The new vSphere Web Client in vSphere 5.1 supports both vCenter Server 5.0 and 5.1, but before you can connect to a 5.0 system, you will need to manually register the vCenter Server with the vSphere Web Client Admin Tool. In the previous release, you could register a vCenter Server using the Admin Tool which was available by connecting to the localhost web application as outlined here or by performing the same operation via the command-line using /usr/lib/vmware-vsphere-client/scripts/ on the VCSA.

It looks like with the latest release, the admin script no longer function ("Cannot connect to vSphere Web Client administration tool.") and since the VCSA does not contain a full blown desktop with a browser like it's ugly Windows cousin ... you will not be able to register any of your existing vCenter Server 5.0 systems. Luckily, you do not need a browser running on the VCSA to perform the registration, you can use the browser on your desktop by simply using SSH port forwarding.

In the example below, I am connecting to my VCSA 5.1 from my iMac via terminal. You will need a system that can reach your VCSA that has a web browser which will be used to access the Admin Tool.

Step 1 -  SSH to your VCSA using the following command, be sure to replace "" with the IP Address or hostname of your VCSA:

ssh [email protected] -L 9443: -N

If the port forward was established correctly, the prompt will just sit there as denoted by the screenshot below.

Note: If you wish for the prompt to return, you can specify the -f flag after "ssh" but this ensures you remember you have a port forwarded.

Step 2 - Open a web browser on your local desktop and connect to the following address:


This should launch the vSphere Web Client Admin Tool and allow you to register your vCenter Server 5.0 hosts.

Even though I was able to get this to work, I personally would still prefer to be able to perform this operation via the command-line. I am still hoping that I might have missed something, but I have been told this might be expected 🙁

2 thoughts on “How to Register a vCenter Server 5.0 with Admin Tool on VCSA 5.1 Using SSH Port Forwarding

    • im trying to register vCenter with vsphere web client on windows server 2012 but i can’t find the admin-app file on my direcotry tree. hoy can i get it or what can i do?

Thanks for the comment!