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Thorvald Bøe
The topic of Alternate Access Mappings in SharePoint can be quite confusing, at least it was (and still is..) to me. I don't claim to fully understand it, nor will I try to explain it. But if you want a simple, no-bullshit recipe on how to add a new URL to SharePoint 2013, you have come to the right place.

The scenario
Let's say your company is already running the intranet on a SharePoint 2013 server, with base address http://intranett. You are working on another web site, e.g a hseq app, and you want it to be accessible on this url: http://hseq

Creating the web app
In order to achieve this you must create your site on a separate web application. In this example I have created the web application named 'hseq' on the default url of 'http://mycompany-sp1:5555'
Since the default port (80) was already taken by the intranet app, I had to choose another port. I suppose I could also have created the web app on port 80 with a host header. I don't know if one option is prefereable to the other, but I had to choose one, so I chose to create it on another port.

Add the internal URL
I now need to change AAM settings to take the first step towards letting my users access the hseq app from http://hseq rather than http://mycompany-sp1:5555

I go to alternate access mappings in central admin (under application management) and add a new internal url

(Yes, the screen shot is in norwegian, sorry about that)

What is the difference between internal and public urls?
The best explanation I have seen so far is that public urls are what the user calls, while internal url's are what the server replies. To examplify this analogy, let's say my name is Frodo Baggins. If someone calls "Frodo", I will respond with "Yes, I am Frodo". If someone calls "Frodo Baggins" I will respond with "Yes, I am Frodo Baggins". These are my internal url's. I could also have a third internal url, that is just "Baggins". Now, let's say that someone shouted: "Who is the ring-bearer?". I would not respond, because I only know myself as either Frodo, Baggins or Frodo Baggins.

Now let's define a public url called "Ring-Bearer", that maps to the internal url "Frodo Baggins". Now, if someone says "Ring-Bearer", I will respond, "Yes, I am Frodo Baggins".

You could also define "Ring-Bearer" as an internal url, mapped to the same public url. In that case "Ring-Bearer!" would be replied with "Yes, I am the ring-bearer". 

The latter case is what we are trying to achive. In other words, when the user says "Give me http://hseq" we will reply with "Yes, I am http://hseq".

Editing the public url
In order to achieve this, we must make a connection between the internal http://hseq and the public one. To do this, click "Edit public url's" in central admin.
Add http://hseq to the intranet zone and click ok.

Edit IIS bindings
If you try to access http://hseq at this time, you will get 'The page cannot be displayed' or similar. This is because you need to edit IIS bindings in order to make the web server understand where you are going. The AAM settings is just for SharePoint to understand the mapping.

Open IIS manager, locate the hseq site and click 'bindings' and add a new binding to make it look like this:

You might need to do an IISReset after this.

Now you have made both SharePoint and the web server aware of the http://hseq url. Still, the browser would not know where to go if you entered the url. In order for this to happen, there is a final step to go through.

Updating DNS
The final step is to update the DNS. This will translate the http://hseq url to an ip address.
This requires access to the dns server, and in most cases assistance from IT or network administrator. I will not show this here, but you can still simulate the results by updating the local hosts file either on the server or on the computer you want to test from.

The hosts file is located here:

Add an entry like this:
(In this example the host file on the SharePoint server is used)

You should now be able to open a browser on the server and type in 'http://hseq' and see the result:

The road ahead
This is just a taste of what you can do with alternate access mappings.

In a real-world production scenario, there are at least two more things that you might want to do:
-add support for https
-make the site available from the internet

I won't cover this here, but it might appear in a separate topic soon.
Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 10:03 AM sharepoint , aam , alternate access mapping | Back to top

Comments on this post: How to add a new url to a SharePoint web site

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