Internet Information Services (IIS, formerly Internet Information Server) is a Microsoft web server created for use with the Windows NT family.
Windows Web Server first hit the scene in 1995 and since then there has been a different version of IIS available for almost every Windows operating system on the market.
Here’s our list of the best third-party tools for using with IIS Windows Web Server:
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor EDITOR’S CHOICE Monitors servers and the applications that run on them, including IIS sites. This monitor will track the availability of IIS servers and websites – statuses are shown live on the system dashboard and can also be sent as alerts when problems arise. The system monitors CPU usage, memory usage, response time, disk usage, and other key server statuses.
- ManageEngine Applications Manager (FREE TRIAL) A server and application monitoring system that includes specialized screens for IIS monitoring. Runs on Windows Server and Linux.
- Datadog Infrastructure with IIS integration (FREE TRIAL) This is a cloud-based monitoring system that tracks the connections between applications and services and includes specialized IIS monitoring.
- Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (FREE TRIAL) This monitoring system is ideal for IIS management because it monitors network and server statuses as well as application performance.
- Dynatrace A cloud-based monitoring service that can watch the performance of servers, applications, and services, including IIS.
- AppDynamics A SaaS package that has excellent fault investigation tools for IIS.
- IIS Crypto A free extension for IIS that enables you to change IIS statuses, features, and services.
- Orca A configuration management solution for IIS that can centralize the management of IIS servers in several locations.
- eG Enterprise Uses external agents to monitor the performance of IIS-based websites.
Generally speaking, the last version of IIS that is suitable for an enterprise environment is IIS 6 or Microsoft Windows Server 2003. If you try to use any later version of the product you will struggle to function within a fast-paced environment. Below we’ve included a brief breakdown of the version history:
|Version ||Information/ Additional Features
|IIS 6 (Windows Server 2003)||Support for IPV6 but no future updates
|IIS 7||Available with Windows Vista with more security and support for .NET framework
|IIS 7.5||Available with Windows 7 with support for TLS 1.1 and 1.2
|IIS 8 (Windows Web Server 2012)||Support for SNI and offers general support until 2023
|IIS 8.5||Available for Windows 8.1 with more login capabilities and dynamic site activation
|IIS 10||Beta with support for HTTP/2 and PowerShell 5.0
As it stands, IIS 8.5 is the best version in terms of security and features. Once the beta has been completed for IIS 10 then we recommend you make the transition.
How to Install and Configure IIS Server Software
It may surprise you to know that while IIS server does come with Windows it isn’t accessible unless you install it. However, the installation and configuration process is relatively straightforward.
- To begin, open the Control Panel and click Add or Remove Programs.
- Next click Add/Remove Windows Components.
- Check the Internet Information Services (IIS) box and click Next.
- Click Finish.
As you can see, the basic installation process is swift. Once you’ve installed IIS server it is time to configure it.
If you want to use PowerShell to install IIS Windows server then you can do this by entering the following command:
< PS C:\> Install-WindowsFeature -Name Web-Server -IncludeManagementTools >
See also: Powershell Cheatsheet
How does IIS server work?: IIS Processing Model
As a web server IIS has its own Process Engine that handles all requests from client to server. Essentially a client sends a request to the server and then IIS processes that request and sends a response to the client. The processing architecture of IIS can be separated into two distinct layers:
- Kernel Mode – Executed code has complete access to connected hardware and can execute any command. Kernel Mode is mainly used for trusted processes. Crashes in Kernel Mode are devastating to the overall system. You can find HTTP.SYS within Kernel Mode.
- User Mode – In this mode, any code you execute are commands short of accessing hardware or reference memory. This affords an extra layer of protection against mistakes and can be recovered much more quickly. When you execute code in user mode it delegates APIs to interact with hardware and reference memory instead. In User Mode, you’ll find Web Admin Service, Virtual Directory, and Application Pool.
