Not able to set up a custom domain name for Anywhere Access

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I have a Windows Server 2016 with Essentials experience.

Since I can no longer use my remotewebaccess.com (because the Anywhere Access Wizard fails with an unknown error when I try to set it up), I decided to move to a custom domain name.

I followed the procedure on the following page https://www.theofficemaven.com/news/how-to-manually-set-up-a-custom-vanity-domain-name-in-essentials.

At step 4 of “Set Up A Trusted SSL Certificate For Your Domain Name”, when I enter my domain name, I get “the domain name is not valid, the domain name extension is not valid” error. My domain name extension is “.top”. This is a valid TLD. Why is it not accepted by the Anywhere Access Wizard?

Any help would be appreciated.

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I’ve never personally used any TLD other than “.com” and so I can’t really say for sure, but I expect that the “.top” TLD that you’re wanting to use isn’t supported by Windows Server Essentials.

Doing a quick Internet search brings me to this Microsoft document, which seems to suggest that only .com, .net, .org, and .edu are supported “generic” TLDs in Windows Server Essentials. I’d need to delve into the source code to know for sure though.

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Thank you Mike for the reply.

I finally had to purchase a new domain name compatible with Windows Essentials.

I have another question regarding the custom domain name procedure.

I followed your procedure because it is the best described alternative when remotewebaccess.com is no longer available to set up. I’m in the process to install a clean WS 2012 R2 server with Essentials Experience. I managed to get it up and running, but in your procedure for Let’s Encrypt Certificate and Certify The Web, it’s preferable to use your PowerShell script to to allow the native tools built into Essentials to configure the SSL certificate properly.

Since I’m installing a WS 2012 R2 server, I’m not and can’t use your PowerShell script. So, would you be so kind to tell me what I have to do manually every time the certificate get’s renewed?

Thanks

  • Francois Boucher answered 2 months ago
  • last edited 2 months ago
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Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t added the more secure security ciphers, that our webserver host requires, to the older (and now defunct/unsupported) versions of Windows Server (e.g. 2011, 2012, and 2012 R2). Therefore, the older versions of our WHS/WSE RemoteApp and WSE WorkFolders add-ins are no longer available (seeing as they cannot securely reach out to our webserver any longer).

Windows Server Essentials natively configures the newly installed SSL certificate in multiple places on the Essentials server (besides in just the RD Gateway). All our PowerShell script does is write the newly installed SSL cert’s thumbprint to the Windows Registry, which in turn, then alerts our WSE RemoteApp and WSE WorkFolders add-ins to run the native methods in Windows Server Essentials in order to properly configure the new SSL cert for use in Windows Server Essentials (similar to what happens when you first “configure”, or “repair”, Anywhere Access via the server Dashboard).

The PowerShell script itself doesn’t do anything much per se. Rather, there’s code in our add-ins that call the appropriate native methods within Windows Server Essentials in order to properly install/setup/configure the SSL cert on the Essentials server. You’d need to be able to write a WSS add-in, and know all of the appropriate native methods to call in order to replicate that functionality, and that’s not something that can be done with a simple PowerShell script I’m afraid.

I’ve been thinking about adding that same functionality to the WSEE Installer itself so that folks who don’t want to install our ad-ins can still properly configure a custom/vanity domain name in Windows Server Essentials using certify the web, but (I haven’t gotten around to doing that as of yet, and) that would only apply to Windows Server 2019/2022/2025 and so it still wouldn’t help you with 2012 R2 I’m afraid.

I strongly suggest that you move up to using (at least) Window Server 2016 Essentials, rather than relying on the older (and now fully unsupported by Microsoft) Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, but if that’s not an option for you, then the best that you’ll be able to do is to set up certify the web to install the SSL cert into the RD Gateway for you as MariĆ«tte Knap describes over here.

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Thanks, I unfortunately have to stick with WS 2012 R2 for a while longer. I’ll adjust my setup per MariĆ«tte Knap and hope for the best.

  • Francois Boucher answered 2 months ago
  • last edited 2 months ago
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