How to give a user account rights to register its own Service Principal Name (SPN)

I recently had a SQL server where the SQL instance had a different name than the hostname. Not having rights to connect to SQL, I wasn’t aware of that. So, I registered the SPNs as they should have been registered, and it was still falling back to NTLM (see: failing).

SQL Server will register its own SPNs at startup – assuming the service account has rights to set its own SPN. To give the service account rights to self-register SPN (assuming you’re using a domain service account and not Network Service/Local System), you need to grant the service account rights to “Write Public Information” on itself in Active Directory.

1) Launch Active Directory Users and Computers
2) Find your service account and hit the Security tab
3) Select “SELF” in the “Groups or user names” listbox
4) Find “Write public information” in the “Permissions for SELF” listbox and check “Allow”
5) Click OK


After, you’ll need to restart SQL Server for the SPN to register. Use setspn -l domain\account to verify that the account has properly registered.

If you do happen to be using Network Service or Local System, shame on you. That said you’ll just need to verify on the computer account in AD that SELF has “Validated write to service principal name” set to Allow. But, seriously, stop using Network Service or Local System (ESPECIALLY THAT!) and start using a domain account…or at the very least a local account.

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