Kernel Mode has the job of using HTTP.SYS to accept requests from a client and forwarding them on to an application pool. This is initiated when the client clicks on or enters the site URL, and requests access to the page. HTTP.SYS captures these requests and adds a queue for each application pool.
Once a request has been forwarded to the application pool, the Worker Process or w3wp.exe (outlined below) loads the ISAPI filter. Depending on the request, the Worker Process opens HttpRuntime.ProcessRequest and if it is an APSX page loads “aspnet_isapi.dll” as well.
The launch of Http.Runtime.ProcessRequest shows that processing has begun. The HttpRuntime process builds a pool of HttpApplication objects, which are then passed on through HTTP. HTTP Modules continue to be activated until the request reaches the HTTP handler of the ASP.NET page. Once the request has passed on through the HTTP route, the page starts.
As you can see, the Worker Process and the Application Pool are two fundamental concepts in the world of IIS. Below we’re going to look further at what these two concepts actually mean:
On the other hand, the Application Pool acts as a container. It contains the Worker Process and segregates multiple applications from each other. This is true whether they are running on one or multiple servers. One application pool can contain multiple websites. Putting it another way, an application pool is basically a group of URLs that have been served by worker processes. Separating applications from one another simplifies management and ensures that if one application pool experiences an error, the others do not.
Configuring IIS Server Software
- Locate the My Computer icon on your desktop and click Manage.
- Click on the Services and Applications option in the Computer Management box.
- Click on Internet Information Services and then Web Sites.
- If your default node hasn’t started, right-click on the Default Web Site node.
Configuring IIS Websites and Active Directories
One of the main reasons why people use IIS is to deploy web applications. With IIS and the Advanced Installer utility, you can deploy web applications on multiple servers very quickly. This also has the advantage of eliminating the need to add new configurations for each machine.
The first step when configuring websites is to open the Files and Folders view. From here you can examine your current application files and add new ones. You want to make sure that your application files are placed in their individual directory (The admin panel of the website you connect to will use these later).
Once you’ve done this switch to the IIS Server view and enter your new website name using the New Web Site toolbar.
At this point, you need to configure your website settings for HTTP and HTTPS. You also need new SSL options for your website. In the section below we show you how to configure a website or folder with SSL and HTTPS:
- Log on to your computer as an Administrator.
- Press Start and go to Settings. Click Control Panel.
- Double-click on Administrative Tools and Internet Services Manager.
- In the left-hand pane select the website you want to configure.
- Right-click on your website (or folder or file) that you want to configure SSL for and click Properties.
- Click on the Directory Security tab.
- Select Edit.
- To add SSL as a requirement, click Require Secure-Channel (SSL).
- Next click Require 128bit Encryption.
- (Optional) If you want users to connect regardless of whether they have a certificate, click Ignore client certificates. If you want to block users without a certificate, select Accept client certificates.
Securing IIS Web Server with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
Most enterprise users are naturally going to want to secure their data against unauthorized access. This can be done through the use of SSL. SSL allows you to encrypt all the data that you transmit. This prevents any outside entities from getting access to data they don’t have permission. To use SSL to secure your server, you need to install a server certification on the server machine. The first step to enabling SSL is to create a certificate. This can be achieved by following the steps below:
- Install Windows Server 2003.
- Ensure that you have IIS Web server installed and configured.
- Install Microsoft Certificate Services (this allows you to create authentication certificates).
- Open Internet Explorer and browse for Microsoft Certificate Services (http://MyCA/certsrv).
- Click Request a Certificate and click Next.
- Next click Advanced request.
- Click Next, then submit a certificate request to this CA using a form. Click Next. This will raise the certificate request form and add the domain name of your server machine.
- Now click Server Authentication Certificate in the Intended Purpose or Type of Certificate Needed field.
- Select either Microsoft RSA SChannel Cryptographic Provider, Microsoft Base Crypto Provider version 1.0 or Microsoft Enhanced Cryptographic Provider. (Take extra care not to select Microsoft Strong Cryptographic Provider).
