Troubleshooting Mobile App Error: Connection Failed

Way back in February this year (it seems like only a couple of days ago) we published a blog post on Troubleshooting Passwordstate App Server/Mobile App Connections.  The focus of that post was ensuring there was data to synchronize, checking the user had access, generating the QR code and making sure the URL and Public Key were correct.  You can access that blog post here

The focus of this blog post is different, in it focuses on troubleshooting the App Error Connection failed message.  This can appear when attempting to scan the QR code into the Mobile App,

But before we start, it’s worthwhile doing a recap on the communications flow between your Mobile App, the App Server and your Passwordstate instance.

Mobile Communication via the App Server

The diagram below offers a high level logical view of the communications flow between a Mobile App and your Passwordstate implementation.  There are two models in the diagram.  The first on the top (green communications lines), shows a Passwordstate instance where the Passwordstate Webserver, Database and App Server are all located on the same box.

The second on the bottom (orange communications lines), shows a Passwordstate instance where the Passwordstate Webserver, Database and App Servers are all located on separate servers.  There are other options such as hosting your App Server, with the Mobile App functional Role, in your DMZ enabling it to be internet facing.  However, the principle of the communications flow between the Mobile app, the App Server and your Passwordstate instance remains essentially the same.

Do you need to Update your software?

To confirm in an update is required to either the App Server or your Mobile App please refer to the following;

  1. Refer to the Upgrades Dependency Matrix in  This will identify if an upgrade is required.  If it is, then follow the instructions under Section 6 App Server Upgrade Instructions.  Once you have upgraded you can test scanning the QR code again.
  • Navigate to either the Play store, or the Apple store to see if there are updates for your device’s Passwordstate Mobile App.  If a new version exists then download and install it.  Again, once you have upgraded you can test scanning the QR code again.

Is your App Server Reachable?

To test to see if your App Server is reachable is straightforward.  This tests the communications from your Mobile App through to the App Server running your Mobile App functional Role.  To do this open the bowser on your Android or iOS Smartphone and enter the App Server URL that is specified in Passwordstate under Administration->System Settings->mobile access options->Mobile App URL and Security

If the App Server is reachable from your smartphone, you’ll see a “200 | Status OK” message like below; 

If you don’t see the “200 | Status OK” message then your App Server URL is not reachable from the smartphone.  This will more than likely be a network related issue (before all the Network Admins start complaining – I used to be one.  Sometimes it is a network related issue).  This can include Firewall or Wi-Fi configuration, or DNS blocking the access.

Confirm your App Server Settings

If you still aren’t able to connect, you’ll need to check your App Server Settings.  The first item to check is that the App Server name is set correctly under Administration->Authorized Web Servers,

The name must be in Netbios format and not specified in FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) format.  If you don’t see your App Server in the display grid on this page then you’ll need to add it by clicking on Add beneath the display grid. 

If the App Server already exists you can check the Functional Roles for that App Server include Mobile App.  To do this click on the name of the App Server and ensure the checkbox for Mobile App is ticked as per the image below,

Check your App Server Web.config File

Next you can check that your App Server’s web.config file is correct.  To do this use Notepad to open the correct web.config file located in C:\inetpub\PasswordstateAppServer.  Look in the <appSettings> section for the following line,

<add key=”SetupStage” value=”Setup Complete” />

If it exists, then someone has accidently added this text into the file. You should delete it and confirm the settings look similar to the image below,

then save your Web.config file, and in IIS, restart the Passwordstate App Server website.  Now you can try the process of scanning in the QR code again.

By following these steps, the majority of issues causing a connection failure can be easily resolved. 

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