Getting to SharePoint 2016 Single Server from SharePoint Server 2013

March 22, 2023
3 min read

Let’s say that you’re hosting a handful of SharePoint Server 2013 sites for a small number of users and you want to create a development SharePoint Server farm, or that you want to create a SharePoint Server 2016 farm as a short-term solution on the way to SharePoint Server 2019 or SharePoint Server Subscription Edition. 

In previous versions of SharePoint, if you ran an install of SharePoint on a single server, it installed SQL Server Express for you as part of the SharePoint installation. This isn’t the case with SharePoint Server 2016 or 2019, so you must install SQL Server (2014 SP1 or higher for SharePoint 2016) on the same server as SharePoint or on a different server. This short-term solution is just a stopgap because SharePoint 2016 already has an end-of-life date set for 2026. You can’t skip it – you must pass through this interim stage and install SQL Server on the SharePoint farm server once the server meets the hardware and software requirements for both SQL Server and SharePoint Server 2016. 

During the installation of SQL Server, document the SQL Server instance name and configure the SQL Server instance for SharePoint, specifically setting the Max Degree of Parallelism (MAXDOP) to 1. This allows you to install SharePoint Server 2016. 

I won’t walk you through the details for installing SharePoint Server 2016, but here’s a quick list of the necessary steps, using an account that’s part of the Administrators group on the SharePoint server: 

  1. Run the Microsoft SharePoint Products Preparation Tool (requires internet access).
  2. Run SharePoint Server Setup (installs the SharePoint Server binaries).
  3. Run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard (creates SharePoint databases).
  4. Configure browser settings (test by connecting to SharePoint Central Admin).
  5. Run the Farm Configuration Wizard.
  6. Perform any post-installation steps. 

Note: The SharePoint Server 2013 farm must have Service Pack 1 installed for a successful database upgrade to occur. Also, you should run the SQL Server command: DBCC CHECKDB to make sure that your databases aren’t corrupt before you begin the upgrade process. 

Use the following steps to complete the migration of the SharePoint Server 2013 farm content and service application databases:

  1. Set all migrating databases to read-only.
  2. Using SQL Server, perform a full backup of the following databases:
  • All web app content databases
  • BDC service app database
  • Managed metadata service app database
  • PerformancePoint service app database
  • Secure Store service app database
  • Search service app databases
  • User profile service app databases (Profile and Social databases)
  1. Copy the SharePoint Server 2013 farm databases to the SharePoint Server 2016 farm server.
  2. Using SQL Server, perform a restore of the content databases (not service app databases).
  3. Set all migrated content databases to read-write.
  4. Start the service apps for the DBs that were copied over.
  5. Use PowerShell to point to and upgrade the service app databases (recommend in this order):
    • Secure Store
    • BDC
    • Managed metadata
    • PerformancePoint
    • User profile service
    • Search
  6. Create the web apps that you had in the SharePoint 2013 farm and point to the restored content databases.
  7. Verify that all data is accessible.
  8. Perform a full search crawl of your farm.
  9. Back up your new farm.

For more detailed information, visit the Microsoft site: Upgrade to SharePoint Server 2016.

Even though you’ve now successfully upgraded to SharePoint Server 2016, remember that it’s only a required interim step as you Upgrade to SharePoint Server 2019 or SharePoint Server Subscription Edition. Use the respective links for assistance to perform your next upgrade. 


Brian Alderman

Brian Alderman

Brian Alderman is a former Microsoft MVP, and has his Master's in Computer Information Systems. Since 1995, he has held several Microsoft certifications that currently include; MCT, MCSE for SharePoint, MCSA for Office 365, MCITP for SQL Server(R), MCSA and MCSE for Windows Server(R), and also his PMP certification. As a Senior Technical Instructor and Consultant, he has 30 years of experience in networking, SQL Server databases, SharePoint technologies, and project management. Brian's publications include Windows 2000 Professional, SQL Server 2000 Administration, SharePoint 2010 Administrator's Companion, and Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Administration Inside Out. He is an active speaker at SharePoint Industry conferences including SharePoint Saturday's, SPLive, DevIntersection, SharePoint Fest, Microsoft Ignite, and several international SharePoint conferences including London, Milan, and Madrid.