SharePoint does not return any search results

If you've ever configured SharePoint search in 2007 or 2010 then you may have come across this nasty gotcha.

In the SharePoint 2010 world your results would look like this! Nothing! But you know your search engine crawls correctly because you've seen it work and there are no errors in the log!

The reason why this happens is the Default URL is not the one used in the Search crawl. If you don't have this configured correctly then you'll get zero results returned. Not only that but you will see some very weird happenings. When I was playing around trying to understand the problem I did a search and frustratingly got no results so I decided to log in as a different user, and then I saw the results of the search! Wow, that was just silly, so I did another search, thinking it would now work. But no it did not. OK, I thought I would switch back to the previous user again, and guess what! Yes, I saw the results again. But then searching failed if I tried another search. It really stumped me to think that the only way to see search results was to do a search and then log in as a different users. That's what I mean about weird stuff.

The Default URL in this Alternate Access Mapping is used in the Search Configuration. So just following the configuration below is all you need to get results.


This is the Search Service Configuration. Putting it all together will now allow your search to work without even running a crawl! Brilliant. So I thought it would be good to blog about my experience so that others could save their sanity when I almost lost mine...Laughing


Classic Mode vs. Claims Based Authentication in SharePoint 2010

The following is an explanation of the 2 types of Authentication. This is well documented on the web!

Classic Mode: This is nothing but Windows Authentication. If any web application is created with Classic Mode Authentication then it cannot applicable to configure forms based authentication. That is basically it.

Claims Based: In SharePoint 2010 for a web application we can enable both windows AND forms authentication. In earlier implementation to do this, we have to create two web applications which has different zones and different authentication. But, with the new claims based authentication a single application can have the capability to configure both windows and forms under single URL. All this is possible because of the authentication framework is built on Microsoft Identify Foundation, and it uses “Geneva” framework to handle this authentication.

Convert from Classic Windows to Claims Based Authentication:  To configure a Windows Authentication application to use Forms Based Authentication then you can convert from Classic Mode to Claims Based. But, there is no UI exist for doing this conversion. The only way around is through PowerShell.

WARNING! This cannot be UNDONE!
At the PS Prompt Type the following commands and press enter after each one.

$app = get-spwebapplication "http://<your site's URL>"

$app.useclaimsauthentication = "True"

$app.Update()  Don't forget the brackets!

IMPORTANT:  If an application is created using Claims Based Authentication and if you want to convert to Classic Mode then it is not possible either through the UI or through PowerShell.

SharePoint 2010 Authentication Provider

So you want to know if that SharePoint 2010 Web Application is configured with Claims Based or Windows Authentication?

The place to do this is via Central Admin -> Application Management -> Manage Web Applications. Then click on the Web Application and click on Authentication Providers in the Ribbon under the Security Section. BUT you might find that this icon is disabled like this screen shot.

Not to worry as you can enable it using one of two methods. One is to disable UAC via Control Panel but that's not really something you want to do. The other option is to Run your Browser as an Administrator like shown here.

Now you will see that the icon in the ribbon is enabled as shown here.

Now simply click the icon and you'll see something like the following 2 screen shots.

If you want to CHANGE the authentication type then you will need to do that via Power Shell which I will explain in another post.