Publish a map service

Map services allow others to view and interact with GIS content on the web. Map services support visualization and querying, and can be drawn either dynamically from the data or using tiles from a cache.

This workflow is only available when publishing to a stand-alone ArcGIS Server. To share web services to ArcGIS Online or a server federated with ArcGIS Enterprise, share a web layer. Web layers expose the rich capabilities of the Web GIS platform. For more information about additional functionality available when sharing to Web GIS, see Share with ArcGIS Pro.

This workflow explains how to publish a map service with default settings. To change the default configuration, see Configure a map service. You can also use ArcPy to publish a map service to a stand-alone server. To learn more, see Introduction to arcpy.sharing.

While in the process of publishing a map service, you may decide to save a service definition instead. A service definition compiles information into a single file, allowing you to publish the map service at a later time. Information about saving a service definition is included in the workflow below. To learn more, see Introduction to saving service definitions.

To publish a map service, follow these steps:

  1. In the Catalog pane or a catalog view, browse to the collection of servers in your project. Right-click the ArcGIS Server that you'll publish to, click Publish, and click Map Service Map Service.

    The Publish command is only available on ArcGIS Server connections to stand-alone servers with privileges to publish services.


    If the Publish command doesn't appear on the server context menu, click Properties Properties. On the ArcGIS Server Connection Properties dialog box, make sure the Type is set to Publisher Connection or Administrator Connection. You must have permission to publish services; if necessary, enter an appropriate user name and password.

  2. On the Select Map dialog box, browse to the map in the current project that you want to publish, and click OK.
  3. In the Publish Map Service pane, enter the Name of the service, and add a Summary and Tags.
  4. Choose a Data option.
    • To avoid having a copy of the data placed on the server, register your data to the server using ArcGIS Server Manager and choose the Reference registered data option.
    • If you want to maintain a separate copy of the data for web use, choose the Copy all data option.

    For more information on data registration, see Register your data with ArcGIS Server using ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Pro.

  5. In the Folder menu, specify the folder on the server where you want to store the service. Type the name of the folder if the folder does not already exist. The service is stored in the root folder if another folder is not specified.
  6. On the Configuration tab, set properties and enable Capabilities as needed. For more details, see Configure a map service.
  7. Optionally, click the Content tab to view the new service structure and its sublayers.
  8. Click Analyze to identify potential issues or limitations. The Messages tab reports any errors and warnings raised by the analysis. Right-click each message to get more information, access the associated help topic, or access suggested fixes. For more information about resolving these issues, see Analyze your GIS resource.

    Analyzer help topics refer to the web layer that corresponds to the service type being published. For example, you may see references to map image layers for an analyzer issued for your map service.

  9. Once you've resolved any errors, and optionally resolved any warnings, click Publish. When the service has successfully published, you can do the following:
    • Click the Manage the service link to access the service REST endpoint.
    • If you configured your service to draw using tiles from a cache, click the Jobs button to view the cache generation status in the Job Status pane.

    If you want to save a service definition for the map service instead, click the Publish drop-down arrow and click Save As SD. To learn more, see Save a service definition for a map service.

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