- Select the Use Local Machine store box and verify that Enable Strong Private Key Protection is unchecked.
- Click Submit. Now you will either have the certificate installed immediately or you will have to wait for it to be administered by the CA administrator.
Designating an SSL Server Certificate to a website
To add an SSL server certificate to a website:
- Open IIS Manager, click on Local Computer, and then the Web Sites folder.
- Look for the website that you want to assign the certificate to and right-click Properties.
- Next, click the Directory Security section and click Server Certificate. (You’ll find this under Secure Communications).
- Raise the Web Server Certificate Wizard and press Assign an existing certificate.
- Complete the Web Server Certificate Wizard process. Once completed, go to the Properties page, select the Directory Security tab and press the View Certificate button (here you can view more information about the certificate).
IIS web server not only allows you to create sites and applications but also allows you to create virtual directories. In IIS you specify a name that maps to a physical directory. The direct name provides users with a way to access the content hosted on a server quickly. In many cases, this is another website, but it can be smaller media elements like photos and videos.
In the older IIS 6.0, virtual directories and applications were considered to be separate objects. An application was comprised of the following metabase components:
As of IIS 7.0 and after, virtual directories and applications are still considered as separate objects but they also exist in a hierarchy. For example, one website can contain multiple applications. In turn, one website can contain multiple virtual directories that lead to a physical directory on a computer.
Log files are used to record a variety of actions on your server. Loading up the log files will show you everything from the date and time of the event, the IP address involved, and the quantity of data transmitted. Most of the time your log files can be found here:
< %SystemRoot%\system32\Logfiles\ >
On most contemporary versions of IIS Windows server, you can find your IIS log files by performing the following actions:
- Click Start and Control Panel.
- Click Administrative Tools and run Internet Information Services (IIS).
- Look for your website on the left-hand side of the tree and select it.
- Next, click the Logging icon.
- Look for the dialog box at the bottom of the screen that says Directory, and click Browse.
If you’re using IIS 6 then:
- Go back to step 3 of the instructions above.
- Right-click on your website and click Properties.
- Find the Website tab and look for the Active Log Format section.
- Click the Properties button and look at the bottom of the box where the log file directory and log file name are shown.
Generally speaking, your server will use port 80 for all of your HTTP traffic. However, if this isn’t suitable for your needs, then you can change it as required. You can do this by following the steps below:
- Open Internet Information Services (IIS Manager).
- Right-click on your website then press Properties.
- In the Properties window find the TCP port box and change it to a port of your choice.
Please note that if you change the port from the default setting when you go to open up your website, you will need to enter your domain name and the new port. For example: domainname:80 (type the number of the port you wish to use instead of 80).
Windows 8 and 8.1
On Windows 8.1 there are a couple of differences:
- Type IIS Manager into the Search Box on the homepage.
- Select Internet Information Services Manager in the search results.
- On the left-hand side of the screen you’ll see a navigation tree; click Default Web Site.
- Next, go to the sidebar on the right hand of the screen and click Bindings.
- Highlight http from the main view and click Edit.
- Enter the new port you want to use in the Port text box.
- Press Ok and click Close.
- Go back to the left-hand tree and select the relevant server node.
- Finally, click Restart Server from the sidebar on the right-hand side.
The Best Third-Party IIS Server Tools
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is an application monitoring platform that can monitor IIS sites. With SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor you can see the availability of IIS servers and websites.
Key metrics like CPU usage, memory usage, response time, and disk usage can all be monitored with this tool. If there is a problem with a site then you can automatically restart it to try and fix the issue.
Graphs and status buttons drive the monitoring experience. Graphs show you details about resource usage and other information so that you can see how an IIS website or server is performing.
For example, graphs are outlining IIS Average CPU and Memory Usage to show how many resources you have available. This helps you to know whether you need to buy more resources or not.
