SharePoint, Features and web.config modifications using SPWebConfigModification

SharePoint has a great way for deploying content and functionality using Windows SharePoint Services Solution Packages (WSP's). While developing a powerful new feature for SharePoint Publishing sites I had to deploy a HttpModule "the SharePoint" way. Building a HttpModule , a corresponding feature and the resulting WSP package is easy with our Macaw Solutions Factory. The actual logic in the Http Module and the feature is the difficult part. One of the things I had to do was to create a feature that registers a HTTPModule on feature activation, and removes it from the web.config on the feature deactivation. You can do this using the SPWebConfigModification class.

A good article on this topic is It contains links to other posts as well.

The Microsoft documentation can be found at SPWebConfigModification Class (Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration), I wished I scrolled down before, because a lot of valuable information can be found in the Community Content of this page (keep scrolling!).

Anyway, it took quite some time to get my HttpModule to register/unregister correctly on activation/deactivation of my web application level feature. I post the code below so you have a head-start if you have to do something similar yourself.


using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Collections.ObjectModel;
using Microsoft.SharePoint;
using Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration;

// namespace must be in the form <Company>.<Product>.<FunctionalArea>.SharePoint.Features.<FeatureName>.FeatureReceiver namespace Macaw.WcmRia.Moss2007.DualLayout.SharePoint.Features.DualLayoutSupport.FeatureReceiver { /// <summary> /// Add HttpModule registration to web.config of the web application /// </summary> class DualLayoutSupportFeatureReceiver : SPFeatureReceiver { private const string WebConfigModificationOwner = "Macaw.WcmRia.Moss2007.DualLayout"; private static readonly SPWebConfigModification[] Modifications = { // For not so obvious reasons web.config modifications inside collections // are added based on the value of the key attribute in alphabetic order. // Because we need to add the DualLayout module after the // PublishingHttpModule, we prefix the name with 'Q-'. new SPWebConfigModification() { // The owner of the web.config modification, useful for removing a // group of modifications Owner = WebConfigModificationOwner, // Make sure that the name is a unique XPath selector for the element // we are adding. This name is used for removing the element Name = "add[@name='Q-Macaw.WcmRia.Moss2007.DualLayout']", // We are going to add a new XML node to web.config Type = SPWebConfigModification.SPWebConfigModificationType.EnsureChildNode, // The XPath to the location of the parent node in web.config Path = "configuration/system.web/httpModules", // Sequence is important if there are multiple equal nodes that // can't be identified with an XPath expression Sequence = 0, // The XML to insert as child node, make sure that used names match the Name selector Value = "<add name='Q-Macaw.WcmRia.Moss2007.DualLayout' type='Macaw.WcmRia.Moss2007.DualLayout.Business.Components.HttpModule, Macaw.WcmRia.Moss2007.DualLayout.Business.Components, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=077f92bbf864a536' />" } };

    <span style="color: blue">public override void </span>FeatureInstalled(<span style="color: #2b91af">SPFeatureReceiverProperties </span>properties)

    <span style="color: blue">public override void </span>FeatureUninstalling(<span style="color: #2b91af">SPFeatureReceiverProperties </span>properties)

    <span style="color: blue">public override void </span>FeatureActivated(<span style="color: #2b91af">SPFeatureReceiverProperties </span>properties)
        <span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebApplication </span>webApp = properties.Feature.Parent <span style="color: blue">as </span><span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebApplication</span>;
        <span style="color: blue">if </span>(webApp != <span style="color: blue">null</span>)
            AddWebConfigModifications(webApp, Modifications);

    <span style="color: blue">public override void </span>FeatureDeactivating(<span style="color: #2b91af">SPFeatureReceiverProperties </span>properties)
        <span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebApplication </span>webApp = properties.Feature.Parent <span style="color: blue">as </span><span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebApplication</span>;
        <span style="color: blue">if </span>(webApp != <span style="color: blue">null</span>)
            RemoveWebConfigModificationsByOwner(webApp, WebConfigModificationOwner);

