Building SharePoint 2016 development environment – Part 12 – Configuring Hosting Apps and HNSC


A few years ago I wrote “Build your SharePoint 2013 development machine on Windows Server 2012” series, I mainly work in the cloud now, but as the blogs was so popular, I thought I would create a new series for the newer version of SharePoint.

You can access other parts of this post below.

Before I create the App Management Service, I’m going to create a separate Domain for the Apps. By creating a separate domain, it helps you write apps that won’t allow cross-site scripting between apps and SharePoint site.

Configuring Hosting Apps

First we need to configure DNS

  1. Go to you Domain Controller and from the Start Menu type DNS, and open the application.
  2. In the Left Hand panel, right click Forward Lookup Zones and select New Zone… Click Next
  3. Keep the Primary zone selected and Store the zone in Active Directory ticked.
    Click Next
  4. Leave the option To all DNS servers running on domain controllers in this domain: cfcode2016.com. Click Next
  5. Here you enter the domain name, type cfapps.com. Click Next
  6. Leave the top option selected and click Next
  7. Click Finish. You will see your new domain showing in the Forward Lookup Zones in DNS.
  8. Now right click on cfapps.com and select New Alias (CNAME) …
  9. Type * for Name
  10. Set the FQDN of the server that hosts the SharePoint sites, CFSP2016.cfcode2016.com in my case. Click OK.

    If you are using more than one server, you should be pointing to the DNS record of the web server in here. This is either the DNS A record for the web server, or the DNS record of the primary cluster address for NLB environments.

    Now if you open a command window and type in nslookup something.cfapps.com it will resolve to your SharePoint server.

Configuring SharePoint 2016 for Hosting Apps

I would recommend to copy the following powershell script and running it as a ps1 file (CreateAppService.ps1 from my one drive). Change the Change any of the variables to match your environments.

  1. On the SharePoint box, logged in as SP_Setup, from the Start Menu, type SharePoint 2016 Management Shell.
  2. Run the Script
  3. To verify the script configured SharePoint 2016 correctly open Central Administration
    1. Under Application Management click Manage Service Application.
    2. You should now have two new service application created
      1. App Management Service Application
      2. Subscription Settings Service Application
    3. Now Navigate to System Settings by clicking the link on the left menu
    4. Under Servers
      click the link Manage Services on Server.
    5. Check that the following services have started
      1. App Management Service
      2. Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Subscription Setting Service
    6. On the left hand menu, click on Apps
    7. Under App Management, click the link Configure App URLs
    8. Verify that:
      1. App Domain: cfapps.com
      2. App Prefix: app

Configuring SharePoint Server 2013 for Host-Named Site Collection and create Initial Site Collections.

Here we are going to create Host Named Site Collection (HNSC) for testing and hosting our apps. Microsoft recommends this because the Office 365 environment uses host-named site collections, new features are optimized for these site collections and they are expected to be more reliable. More can be found out directly from the technet article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc424952.aspx . The only sites within your environment you should use Path Based Site Collections (PBSC) are Search Center and MySites. HNSC aren’t really needed for Search Center. The only way you can create HNSC is via powershell. So this is what we are going to do.

Register SP_Content

  1. Open SharePoint Central Administration
  2. Select Security > Configure managed Accounts.
  3. Click Register Managed Account
  4. Type Username as cfcode2016\SP_Content and the password as Pa55w0rd. Then click OK.

Create a new Web Application

Open up a PowerShell window and put the following: (change the port number if you wish) (CreateHNSC.ps1)

Configuring the Alternative Access Mapping

  • From the Start Menu
    open SharePoint 2016 Central Administration, this ensures it runs as Administrator.
  • Click Application Management, then under Web applications,
    click Configure alternative mappings.
  • On the right hand side of the screen, Change the Alternate Access Mapping Collection to point to SharePoint HNSC Web Application.
  • Click the internal URL for https://cfsp2016:11111 so that you can edit it. Change the URL protocol, host to https://hnsc.cfcode2016.com
  • Click OK.
  • Back on the Alternate Access Mapping Screen, click Add Internal URLs and add a new Internal URL for each of the following listed below. Screenshot below

Add certificates to IIS

  • In Start type IIS and open IIS Manager
  • Navigate to SharePoint HNSC Web Application and then on the right hand panel, click Bindings…
  • On the Bindings dialog, click Add…
  • In the Add Site Binding page, select https from the Type dropdown, leave the IP address as All Unassigned, the Port should say 443. Enter the Host name as hnsc.cfcode2016.com,
    and tick Require Server Name Indication then select your certificate you created earlier. Click OK
  • Add the binding for host names dev.cfcode2016.com and intranet.cfcode2016.com, ensure the Type is https, you have ticked Require Server Name Indication and you have selected your certificate.

