2

Both URLs provide the same list of available basemaps. Additionally, basemaps from either site have the same visual quality and draw speed.

For example, the NatGeo World Map can be accessed either at:

https://services.arcgisonline.com/arcgis/rest/services/NatGeo_World_Map/MapServer

or

https://server.arcgisonline.com/arcgis/rest/services/NatGeo_World_Map/MapServer

So... what's the difference? Is one URL preferred over the other? I'm accessing them through QGIS 3.26.1

4
  • All of the services in each are cached map services. It's possible these two sites are used in tandem for offsetting the recaching process. Now, with the release of the basemaps.arcgis.com, I know many basemap services are migrated to that site, and are published as vector tile services. There is also a tiledbasemaps.arcgis.com site that hosts deprecated ArcGIS Online basemaps. In the past, proxies for printing were guided to use service(s).arcgisonline.com. These services don't appear federated either, which makes them openly accessible. Not an answer, but may provide some context.
    – evv_gis
    Aug 19, 2022 at 15:51
  • Thank you. Unfortunately, basemaps.arcgis.com returns the following error: {"error":{"code":400,"message":"Invalid URL.","details":[]}}
    – Stu Smith
    Aug 21, 2022 at 6:33
  • I believe Esri has disabled the REST page for the services on the basemaps.arcgis.com. For example, the following URL takes you to the World Basemap: basemaps.arcgis.com/v1/arcgis/rest/services/World_Basemap/…. You can find others on ArcGIS Online, in this group URL: arcgis.com/home/…
    – evv_gis
    Aug 22, 2022 at 13:25
  • service is a public service layer domain endpoint - providing potentially user specific, restricted access to compound source layer compositions from sources hosted on a server; e.g. in a company using the ESRI enterprise suite, the GIS experts would create and maintain base data on the server and providing thematic map content to users via services. The server resources you are citing are likely public only for demonstration purposes.
    – geozelot
    Aug 23, 2022 at 7:35

1 Answer 1

2
+100

Not a definitive anser, as I cannot prove it, but there's a good chance that there is no difference, apart from the host name.

They both resolve to the same set of IP addresses:

% host server.arcgisonline.com
server.arcgisonline.com is an alias for d3l356eihxfp3l.cloudfront.net.
d3l356eihxfp3l.cloudfront.net has address 18.67.111.95
d3l356eihxfp3l.cloudfront.net has address 18.67.111.50
d3l356eihxfp3l.cloudfront.net has address 18.67.111.110
d3l356eihxfp3l.cloudfront.net has address 18.67.111.81
% host services.arcgisonline.com
services.arcgisonline.com is an alias for d3l356eihxfp3l.cloudfront.net.
d3l356eihxfp3l.cloudfront.net has address 18.67.111.95
d3l356eihxfp3l.cloudfront.net has address 18.67.111.50
d3l356eihxfp3l.cloudfront.net has address 18.67.111.110
d3l356eihxfp3l.cloudfront.net has address 18.67.111.81

That implies that they are running on the same web server. Normal web servers (such as Apache) can be easily configured to host different sites on the same IP address, with the site being based on the host name, instead of the IP address. But I'm not sure if this can be done with ArcGIS Server (assuming it is actually hosted on ArcGIS Server.

Even if it is on ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Server cannot directly host different sites, it would be possible to have different sites on the same IP address by other means, such as reverse proxies sitting in front of ArcGIS Server.

But comparing several pages on the two sites, they are all identical so far. So this, combined with the same IP addresses, indicates that it could be just two host names for the exact same site.

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