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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Unable to login with vSphere Client

This has happened to me on several occasions so I wanted to document this.  
When you use the VMware vSphere client to login to a vSphere server (in my case a vSphere 5 server) you are unable to login and you get a dialogue box that has a title of Connection Error, and a message that reads:

The server {the server you're trying to login to} could not interpret the client's request.  (The remote server returned an error: (503) Server Unavailable.)

Then below that it gives an error stack message:

Call "ServiceInstance.RetrieveContent" for object "ServiceInstance" on Server "{the server you're trying to login to}"

What appears to be happening is that the SSL encryption service on the vSphere server isn't running and the client cannot talk to the vSphere server using SSL.

What is frustrating is that you know the virtual machines are running, but since you cannot login with the client there is no graceful way to go into Maintenance Mode and/or to reboot the server.

The trick to fix it is to get the various services to restart including the one that handles SSL encryption.

So download Putty to a workstation, and connect to the server using SSH.  This assumes you have already enabled SSH on the vSphere Server.

Once logged in with Putty issue to the following command in the terminal window:

/sbin/ restart

You will begin to see several services restart.  Once complete you should be able to login again using the vSphere client.  The above command works on vSphere version 5 (ESXi 5), but I have not tested this on ESXi 4.x.  

In my case this situation tends to occur when I place the server in Maintenance Mode and try to reboot it, but it doesn't reboot and you suddenly loose your connection to it with your vSphere Client and can't login again.

July 19, 2012 - I found a faster and easier way to deal with this issue.  Please read my new post called: VmWare vSphere Client Error 503


  1. Top tip! Thanks for that, it had been driving me crazy. Worked just fine on ESXi 4.

  2. Thanks alot. Saved me with esx5. Greets

  3. Philippe GombeerJune 28, 2012 at 5:03 AM

    Successfully tested on my ESXi 4.1 Update 2. Thanks.

  4. Thanks- this worked for me perfectly!

  5. We have had this issue for awhile. The problem is that restarting the services works great for an undetermined amount of time. Today for instance it worked for 2 hours and crashed again. Some days it works all day or more. Im curious as to what the root cause is.

  6. follow this link. It really works.

  7. thanks for the tip; i've been hard rebooting my box when this happens. your solution is much better.

  8. Thank you! I've been looking for a solution for the host being disconnected in vCenter. Restarting these mgmt agents must do more than the hostd and vpxa restart. Running this corrected my issue and now the host is reporting back to vCenter!

  9. Worked like a charm, thanks. Saved me a restart with all the related work...

  10. Thanks, you saved my life

  11. Great Post ! This saved my time !!


  12. Didn't work. I entered the command, and it lists a bunch of services, stopping each one, then it hangs on "Exclusive access granted." It does not recognize anything else I type as a command. I also tried the other option (dcui) and when I press F2, all I get is the main screen again, with no menu options. Nothing else I press does a thing.

  13. It works !
    Thanks guy.

  14. What if SSH not enabled! like in my case please any hope?

    1. SSH would be required. Therefore you would have to be physically in front of the console to login and enable SSH.

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