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 configured to draw dynamically from data or from new or existing cached tiles.

This workflow is only available when publishing to a stand-alone ArcGIS Server site. 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 ArcGIS Server site. 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 a project. Right-click the ArcGIS Server site 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 Type is set to Publisher Connection or Administrator Connection. You must have permission to publish services; if necessary, provide an appropriate username 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, provide a name for the service.
  4. Optionally, complete the Summary and Tags fields.

    You can type a maximum of 128 tags.

  5. Choose a Data option.
    • To avoid having a copy of the data placed on the server, register the data to the server using ArcGIS Server Manager and choose the Reference registered data option.
    • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. On the Configuration tab, set properties and enable capabilities as needed. For more details, see Configure a map service.
  8. Optionally, click the Content tab to view the folder, new service, and sublayers with assigned IDs if available.

    If you enabled the Allow assignment of unique numeric IDs for sharing web layers option on the Map Properties dialog box, assigned IDs appear for each sublayer. To change an ID, click the number next to the layer or table. On the Layer Properties or Standalone Table Properties dialog box, on the General tab, type a custom integer ID in the Layer ID or Table ID text box. For more information, see Assign layer IDs.

  9. Under Finish Publishing, click Analyze Identify potential performance bottlenecks and errors to review for problems.

    Errors and warnings are listed on the Messages tab. Right-click a message to open its help topic or take corrective action in the software. Errors Error must be resolved before you can publish a map service. Resolving warnings Warning is recommended but not required.

    Learn more about analyzing GIS resources.

    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 a map service.

  10. After you have resolved any errors and, optionally, resolved any warnings, click Publish 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 Open Job Status Pane to view the cache status in the Job Status pane.

    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.

Considerations when publishing

Map services can be shared to earlier versions of ArcGIS Server. However, not all functionality is supported.

Sharing subtype group tables is not supported.

Related topics