SharePoint 2013 Patch (Service Pack-CU-Hotfix) Installation Guide – Step by Step

So you want to maintain your SharePoint environment healthy, secure, stable, and up to date by installing the latest patches? Well, this article walks through the various steps involved in installing patches for your SharePoint 2013 environment.

SharePoint 2013 patching best practices

Before proceeding, let’s consider some of the best practices for SharePoint 2013 patching. Before proceeding with the production environment, I would strongly recommend patching your development/test SharePoint farms. Make sure Dev/Test environments are thoroughly tested, all custom/third-party components are fully functional. Watch those environments, Identify and address common issues, and then schedule the maintenance window for your SharePoint 2013 production farm.

It’s a good idea to stay one CU behind the current release (or 3 to 6 Moths behind the latest patch) for production environments to avoid any potential issues that may be introduced by a new CU. Simply installing the latest updates is not a best practice and may put your environment at risk. Take snapshot backups of your SharePoint servers before applying updates. (That’s why I’m a big fan of SharePoint server visualization!). This will help when things don’t go right.

Downtime Mitigation: If you have a TEST environment (or call it QA/Pre-Production) closer to production, you can backup-restore SharePoint content databases, make them read-only, change the publishing servers to point TEST farm as Production farm during this maintenance window. Keep your user community aware of this maintenance window. Plan and send out a proper e-mail communication about the scheduled maintenance. SharePoint 2013 provides an excellent way SharePoint 2013 Maintenance Window Notifications

It is no longer required to install the SharePoint Foundation patches before proceeding with SharePoint Server patches.

SharePoint 2013 Patch Procedure

At a high level, SharePoint 2013 patching process is done as follows:

  1. Get your current farm patch level
  2. Download SharePoint 2013 service pack/CU/Hot-fix
  3. Install binaries on SharePoint Servers
  4. Run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard
  5. Verify the updated build number of your SharePoint farm.

Step 1: Get SharePoint 2013 Patch Level

There are many ways to find SharePoint build numbers, including PowerShell (more info: How to find SharePoint Farm Build Version Number/Patch Level?). Here is the easiest way to find SharePoint patch level:

  • Go to your SharePoint 20103 Central Administration site. 
  • From the Central Administration, navigate to System Settings >> Manage Servers in this Farm
  • From the Servers in this Farm page, under the Farm information section, you will see the SharePoint Farm Build Version.
sharepoint 2013 check sharepoint patch level

To match the build number with the SharePoint 2013 patch, use Todd Klindt’s blog:

Step 2: SharePoint 2013 patch download

To start with SharePoint 2013 patching, We must download the relevant patches first!. The major difference in downloading patches for SharePoint 2013 and its previous versions is: You don’t have to download and install patches for both SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint Server if you are running with the SharePoint 2013 server. You can just download and install the SharePoint Server patch alone!!

To download SharePoint 2013 service packs, hot-fixes, and cumulative updates(CU), head on to Microsoft SharePoint updates site:

install sharepoint patch

You have to download the relevant patch depending on your SharePoint environment version/edition and patch level.

Download all patches to a network location so that you do not have to download for every server in the farm!

Step 3: Install SharePoint patch Binaries

The next step is to install a service pack/patches to all SharePoint servers (except the database server). You can start with SharePoint App Server(s) that host Central Administration first.

  • Browse to the location where you downloaded patches. 
  • Start the patching process by double clicking the installers (you may have to extract the downloaded binaries!). Accept the license agreement and click on “Continue”.
sharepoint 2013 service pack installation
  •  You should see the installation progress window. You may asked to reboot the server to complete patch installation.
sharepoint 2013 how to patch
  •  Wait for the installation is complete message.
sharepoint 2013 patch installation

Install Patches on All other servers in the Farm:

You must install any patch on every server in your SharePoint farm including WFE and App servers. SharePoint 2013 Products Configuration Wizard is good enough to detect and prevent you from proceeding, If you try to run SharePoint 2013 Products Configuration Wizard without installing binaries on all servers.
sharepoint 2013 patch management

Install all other required binaries before proceeding with the next step.

Step 4: Run SharePoint 2013 Products Configuration Wizard

Once binaries are installed on all SharePoint servers, The next step is to run SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard.

