Troubleshooting SSPI handshake error

1 min read
Dec 5, 2011

I have seen lots of questions floating in the msdn forums about SSPI Handshake error, the main question is around error code 0x80090311 which is indicative of the authentication failure error. Apart from this, there are many other reasons for SSPI Handshake error to appear in error logs.

What is SSPI ?

SSPI is an abbreviation Security Support Provider Interface, is an API that sends data back and forth until the security provider is satisfied. That means, when a user tries to connect to a SQL Server machine using Windows Authentication, as soon as user clicks login but a security token has been generated for that particular client and is sent to the AD/Authority system to validate the token once it has been authenticated successfully it allows user to login and access the system. Here is the link for further reading on SSPI

In some cases this failed and there could be multiple reasons for this, they could be anything, including:

  1. A domain controller has been rebooted
  2. Server could have some issues with trust relationship with AD
  3. Service Principle Name (SPN) is not configured correctly, refer this link  for how to register SPN
  4. and so on…

How to Troubleshoot this issue?

Microsoft has made a KB article on how to troubleshoot SSPI Error available to fix this issue. However, I would like to give you some more links for reference:

Hope this helps.


I am Hemantgiri S. Goswami, SQL Server DBA and MVP. I have been working with Pythian as Sr. DBA at Pythian since March 2011. I have about 12 years of experience of which 10 years as a hard core DBA; SQL Server Administration, PT and High Availability are my core area of interest.

This is my first post on my company’s blogging space, however I use to blog on my personal blogging space at SQL Server Citation for years, also, I am active in various community forums for SQL Server like MSDN and SQL Server Performance, I also run SQL PASS chapter in Surat, INDIA . I have authored a book on  SQL Server HA which was published on 24th January 2010.

— Hemantgiri S. Goswami

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