Primer on Server Base URL

One frequently asked question I get is about the “Base URL” setting within the LiveCycle Rights Management ES server configuration. What is this for? It’s a global setting that is used in several places where the server must identify its location to a remote client. The text is used as a “base” for deriving various types of server URLs. Here is a screenshot of the relevant configuration section of the administrative web console:

Here are two examples of its use in the system:

  • Have you ever wondered how, when somebody opens a RM protected document, the client determines your credentials and decrypts the document? “Baked” into each protected document are two important pieces of unencrypted information: a globally unique identifier (the document GUID), and the server address that the client contacts to receive authorization to decrypt and open the document. The server address is a derivative of the base URL that the administrator configured when setting up the server.
  • When an author or recipient performs a “web-based action” on a particular document, the client will automatically receive a single-sign-on-based redirect to a web age populated with the appropriate information. For example, the client-based request to view the audit history of a document opens a web browser showing which users have viewed, modified, or printed a protected document. The end-user experience is seamless, and the redirect instruction is derived from the base url of the document.


The advantage of deriving URLs from this base URL is that it simplifies the end-user experience, as outlined above, and gives flexibility to customers implementing a LiveCycle Rights Management server. This flexibility means that administrators can leverage DNS as a layer of indirection between client and ultimate server(s). DNS, for example, can provide different routes to a server depending on whether a document viewer is located inside or outside of a company’s network. It can also be used in with a load-balanced cluster to ensure that LiveCycle Rights Management runs as a high-availability and high-throughput system.

However, when configuring this URL you need to be careful: by changing settings on the server, you may orphan existing secured documents if you neglect to update DNS to point to the new server. Also, because of the sensitive information communicated between our server and clients (e.g., Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader, the LiveCycle Rights Management ES Extensions for Microsoft Office, PTC Pro/ENGINEER, …), we strongly advocate that the URL specified be HTTPS such that the communication is done over SSL. In fact, most of our clients will refuse to talk to a server URL that is not specified as HTTPS. (Specifying a HTTP-based URL will attempt to force the client to communicate over HTTP, however this is likely to fail because our clients generally do not support non-SSL connections.)

Need more information on how your organization can effectively manage and protect your intellectual property? Further information can be obtained at or by contacting Adobe