Discover Server Admin Responsibilities

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Add Tableau Server sites, users, and groups.
  • Monitor Tableau Server performance.
  • Describe the purpose of Tableau Services Manager.

Introduction to Tableau Server Admins

You can do a lot with Tableau Server, but what that is depends on your role. In this unit, you learn about just a few of the tasks you can do as a server admin. 

Before we get started, check out the Tableau Server Basics module to get an overview of what Tableau Server is all about.

Server admins are responsible for the operation of the server application and ensuring members of their organization are set up to share and explore data visualizations on a Tableau Server site. When it comes to the different site roles, server admins can pretty much do whatever they want. They have full access to Tableau Server settings, all sites on the server, users and groups, and all content assets, such as projects, data sources, and workbooks to monitor and maintain overall server health.

Let’s assume you already have Tableau Server up and running. You won’t learn about everything you can do as a server admin, but will instead focus on some of the day-to-day tasks you might be expected to perform. Keep in mind that there is usually more than one way to accomplish these tasks, and you won’t learn all of them in this module.

The Administrator Areas of Tableau Server

If you’re a server admin, what you see on a Tableau site is a little different from other users. Namely, you have access to administrator pages (site admins can all also see most of these).

Navigation pane showing server admin pages

But you also have the ability to see and manage all the sites on the server, along with other settings at the server level.

Site picker showing “Manage all sites” link at the bottom of dropdown

Add a Site to Your Server

A site is a collection of users, groups, and content that’s walled off from other groups and content on the same instance of Tableau Server. All content (workbooks, projects, data sources, and so on) is published, managed, and accessed on a site-by-site basis.

As a best practice, it’s recommended that you create a new site only when you need to manage a unique set of users and their content separately from other users and content.

Single-Site Servers

Tableau Server comes with one site, named Default. As a server admin, you can add other sites to your deployment or remove them, as well as customize sites for your organization. 

To add a site for the first time, select Settings | Add a Site, then click Add a Site.

Add a Site tab on Settings page.

Multisite Servers

If you’ve added sites before, open the site picker at the top of the Navigation pane, click Manage all sites, then click New Site button.

Edit Site Settings

You can manage different settings for each site on your server, including the site name, storage capacity for published content, and revision history settings. You can also configure web authoring, performance metrics, data-driven alerts, and so much more.

Single-Site Servers

To edit site settings on a single-site server, go to that site’s home page and open the Settings page from the Navigation pane.

Multisite Servers

On a multisite server, open the site picker and click Manage all sites. On the Sites page, click More actions button next to the site name, then select Edit Settings.

Alternatively, you can go to the site directly and open its Settings page there. 

Add Users and Set Their Site Roles

The reason you have Tableau Server is so that you and your colleagues can share Tableau workbooks and data sources. But each person who accesses your server needs to sign in, which means they need to be listed as one of the users you’ve established on the server.

You can add users to Tableau Server one at a time or in batches. In either case, you can add them to the server as unlicensed users (and then add them to sites and assign site roles as you onboard them to Tableau Server), or you can add them to sites and specify their site roles at the same time, at which point they’re ready to sign in. There are other strategies for adding users and assigning site roles, but we focus on these two approaches here.

Add a User to a Single Site

To add a user to a specific site on a multisite server, or to add users on a single-site server, go to the site’s Users page. In both cases, they’ll be added to the server and the site.

Add a User to Multiple Sites

To assign someone to multiple sites on a multisite server, open the site picker and click Manage all sites | Users. Then click Add Users button. Then select all the sites you wish to add the new user to.

Add Multiple Users

To add multiple users in batches, you can import from a file instead. On a multisite server, users imported at the site level will be added to both the site and the server, while users imported at the server level are not assigned a site upon import. For more information, check out Set Users’ Site Roles.


When you add a user, you must also assign them a site role, which defines how much access they have. The site role, by default, assigns the user a corresponding license: Creator, Explorer, or Viewer. It’s this license that determines the maximum capabilities the user has across the server. This means that a user can have a different site role on each site, but have only a single license assigned.

Add and Manage Site Groups

Add Groups

Another task you may be responsible for is organizing users into groups, which makes it easier to manage multiple users who need the same type of access to content.

To create a group for a site, open the Groups page from the Navigation pane, then click Add Group button.

Add Users to a Group

To add a user to a group, open the Users page and select the checkbox next to the user’s name. Then click More actions buttonand select Group Membership. Alternatively, you could also go to a group’s page and add users to the group from there.

Monitor Tableau Server

Server admins are also responsible for monitoring and maintaining the health of their instance of Tableau Server. This includes managing license usage, troubleshooting user issues and errors, and much more. 

Here’s an overview of the general steps you can take to understand and act on performance data in Tableau Server.

  • Notifications: Configure email notifications for important server events, such as when server processes become unavailable and when the server is running out of disk space.
  • Monitoring: Collect and analyze data about Tableau Server to understand how well the server is performing.
  • Tuning: Make adjustments to tasks, configure processes and services, and more to improve performance.
  • Troubleshooting: Use admin views, alerts, and performance recording to identify bottlenecks in resources, workbooks, and more.

Use Tableau Services Manager for Configuration Tasks

One tool you’ll use often as a server admin is Tableau Services Manager (TSM). You can use TSM from either a command-line interface or web interface to configure and maintain your server. Here’s what you can do with TSM.

  • Install and configure Tableau Server.
  • Edit your Tableau Server settings.
  • Back up and restore your server data.
  • Manage Tableau Server licenses.
  • Upgrade Tableau Server.
  • Monitor Tableau Server processes.
  • And so much more.

Now you know just a few of the things you can do as a server admin for Tableau Server. In the next unit, you learn what a site admin can do.


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