Security-wise, SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor can monitor SSL certificate expiration. The tool can tell you the dates when your SSL certificates expire and the number of days you have left before that point in time. Having this information on hand makes it easy to manage SSL certificates for multiple sites or servers without running the risk of them expiring.
- Offers pre-made templates, monitors, and dashboards for IIS and web server monitoring
- Offers a wide range of integrations into other monitors and security solutions
- Uses drag and drop widgets to customize the look and feel of the dashboard
- Robust reporting system with pre-configured monitors – great for quick insights
- Designed for IT professionals, not the best option for non-technical users
As a performance monitoring solution for IIS, SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor has everything you need to manage IIS resources efficiently. It is also competitively priced, starting at $2,995 (£2,308). There is a 30-day free trial available.
The capabilities of the SolarWinds Server and Applications Monitor make it the best option for system managers who have the responsibility of keeping IIS running smoothly. The graphical displays of the dashboard help decision making to move faster and the performance threshold and alerting system lets you get on with other tasks instead of sitting in front of the screen. The SAM can monitor servers wherever they are, not just on the same site – it will also cover cloud servers. This monitor will cover all of your server and application management tasks, not just those for IIS.
Get 30-day Free Trial: solarwinds.com/server-application-monitor
OS: Windows Server
ManageEngine implements IIS monitoring within its Applications Manager software package. This monitoring tool can also track the performance of the Apache Web Server.
Live status monitoring for IIS includes Application Pool monitoring. The main screen of the IIS monitor lists all operating application pools with a traffic light system that shows the availability and health of each. The system manager can then drill down into each application pool, should problems be indicated. The structure of the monitoring screens means that managers don’t get trapped by only viewing one part of the system and miss critical problems shown in other data screens.
An alerting system means that technical staff don’t have to sit and watch the Applications Manager screens. They can get on with other tasks – many of which would be supported by analytical and performance tuning utilities included in Applications Manager. Performance thresholds are set at levels that allow time for remedial action should problems arise.
Factors covered in Applications Manager screens for IIS include website uptime and response times recording. Other statistics include transfer speeds, connection statuses, counts of users and anonymous visitors, and page code accesses.
The Applications Manager also monitors physical server performance. So, it gives live feedback on server load and the interactions between IIS and its underlying support services. Key metrics such as disk and memory availability and usage and I/O speed are shown live in the application monitoring screens.
- Offers on-premise and cloud deployment options, giving companies more choices for install
- Can highlight inter-dependencies between applications to map out how performance issues can impact businesses operations
- Offers log monitoring to track metrics like memory usage, disk IO, and cache status, providing a holistic view into your database health
- Includes monitors and dashboards tailored for IIS monitoring
- Can take time to fully explore all features and options available
The Applications Manager installs on Windows Server and Linux. ManageEngine makes the tool available for a 30-day free trial.
Datadog Infrastructure is a cloud-based monitoring system that traces the performance of applications and service that lie behind user-facing interfaces, such as websites.
The system, in its bare form, tracks basic services. However, the system can be expanded by integrations. There is an integration for IIS. The benefit of the integration system is that it avoids the dashboard for the system being cluttered with functions that monitor services that the customer doesn’t have. By this strategy, the subscriber adds on integrations for all relevant services when beginning a subscription to the monitoring system. The result of this adaptation process is a tailored monitoring service that focuses on just the applications and services that the subscribing business uses.
The IIS monitor tracks more than 180 metrics about the web server’s operations. The type of data that the monitor collects concerns the proper functioning of the services performed by IIS, such as managing connection and maintaining applications, such as HTTP. The dashboard shows connection counts in terms of requests served, those rejected and the number of connections dropped. The system notes service availability, latency, response times, and function calls.
As well as monitoring the IIS Web server, the Datadog Infrastructure service keeps track of the performance of load balancers and network services.