    <span style="color: gray">/// &lt;summary&gt;
    /// </span><span style="color: green">Add a collection of web modifications to the web application
    </span><span style="color: gray">/// &lt;/summary&gt;
    /// &lt;param name=&quot;webApp&quot;&gt;</span><span style="color: green">The web application to add the modifications to</span><span style="color: gray">&lt;/param&gt;
    /// &lt;param name=&quot;modifications&quot;&gt;</span><span style="color: green">The collection of modifications</span><span style="color: gray">&lt;/param&gt;
    </span><span style="color: blue">private void </span>AddWebConfigModifications(<span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebApplication </span>webApp, <span style="color: #2b91af">IEnumerable</span>&lt;<span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebConfigModification</span>&gt; modifications)
        <span style="color: blue">foreach </span>(<span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebConfigModification </span>modification <span style="color: blue">in </span>modifications)

        <span style="color: green">// Commit modification additions to the specified web application
        <span style="color: green">// Push modifications through the farm

    <span style="color: gray">/// &lt;summary&gt;
    /// </span><span style="color: green">Remove modifications from the web application
    </span><span style="color: gray">/// &lt;/summary&gt;
    /// &lt;param name=&quot;webApp&quot;&gt;</span><span style="color: green">The web application to remove the modifications from</span><span style="color: gray">&lt;/param&gt;
    /// &lt;param name=&quot;owner&quot;Remove all modifications that belong to the owner&gt;&lt;/param&gt;
    </span><span style="color: blue">private void </span>RemoveWebConfigModificationsByOwner(<span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebApplication </span>webApp, <span style="color: blue">string </span>owner)
        <span style="color: #2b91af">Collection</span>&lt;<span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebConfigModification</span>&gt; modificationCollection = webApp.WebConfigModifications;
        <span style="color: #2b91af">Collection</span>&lt;<span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebConfigModification</span>&gt; removeCollection = <span style="color: blue">new </span><span style="color: #2b91af">Collection</span>&lt;<span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebConfigModification</span>&gt;();

        <span style="color: blue">int </span>count = modificationCollection.Count;
        <span style="color: blue">for </span>(<span style="color: blue">int </span>i = 0; i &lt; count; i++)
            <span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebConfigModification </span>modification = modificationCollection[i];
            <span style="color: blue">if </span>(modification.Owner == owner)
                <span style="color: green">// collect modifications to delete

        <span style="color: green">// now delete the modifications from the web application
        </span><span style="color: blue">if </span>(removeCollection.Count &gt; 0)
            <span style="color: blue">foreach </span>(<span style="color: #2b91af">SPWebConfigModification </span>modificationItem <span style="color: blue">in </span>removeCollection)

            <span style="color: green">// Commit modification removals to the specified web application
            <span style="color: green">// Push modifications through the farm



  • Nice post Serge, I stored it in my collection.

  • Trust me , this will only work on your own VM.. never on Production..

  • Sandeep, can you give more information on why this will not work in a production environment?

    I am currently implementing this and it would help if you said why it won't work in prod so that I can change whatever needs to be changed to ensure it does work.

  • Exactly what I needed. Thanks for the article.

  • Hi Serge,
    there are some issues with calling: webApp.WebService.ApplyWebConfigModifications();
    I don't know if you've tested this in a farm environment, but I never got it to work..

    This is the alternative I'm using:

    See ya!

  • I've successfully applied the SPWebConfigModifcation functionality in several projects, both for rolling out new or updated versions in local VM, and when rolling out to test, staging and production servers - within a farm setup. The infra setups are various: pure intranet with multiple WFEs, a web app extended in extra zone to internet, web app extended for intra- and extranet. Overall, good and repetive consequent results, both upon adding as removal/retraction.
    I did apply a variant of the call to apply the modifications:

  • Serge,

    Do you know if the order trick still works in SharePoint 2010? I tried yours (and several others that I know worked in SP2007), but they all failed in SharePoint 2010...

  • Hello,

    I am new to SharePoint development and I need help me make this work. I am trying to apply the above method to add authorizedType node in web.config. I am not getting error message but when I activate the feature, no node is getting added in web.config. I checked the port and I also tried webApp.Farm.Services.GetValue().ApplyWebConfigModifications() but nothing seems to work. I wonder what I am missing. Can anybody spot what is wrong with my code:

    new SPWebConfigModification()
    Owner = WebConfigModificationOwner,
    Name = "authorizedType[@Namespace='org.dept.customcode']",
    Type = SPWebConfigModification.SPWebConfigModificationType.EnsureChildNode,
    Path = "configuration/System.Workflow.ComponentModel.WorkflowCompiler/authorizedTypes",
    Sequence = 0,
    Value = ""

    Thanks in advance!

    - Jeck

  • Any hint as to how to do the same for the STS web config in sharePoint 2010 with Forms authentication?

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