  • Go to start >> Search “SharePoint products configuration wizard” and run PSConfig wizard as administrator. Click on Next to continue.
sharepoint 2013 foundation patch
  • You will get a warning message saying few services will be restarted during this upgrade process. Click Yes and then Click Next
sharepoint 2013 patch installation step by step
  •  SharePoint products configuration wizard will run through the upgrade process. Wait for the wizard to complete.
sharepoint 2013 upgrade patch
  •  When the wizard is completed, click Finish.
sharepoint 2013 patching best practices

Repeat this patch procedure to rest your SharePoint Servers on the farm.

Run SharePoint 2013 Products Configuration Wizard ONE Server at a time:

We have to run SharePoint 2013 products configuration wizard in all other servers. Although SharePoint patch installation can happen simultaneously, I would suggest you run SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard only on ONE server at a time! Start from App Server, which hosts central admin. Once it’s completed, move on to other app servers, and then SharePoint web front ends. SharePoint 2013 patching process may take about 30 minutes on each server.

If you try to run the wizard simultaneously, You’ll get to see SharePoint 2013 places a lock until the configuration gets completed on the other server already running the wizard.

sharepoint determine patch level

Step 5: Verify Installation for SharePoint 2013 Service Pack:

We have successfully installed patches in our SharePoint 2013 environment. To verify patching and make sure installation is successful, let’s check the farm’s build number. There are many ways to find SharePoint build numbers (more info:  How to find SharePoint Farm Build Version Number/Patch Level ). Here is the easiest one:

  • Go to your SharePoint 20103 Central Administration site. 
  • From the Central Administration, navigate to System Settings >> Manage Servers in this Farm
  • From the Servers in this Farm page, under the Farm information section, you will see the Configuration Database Version.
sharepoint 2013 service pack version number

Make sure your new build number matches the patch you have just installed. Also, check the “Manage Servers in this Farm” page in Central Administration. This page will also tell you if you need to run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard on a server to complete the update process. Make sure every server in your SharePoint farm is upgraded and displays status as “No Action Required”.

sharepoint manage patch status

SharePoint 2013 patch status page:
You can check the patch status on each and every individual server with the “Manage patch status page” (Central Administration >> Upgrade and Migration >> Check product and patch installation status.

sharepoint 2013 patch status page

The “Check upgrade status” page gives insights into detailed upgrade status information.

sharepoint patch best practices
Don’t just stop by SharePoint 2013 service pack installation. But apply Windows Server OS
patches and SQL Server patches on regular maintenance windows. Make sure All SharePoint Services are stopped before starting your patching process.

SharePoint 2013 Service installation failed?
In case of failure, review the error log presented to determine the source. Simply re-running the products configuration wizard worked for me many times! or you may have to run psconfig command instead of running the wizard.
psconfig -cmd upgrade -inplace b2b -wait
or try:
PSConfig.exe -cmd upgrade -inplace b2b -force -cmd applicationcontent -install -cmd installfeatures

What is the difference between service pack, Cumulative updates, and hotfixes (or patches)?

  • Hotfix/patch is a update addressing a specific problem/bug/security issue. On Demand – normally not for everyone, you should only apply the patch if you’re having the specific problem it addresses. Microsoft publishes a corresponding KB article for every hotfix that is released for every Microsoft product. 
  • Cumulative Updates  – As their name suggest, they are cumulative in content so they include a collection previously released hotfixes to date. Hotfixes and CUs are not always publicly released.  You’ll get a link to download these hotfixes and CUs on requesting via Microsoft site. 
  • Service pack is a collection of CUs (and patches). It rolls together all patches that have come along over a given period of time. – Usually contains new features and available to public.

Every Hotfix, CU, Service pack you install will increment the version/build number of your SharePoint Farm.

Last but not least: It’s a good idea to have a maintenance page during scheduled downtimes in SharePoint: Maintenance Page for SharePoint – Quick way to Implement  

Salaudeen Rajack

Salaudeen Rajack - Information Technology Expert with Two-decades of hands-on experience, specializing in SharePoint, PowerShell, Microsoft 365, and related products. He has held various positions including SharePoint Architect, Administrator, Developer and consultant, has helped many organizations to implement and optimize SharePoint solutions. Known for his deep technical expertise, He's passionate about sharing the knowledge and insights to help others, through the real-world articles!

4 thoughts on “SharePoint 2013 Patch (Service Pack-CU-Hotfix) Installation Guide – Step by Step

  • Dear Salaudeen, If i have to patch sharepoint 2013 server with service pack1 do i need to follow the same steps as above ?

  • Command line – PSConfig.exe -cmd upgrade -inplace b2b -force -cmd applicationcontent -install -cmd installfeatures fixed failed status issue.

    Thank you !!!


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