WebHost failed to process the request


Tech Trek – 2011.09.02

It was a nice work day of summer and first thing in the morning came a report from a user that SharePoint search is not working. So I went on wearing my “administrator hat” and tried to troubleshoot what happened to the environment. First order of business was if I can replicate what error occurred, unfortunately, it’s much worse that I thought since even clicking a web part header returns an error.

So, I checked out the event logs and here is what I’ve found:

WebHost failed to process a request.
Sender Information: System.ServiceModel.ServiceHostingEnvironment+ HostingManager/38898923

Exception: System.ServiceModel.ServiceActivationException: The service '/<guid>/MetadataWebService.svc' cannot be activated due to an exception during compilation. 
... 
Process Name: w3wp 
Process ID: 5832

In the interest of time, I’ve highlighted the key section of the error message which was a failed worker process (w3wp). Next step was to find that process ID that was affected in particular so I’ve used the following method to identify the list of worker processes in Windows 2008:

c:\windows\system32\inetsrv> appcmd list wp

With IIS Manager opened, I was able to isolate the web application pool that was giving out this error and performed a “recycle” operation to correct the issue. Smoke test proves to be successful by executing the search that was earlier reported. As it turns out, the affected SharePoint server recently had a “pending” Windows Update that required a full reboot to complete the patch.

    Tools Used:

  • Event Log viewer
  • AppCmd using Command Prompt
  • IIS Manager
  • Windows Update utility

Now, if I can only cast “dispel magic” on such situations — life would be easier for a SharePoint adventurer.

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