notice that new features in Server Manager are not displaying in your browser after upgrading to 10.8.1, clear your browser's cache. Once you clear the cache, you'll see new features in Server Manager.

What else do I need to consider before upgrading ArcGIS Server?