SharePoint 2013 – Error while creating a new site “New-SPSite : User cannot be found.”


I wanted to do a content deployment to a new farm and wanted to create a new blank site using powershell:

New-SPSite -Url http://<servername>:8080/sites/test –OwnerEmail  <email address> –OwnerAlias domain\<account>


. While trying to create a new site, I got the following error:

New-SPSite : User cannot be found.
At line:1 char:2
+  New-SPSite -Url http://<servername>:8080/sites/tes
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidData: (Microsoft.Share…SPCmdletNewSite:SPCmdletNewSite) [New-SPSite], SPException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell.SPCmdletNewSite


I was initially stumped. Only the other day I had created a new site successfully, why would it fail now?

I tried creating a new site using Central Administration and it still failed with error “Sorry, something went wrong   User cannot be found”:



But, I was able to create a new site collection on another farm using the same account. Also I was able to create a new site collection on on a new test web application on the problem server with this user account.

Turns out the issue was due to enabling Trusted Identity Provider (STS) for Forms login for external users  on an extended site. For some reason, after enabling STS,  SharePoint was failing to identify Windows NT id .

Funny thing was this was not enabled on http://<servername>:8080/sites/test but on extended site http://<servername>:80/sites/test. I have not investigated on why this happens yet.




So, my best guess is, with STS enabled SharePoint wants to resolve users in the format  i:0#.w|domain\account and this creates problem. (btw, I had already tried creating a new site using

New-SPSite -Url http://<servername>:8080/sites/test –OwnerEmail <email address> –OwnerAlias  i:0#.w|domain\account

But that did not work either.

But what I did find was that if I disabled the Trusted Identity provider by unchecking the box, I could create a new site without error.


3 responses to “SharePoint 2013 – Error while creating a new site “New-SPSite : User cannot be found.”

  1. I had this same issue and my problem turned out to be that I hadn’t configured user profile synchronization. As you noticed yourself, my site creation worked fine when no additional Identity providers were configured, but when enabling one, I had to also configure user profile synchronization, for which I used SharePoint Active Directory Import for my sites creation to work.

  2. ….Scratch that, I was wrong. Thought it worked, but I had unintenionally in fact disabled the trusted Identity provider and was able to create my sites for New users.

  3. In my case i tried all the above solutions it did not worked i simply removed the SP User Profile Service connection from the Web Application proxy connections and re-executed the command then this worked.

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