- Easy to use customizable dashboards – displays IIS/web server metrics quickly
- Cloud-based SaaS product allows monitoring with no server deployments or onboarding fees
- Can monitor both internally and externally giving network admins a holistic view of network performance and accessibility
- Offers numerous other monitors – great for scaling your monitoring efforts to other systems
- Flexible pricing makes DataDog accessible to nearly all businesses
- Would like to see a longer trial period for testing
Datadog Infrastructure is a subscription service with a rate per month per host, although most customers take the cheaper option of paying annually. There are three editions to the service and the first of these is Free. That option doesn’t get access to the IIS integration and it can only monitor five hosts. The two paid plans are Pro and Enterprise. The higher plan includes machine learning for performance baselining and premium support. You can get a 14-day free trial of the system.
PRTG Network Monitor is a free network monitoring tool that can be used to monitor IIS services. With PRTG Network Monitor you can use the dedicated Windows IIS Application Sensor to monitor sent and received bytes per second, number of sent and received files per second, number of anonymous and known users per second, number of common gateway interface requests per second, and more.
While monitoring IIS Windows server performance can be challenging, PRTG Network Monitor analyzes performance right down to the application source code. For instance, PRTG Network Monitor measures the loading time of the source code to spot problems as early as possible.
Likewise, alerts can be configured to alert you once a predefined threshold has been crossed. Alerts are sent to your email, SMS, or mobile device (through push notifications) to make sure that you’re always up-to-date.
PRTG Network Monitor can also monitor physical hardware performance. In many instances, the performance of physical hardware will have a tremendous impact on the performance of IIS services. As such, using PRTG Network Monitor’s infrastructure monitoring capabilities to track hardware CPU and memory can catch performance issues in their infancy.
The performance monitoring experience offered by PRTG Network Monitor is perfect for enterprises on a shoestring budget. PRTG Network Monitor is free up to the first 100 sensors.
- Uses both premade and customizable sensors to monitor web servers and IIS
- Drag and drop editor makes it easy to build custom views and reports
- Monitors both network and server metrics – provides a more holistic view
- Supports a free version
- Is a very detailed platform with many features that require time to learn
However, there are several paid versions available for larger organizations. Paid versions of PRTG Network Monitor start at $1600 (£1,233) for 500 sensors. You can download a 30-day free trial.
Dynatrace is an application monitoring platform that can monitor IIS server performance. Through the dashboard you can view the availability of existing web servers and delve down into web server process groups.
For instance, you can see active services and dependent applications with information like the application version immediately visible. Once you install the Dynatrace Agent you can also see All Requests, Response times, Response sizes, Active threads, CPU usage, and memory usage.
The fast-track configuration capabilities of Dynatrace make it a powerful tool. There is an autodiscovery feature that can automatically detect IIS web servers in your network. All you need to do is install one agent and Dynatrace will do the rest of the work for you. These services are then displayed to you on an interactive map so that you can view your IIS architecture in more detail.
Another great feature is the ability to visualize IIS service requests. On the Service Flow screen, you can view an IIS service from start to finish. Here you are shown a chart that details each service request type. This feature allows you to see what processes contribute to the response time of IIS.
- Sleek, customizable interface
- Track IIS metrics such as incoming requests and response times
- Can visualize complicated physical connections with ease
- Better suited for larger enterprise networks
- Would like to see a longer 30-day trial period
For end-to-end IIS monitoring, Dynatrace is one of the top performance monitors on the market. To find out the price of Dynatrace you’ll have to contact the company directly. However, there is a 15-day free trial.
AppDynamics is an application performance monitoring solution that offers a flawless IIS monitoring experience. AppDynamics monitors the throughput, memory usage, Disk I/O, and CPU utilization of IIS web servers. The platform is straightforward to deploy and can be installed in just a few minutes.
The user interface is extremely user-friendly. IIS applications are automatically discovered and displayed as part of a flow map. The flow map displays the transactions that are occurring with a web server or application.
