How to use ArcGIS Server services in ArcGIS Online

ArcGIS Online has the capability to use various resources from the Web. There are occasions when you may need to use an ArcGIS Server service to provide background or operational data in your maps. The are two ways to add such content to a map. This article explains how to do this.


A. Add a service to My Content

You can add ArcGIS Server services, KML, and OGC WMS. You can also add documents and images stored on the web. When you add an item from the web, you are referencing the REST endpoint (URL) which means that ArcGIS Online is only referencing the service, it does not store your data.

To add an item from the web, follow the steps below.

  1. Log in to your ArcGIS Online for Organisations account. 
  2. Open My Content and click on the Add Item button. The 'Add Item' window appears.
  3. Choose 'On the web' from the 'The item is:' drop-down list. 
  4. Choose the type of item:
    • ArcGIS Server web service—For more information, see About ArcGIS Server services.
    • KML—For more information, see About KML.
    • OGC WMS—For more information, see About OGC.
    • Document—Documents include spreadsheets, presentations, tables, images, and other documents stored on the web.
  5.  Type the REST URL of the service or document, for example:


    To find the REST URL of an ArcGIS Server service, open the Services Directory page on your ArcGIS Server, for example:

    and browse to the service you want to share. You can then copy the URL from the browser's address bar. Do not append any parameters, such as a token, to the URL.

  7. If you added a secured service, enter a user name and password for an account that has access to the service, and select whether or not you want the credentials stored with the service item. If the credentials are not stored with the item, you will be prompted for them every time you access the service. If the credentials are stored with the item, you will not be prompted for credentials.
  8. (If you added an OGC WMS, choose the layers you want to be visible.)

  9. Type a title.
  10. Type tags. Alternatively, you can click the 'Choose from your tags' link to open the list of tags you've previously used, and choose the tags you want to use for this item. Tags are words or short phrases that describe your item. Separate terms with commas. ('Federal land' is considered one tag, while 'Federal, land' is considered two tags.)
  11. Click the Add Item button.


Once you've added the item, it appears on My Content, and you can edit the item details and share it.


B. Add a service to the current map

If you are composing a map in ArcGIS Online and you need to add some data from your ArcGIS Server (that hasn't been added to My content), you can follow the steps below.


  1. Click on ‘Add’ and select Add Layer from Web.
  2. Select the correct content from the 'What type of data are you referencing?' drop-down list.
  3. Once selected, you need to enter the URL of the service, for example,

    If you want, you can use this service as the basemap of your map selecting 'Use as Basemap'.

  5. Click on Add Layer.
  6. If the service is secured, a 'Sign in' dialog will be displayed to enter your credentials.
  7. Enter the credentials if needed and click on OK.

  8. Your data will be added to the current map.