FAQ: Why is my Self-Service Portal/Service Catalog Blank?

FAQ: Why is my Self-Service Portal/Service Catalog Blank?

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Does your portal look like this?


Here’s why:

The Self-service portal is a SharePoint web site.  That much is fairly obvious since you had to install SharePoint as a prerequisite.  The menu options on the left take you to different pages on the SharePoint site.  Each of those pages has nothing but a single web part in it out of the box.  You can add more if you want but it looks like this if you choose to edit the page:



Notice how the Home page has just the one web part – ServiceCatalogWebPart.

This is a map of the Pages – Web Parts:

Home – ServiceCatalogWebPart

Help Articles – Knowledge Article WebPart

My Requests – My Requests WebPart

My Activities – My Activities WebPart


Those web parts correspond to a set of Silverlight .xap files.

Home – ServiceCatalogWebPart – ServiceCatalogSilverlightModule.xap, ServiceOfferingSilverlightModule.xap, RequestOfferingSilverlightModule.xap

Help Articles – Knowledge Article WebPart – KnowledgeArticleSilverlightModule.xap

My Requests – My Requests WebPart – MyActivitiesSilverlightModule.xap

My Activities – My Activities WebPart – MyRequestsSilverlightModule.xap


These web parts are hosted on the Web Content Server in the folder (by default):

C:\inetpub\wwwroot\System Center Service Manager Portal\ContentHost\ClientBin

There is also a Settings.xml file that is hosted there which contains settings for controlling the layout and format of the Silverlight web parts.


There are also some .resx files which contain localized text strings and some .zip files which contain other things the Silverlight web parts need.

All of these files need to be downloaded to the client browser in order to display the Silverlight web parts.  That’s why this web site is called the *Content* server.

The SCSMWebContentServer is configured to be rooted at C:\inetpub\wwwroot\System Center Server Manager Portal



First of all – you need Silverlight installed!

Secondly – you need to make sure that the Web Content Server URL is configured correctly in the settings of the SharePoint web site.  To do that go to IIS Manager on the SharePoint site web server.

Select Service Manager Portal in the tree.

Double click the Application Settings icon.



Double click the SMPortal_WebContentServer_URL to configure it:


Make sure the name is SMPortal_WebContentServer_URL.

Then make sure that the following is true about the URL:

1) If you are using HTTPS to access the SharePoint site then the value for the Web Content Server URL must also be HTTPS.  If you are using HTTP for SharePoint then the Web Content Server URL should be HTTP.

2) If you are using the NetBIOS name of the computer to access SharePoint then you should have the NetBIOS name of the Web Content Server in the URL.  If you are using FQDN to access SharePoint then configure the Web Content Server URL to use FQDN,

3) Make sure the port is right.  It is configurable during setup.  It should be set to the value that you see when you right click on the SCSMWebContentServer web site and choose Edit Bindings…


If you have the site configured for both HTTP and HTTPS then make sure you configure the URL with the port that corresponds to the protocol.


Then – test the Web Content Server URL first to make sure it is right before you save it.  Just open a browser and paste it in followed by ‘Settings.xml’ e.g. http://SP:85/ContentHost/ClientBin/Settings.xml.  That should resolve to something that looks like this:



If you are using a load balancer for your Web Content Server make sure you are using the cluster name to connect to not one of the individual node names.  See this blog post for more information on How to Configure the Self-Service Portal SharePoint Site or the Web Content Server for Load Balancing.

Hope that helps!

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  • Travis,

    I have having this problem and I am using SSL with wildcard certificates which require me to set a DNS record for the Web Content Server and SharePoint Web Site address so that I don't get certificate warrnings.  Nothing I try had worked.  I even had a problem with the installs failing when trying to run them with the wildcard certificate selected.  I had to install with a self-signed cert and then change them to the wildcard certs afterwords.

    I made a forum post about this as well: social.technet.microsoft.com/.../a57d88c4-4610-4954-b812-4b101c758fb9

    Thanks for any assitance you can provide.


  • Travis,

    To added to my previous post, when I try to go to https://<MyWebsite>:443/ContentHost/ClientBin/Settings.xml that page loads but its also blank white page.

  • I too can confirm that the blank screen has been seen in my environment on systems that do not have the correct trusted root CA certificate on the system accessing the SSL portal. Once the Root CA Cert is added, the web part is displayed and the site shows up as normal.

  • I Had a problem like this last week, but only on some computers. The solution was to change the Region settings of the windows machine.

  • In my case it turned out to be something wrong with the installation of IIS on the web content server.  With a reinstall of IIS and the web content server I was able to get the portal working correctly.

    I can also confirm that it does work over HTTPS with a wildcard certificate on both the web content server and SharePoint server.

    Now I am trying to figure out how to get it to work both internally on our network and expose it to the internet.  I am not finding any documentation on how to do that but I assume that would mean the web content server would need to be accessible from the Internet as well...?

  • I've had the same problem time and time again when seperating the web part and content server roles in a lab. I was getting a blank white screen and even when opening the settings.xml

    Playing around I have found that the scsm web content server certificate needs to be in the Trusted Root of the client machine. Without that, it doesn't seem to authenticate. I have tried removing the cert and the problem comes back, add it back in and your cooking again. Hope this is helpful to others struggling. I think the lesson is to do everything properly with AD Certificates!!!

  • Another point to note is that you require Static Content feature from with IIS. If you install all components of IIS before install then you're fine. However, if you go ONLY by the pre-req guide you will not enable this and when you browse the settings.xml as Travis mentions above (or anything including the IIS splash on standard port 80) you will only see a blank white screen.

  • I was getting same problem in the SMPortal with blank page. but setting up with contentserver it has gone, and page displayed successfully.

  • I'd also recommend take a look at this blog post and in addition to that also make sure the issuing CA is trusted on the client - www.code4ward.net/.../Service-Manager-2012-Self-Service-Portal-not-working-blank.aspx

  • Hi Travis,

    I'm having this issue, but i'm not using SSL.

    My Web Content Server and SharePoint web site are in two difrente servers.

    testing the Web Content Server URL, with the settings.xml also retuns blank.

    Do you have any ideas for me?

    Best Regards.

  • Finally found my issue, was plugging away within SCSM with various request and service offerings etc, finally found the above. My SSL cert is issues for fqdn, setting in IIS was for Netbios name.


  • Why not take a look at our HTML5 Self Service Portal which works on tablets, cell phones and MAC's as well as PC's plus is a lot more employee friendly - http://www.caseddimensions.com/scsm_self_service_portal/