If you want to view memory information then clicking the memory tab will show you the real-time memory utilization of your resources. This information is displayed as line graphs so that you can view the change over time.
Where AppDynamics excels as a IIS monitoring solution is in its diagnostic capabilities. The tool automatically provides you with code level data if an application is slow or a bottleneck is detected. By viewing the code execution you can see where the problem originated and find a solution.
- Tailored for large-scale enterprise use
- Excellent dependency mapping and visualizations to help troubleshoot complex application systems
- Leverages AI and machine learning to provide root cause analysis and remediation steps
- Would benefit from a longer 30-day trial period
- Many features are designed for larger more complex networks – not ideal for smaller networks
The root cause abilities of AppDynamics are essential for those who want a performance monitoring solution. AppDynamics supports Microsoft IIS Express 7.x, Microsoft IIS 6.0, Microsoft 7.0, Microsoft 7.5, and Visual Studio development server. You can download the 15-day day SaaS trial.
IIS Crypto is an IIS extension that can enable or disable protocols, hashes, and key exchange algorithms. The user interface is easy to use, with six main tabs: sChannel, Cipher Suites, Advanced, Templates, Site Scanner, and About.
On the sChannel screen you can enable or disable different features and protocols. There are five lists you can interact with: Server Protocols, Ciphers, Hashes, Key Exchanges, and Client Protocols. On the Cipher suites page you can reorder cipher suites.
The next most notable feature is that of templates. You can create custom protocol templates that can be run on multiple servers. This helps to make managing multiple sites or applications more convenient. However, it is essential to note that you need to have administrator privileges to use IIS crypto.
- Completely free extension
- Designed specifically for IIS
- Improves upon basic IIS functionality
- Not the best solution for those looking to scale their monitoring beyond IIS
One of the biggest perks of IIS Crypto is that it is completely free. IIS Crypto is available for Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2019. The software is available as a GUI or a command line interface. You can download IIS Crypto free of charge.
Orca is a configuration management solution for IIS web server. When using Orca you can compare the differences between different IIS configurations automatically. Configurations can be compared between environments and different points in time.
Once you’re ready to make changes you can deploy configuration changes up to hundreds of servers. Any non-compliant configuration changes can be scrapped immediately.
The security documentation features offered by Orca are also very useful. Orca automatically reports configuration changes so that you have a record of what changes have been made. Having these reports readily available is not only useful for regulatory compliance but also improves visibility.
Orca is one of the more convenient configuration management solutions on the market. If you’re looking to manage configurations across multiple IIS sites then Orca is highly recommended. The pricing options for Orca is only available if you contact the company directly.
- Provides configuration management for IIS – great for backups and quick recovery from erroneous changes
- Can aid in compliance enforcement
- Comes with built-in ISS reporting and audits
- Must contact sales for quote
- Not designed to monitor other platforms or infrastructure
eG Enterprise is a performance monitoring platform with IIS monitoring. eG Enterprise monitors the availability and response time of transactions between IIS websites and users. Monitoring the user experience is eG Enterprise’s primary concern with IIS monitoring. The external agent tests the quality of the user experience in different locations by using request emulation and measuring the response time users are experiencing.
The internal transaction monitoring of eG Enterprise breaks down the request rate of individual web transactions, average response times, and the number of aborts by web transactions. With this information, you can pinpoint if your site is living up to expectations or needs to be tweaked further.
- Can monitor a wide range of ISS environments
- Threshold-based altering can notify when web servers go offline or become slow due to resource-related issues
- Offers root-cause analysis to help technicals solves issues faster, resulting in more uptime
- Doesn’t offer a freeware version
eG Enterprise can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud as a license or subscription. However, you need to contact the sales team to view a quote. There is a free evaluation version which supports up to five servers as a cloud-deployed platform. You can download a free trial.
