Following sites not working in a Hybrid Sites scenario – 401 Unauthorized

Earlier this week, I was at one of my customers which has a SharePoint 2013 implementation. They had an issue where following sites was not working anymore. When they clicked the Follow link, they got an error that the site could not be followed.

They have a hybrid implementation with OneDrive for Business and Hybrid Sites setup.
When I looked in the ULS, I saw the following error popping up

Loud and clear… authentication issues.

Microsoft has an excellent resource where they outline the roadmap to implement hybrid features.

Both roadmaps outline the steps which are needed to set up those features. Since OneDrive for Business was working fine, I focused on the Hybrid Sites features and started going through the steps of the roadmap to see if everything was set up correctly.

  1. Configure Office 365 for SharePoint hybrid – Check!
  2. Set up SharePoint services for hybrid environments – Check!
  3. Install the September PU for SharePoint Server 2013 – We were on the December 2016 CU, so … Check!
  4. Configure S2S authentication from SharePoint Server 2013 to SharePoint Online –  Hmmm… I don’t recall doing this in the past.
  5. Configure hybrid sites features in Central Administration – Check!

Since I was getting authentication issues, and I didn’t recall me doing the S2S authentication configuration step, I figured that this was the cause of the problem.

When you follow the link for that step, you will see that there’s some work to do to set it up. Luckily, Microsoft provided a tool which actually does it for you. It’s called the Hybrid Picker. This simplifies things a bit.

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