Creating the Top level Site

Because the top-level site is an HNSC is not going to be used by anyone in the site. Therefore, this PowerShell script will create a blank site. (CreateHNSC.ps1)

  1. In PowerShell run the following script:

Site Collections

Here we are going to create a TeamSite called Intranet.cfcode2016.com and a developer site called dev.cfcode2016.com. Please note you can only create, debug and test apps using a developer site. You could type the PowerShell into notepad, save the file as PS1 and run it from SharePoint 2016 Management Shell, instead of typing each row directly. We are first going to create 2 databases, one for each Site collection. This is good practice for backups and restore purposes.

  1. From the Start Menu, type SharePoint 2016 Management Shell, and open the application. (CreateHNSC.ps1)
  2. Type

To verify that the host-name site collections are created:

  1. Open up SharePoint 2016 Central Administration
  2. Under Application Management click View all Site Collections
  3. Ensure the Web Application is pointing to the HNSC web and you should see the two site collections plus the root site.
  4. By clicking on the different site collections, you will also see that the Database Name is assigned correctly to the correct database as set up in our PowerShell script.
  5. You can also navigate in a browser to https://dev.cfcode2016.com or https://intranet.cfcode2016.com. Notice that the SSL certificate is valid.

Configuring SSL for Apps

As our App domain is on a different domain to our SharePoint domain, we should create a different SSL certificate for it.

  • Ensure you are on the SharePoint box with a Domain Admin Account. (cfcode2016\Administrator)
  • We have already configured the Certificate Authority earlier on the Domain Controller. Here we are going to request the certificate using Internet Information Services on the SharePoint Server. From the Start Menu, type IIS and open Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager
  • Once IIS opens, click on the Server Name. (CFSP2016) You will be prompted with a dialog asking to get started with Microsoft Web Platform, click do not show this message and then click No.
  • From the IIS section, double click Server Certificates

  • From the right hand side of the screen, click Create Domain Certificate

  • Complete the form for the Domain Certificate as follows (Change to match your environment if not following exactly along)
    • Common Name : *.cfapps.com
    • Organisation: CF Code
    • Organizational Unit: Computers
    • City/Locality: London
    • State/Province: London
    • Country/Region: GB


  • Click Next
  • On the Online Certification Authority enter the common name you gave your Authority Name\Server Name. (For example mine is MY-CA\CFAD.cfcode2016.com), You can also use the select button if you have configured everything correctly. You can put anything in the friendly name box, ensure it is different from your other certificate friendly name, and easy identifiable as the Apps certificate. Click Finish.

  • You should now see the certificate in the Server certificates window.

  • If there were other servers in your farm, you would need to export the .pfx file so that it can be imported into the other servers.

Configure SharePoint for Apps

We need to configure our SharePoint and IIS to use a different certificate for Apps, and also our Web Application needs to know to use our App Domain.

  1. Sign back into the SharePoint machine as SP_Setup.
  2. Run as administrator, SharePoint 2016 Management Shell
  3. Run the following PowerShell Script

  4. Next we need run the following command:
  5. In Start type IIS and open IIS Manager
  • Navigate to SharePoint HNSC Web Application and then on the right hand panel, click Bindings…
  • On the Bindings dialog, select the one without the Host Name on Port 11111 and click Edit
  • Change the Port to 443, and select the SSL Certificate as your App Certificate.
  • Click OK.


Add Apps to your Intranet Zone.

To prevent getting prompted for your login, configure the intranet zone in IE.

  • Open up Internet explorer
  • Click on the cog symbol, and select Intranet Options
  • Select the Security tab, and then click on Local Intranet. Then click on the Sites button.
  • On the Local intranet dialog, click the Advanced button.
  • Type *.cfapps.com and click Add. (You might need to untick Require server verification (https) for all sites in this zone )
  • Then click Close, OK, and OK

Checking that Apps are new set up for your farm

  1. Open up your intranet site https://intranet.cfcode2016.com
  2. At the top right of the screen click the cog icon.
  3. From the drop down, click Add an app
  4. On the App page, in the quick launch menu area, click on SharePoint Store
  5. If you have connected up correctly you will now see Apps that you can download from the SharePoint store.
  6. Pick a free one to install. I’m selecting Bright Banner. (Have no idea if it’s any good, so not endorsing, just using for testing purposes)
  7. Click Add it.
  8. Confirm that you wish to add the app. Click Continue
  9. A page will state that you have just go this app for everyone in your organization. Click Return to Site
  10. A prompt will appear, asking if you trust the application. Click Trust It.
  11. After a moment you will be returned to your Site Contents. You will also note that your app that you downloaded is currently being added to your site. Once complete the adding text will disappear.

  12. Click on the App. It will load. Take note of the URL. It is being called from the domain you created earlier cfapps.com. Congratulations you have got Apps working!

So glad I finally got Apps certificates to work. Took me a couple of attempts. Thank you to Anupam Shrivastava and his blog post http://akforsharepoint.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/sharepoint-hosted-apps-in-aam-or-host.html for helping finally cracking it.

I recommend shutting down and taking checkpoints again.

Advertisements