27 November, 2011

Cannot retrieve the URL specified in the XML Link property. For more assistance, contact your site administrator

You can use the XML Web Part to display Extensible Markup Language (XML) and apply Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) to the XML before the content is displayed.  The content displayed in the XML Web Part cannot contain an HTML <FORM> element. If you need to use the <FORM> element, consider using the Page Viewer Web Part or the Form Web Part.  This is little bit tricky issue and took lot of time to investigate and research to find out the root cause behind this issue.

Problem Description:
Microsoft out-of-box XML web part returns an error when connecting to any SharePoint Web Service - owssrv.dll, lists.asmx, feed.rss. Works fine with static XML data file.

Error message:
Cannot retrieve the URL specified in the XML Link property. For more assistance, contact your site administrator

What exactly I am doing:
Use of the 'XML Web Part' to display the RSS feed from a List.

When I entered the URL to the feed into the 'XML Link' field I receive the message "Cannot retrieve the URL specified in the XML Link property. For more assistance, contact your site administrator."

Troubleshooting Done:
1)   If I click the 'Test Link' a new window opens and correctly shows the feed. 

2)   When I checked the SharePoint logs and found out that no credentials are being supplied with the GET request to listfeed.aspx

3)   Web parts settings are ok as i checked the XSL as well as XML properties.

4)   As the credentials are not being supplied then i had checked the web application pool account is a part of ISS_WPG and WSS_WPG (Worker process groups) and found out that the app pool account is already added inside the mentioned groups

5)   Along with above mentioned groups, there is one more group exist in Active directory called as "WSS_ADMIN_WPG". Now the questions arises-Does the application pool account is a part of this group or not? I checked and found out it's not a part of that group (i.e. WSS_ADMIN_WPG), added the same web application pool account inside the group and check the results but still no success.

6)   Now the final step which is a vital one is "Anonymous", Allowing anonymous access to that web application (Central Administration > Application Management > Application Security > Authentication Providers section). now let’s go to the site collection and allowed anonymous access to a specific list where the problem resides ( Open the site collection-site actions-site settings-advanced permissions-settings-anonymous access-select list and libraries only)

That’s it-as soon as I applied the above mentioned steps and comes back to the home where the xml web part resides-it works without any issues.

Conclusion/Resolution steps:
1)   Web application pool account should be a part of WSS_WPG, ISS_WPG and WSS_WPG

2)   Anonymous access for the web application and list & libraries section at the site collection

If you have any queries/questions regarding the above mentioned information then please let me know. I would be more than happy to help you as well as resolves your issues, Thank you.


  1. Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further write ups thanks once again.

  2. Thank you very much for your kind words. its my pleasure that my blog info helped you and you got the insight that you are looking for. Thank again.

  3. Amol,

    Wonderful explanations, pretty straight forward! I have followed your suggested steps, which apparently solved the problem - but, for our surprise, the error message returned for a while, then disappeared.

    Have you ever witnesed a behavior like this?

    Thanks iin advance ;)

    1. I have never witnessed such scenario, but when you got that error message again then any traces in the sp logs? if you can share over here then it would be great to do the analysis

  4. Hello Amol,
    I am a newbie on SharePoint 2010. Where do I find the answers to your resolutions steps (1 & 2) on my SharePoint server? I'm guessing somewhere in the IIS Manager ... but where?

    Thanks Ahead!

    1. First point- No need to go to the server side as its a part of webpart only. When you will modify the webpart then you will find this option to test the connectivity.

      Second Point- Yes, no doubt about it as SharePoint logs can be found on the server itself.

      Let me know in case of any further queries, Thank you.

    2. Thanks!

      Interestingly, when I test the link from within the web part I get the expected output (weather from yahoo). After a period of time though the web part displays "Failed to apply XSLT to the content".

    3. I worked with one of our Network Security admins who had to open up security a bit to allow connection to yahoo. Now the problem is that the weather icons don't come thru...

    4. Tweaked a bit more and refreshed my IE Browser and I have it!

    5. Great news! Good to know that the issue has been resolved. Do let me know in case of any other issues, Thank you.

  5. Hi Amol,

    I've problem with Yahoo Weather XML that it display on Sharepoint 2010: Cannot retrieve the URL specified in the XML Link property. For more assistance, contact your site administrator as it just start few days ago. before it was working no problem.

    Please help? Will bookmark it and Will check later if I can.

    1. before we proceed further and track down the issue, i would like to ask you - did you follow the above steps? Are the above steps / above mentioned process has already been checked?

      also, which authentication you are using in your environment?


  6. Are there any side effect of enabling anonymous access to Sharepoint Web Apps?

    1. is this your public facing web site i.e. running on internet or Intranet? If the sites are running on intranet then i don't think there will be any problem / side effect of enabling anonymous access.

  7. Hi Amol,

    We are facing the same issue mentioned above.
    We are using XML viewer webpart in SharePoint intranet site.This webpart was working fine until recently but for past 1 month we are getting this error message, although no changes have been made from SharePoint end.
    As mentioned above by you in the post we have checked all the appropriate access and all seems to be fine.Except we are not able to find any group named "ISS_WPG" in the users and groups section on our sharePoint server.

    Also regarding the anonymous access, we have not provided this access from the very beginning and the webpart was working fine.

    Could you please suggest what can be the cause?

    Thanks in advance!

  8. Cannot retrieve the URL specified in the XML Link property. For more assistance, contact your site administrator

    i have followed all five steps

    trying to get following feed


    same configuration shared by you is working fine in development environment
    but not in production environment both servers are in same domain


Your feedback is always appreciated. I will try to reply to your queries as soon as possible- Amol Ghuge

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