Tools for monitoring IIS server
Once you have IIS set up, you will need to keep ahead of any possible problems. Monitoring a complex application, such as IIS takes a lot of resources and you can reduce the amount of staff that you need to dedicate to the task by introducing automated tools.
SolarWinds Microsoft Management Tools can watch out for key attributes in the performance of IIS. You will particularly need the Web Performance Monitor and the Server and Application Monitor to keep IIS running smoothly. Both of these tools are written to a common platform, called Orion. This enables them to connect together into a contiguous tool. Both tools will also help you manage other Microsoft products, including Exchange Server, Sharepoint, and Office 365.
- Can monitor hardware and IIS health statistics in one platform
- Users can monitor as little or as much as they want through modular add-ons
- Designed to easily monitor ISS and other Microsoft environments
- Offers built-in alert and data visualization
- Designed for system administrators – not ideal for home networks
These monitoring systems are not free to use. However, you can get both of them on a 30-day free trial.
1. UrlScan 3.1
UrlScan 3.1 is a security tool that helps to protect IIS web servers against cyber attacks. There are a number of added protections that you get from using UrlScan 3.1 that you don’t get from the standard version of IIS.
First, this tool can restrict HTTP requests that will be processed by IIS. Blocking some HTTP requests is advantageous because it protects against requests that can be part of a cyber attack.
Also, UrlScan 3.1 can also filter HTTP values and headers to eliminate the risk of SQL injection attacks. This is done by creating deny rules which prohibit certain requests that could be malicious. To make sure that you don’t block out legitimate connections there is also an AlwaysAllowedUrls section where you can specify URLs that should always be permitted.
For further information, UrlScan 3.1 also provides log files that you can use for more sophisticated analysis. In practice, log files help to provide additional information on errors and other problematic activity on IIS. With this information, you can make changes and deliver a more reliable service.
On account of its security features, UrlScan 3.1 is an essential download. It helps to supplement some of the security limitations that come with an unmodified version of IIS. UrlScan 3.1 supports IIS 5.1, IIS, 6.0, and IIS 7.0 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. You can download UrlScan 3.1 for free here.
2. URL Rewrite 2.1
URL Rewrite is another IIS extension that allows the user to create rules to modify URL rewriting behavior. By configuring URL rules the user can change how HTTP headers, responses, or request headers are rewritten.
In the context of an organization, configuring URL rules is useful as an administrator can configure a rule. URLs can be created that are easy for users to remember and simple to index for search engines.
Having URLs that are easy to index on search engines is a valuable step towards making your site or application available to clients. URLs that are search engine-friendly increase the visibility of your site. You don’t have to write your own rules for this either. There are many rule templates included out-of-the-box to help you get started.
URL Rewrite is also an excellent tool because it updates the user interface in IIS Server Manager. Having an integrated tool that allows you to create new rules helps to manage URLs much more effectively. As an extension for IIS, URL Rewrite 2.1 is available for free. You can download this tool here.
3. IIS Manager for Remote Administration 1.2
IIS Manager for Remote Administration 1.2 is vital for any enterprise looking to manage IIS remotely. You can manage IIS remotely on devices with Windows XPand up.
You can perform the majority of the functions you could on the original IIS without being onsite. Administration privileges can be used to restrict access to those employees who require access.
Managing remotely with IIS Manager for Remote Administration 1.2 is also secure, using HTTP over SSL. There are also automatic downloads where features are downloaded on the local IIS Manager that have already been installed on the web server. This simplifies the manual administrative concerns that come with remote updates.
For teams working remotely or looking to share control of web applications across multiple sites, IIS Manager for Remote Administration 1.2 is an absolute must. IIS Manager for Remote Administration 1.2 is available for IIS 7, IIS 7.5, IIS 8, and IIS 8.5. You can download the tool for free via this link here.
4. Web Deploy 3.6
Web Deploy 3.6 or msdeploy is a tool that integrates with IIS to synchronize IISsites, servers, and applications. When synchronizing, Web Deploy 3.6 can detect the difference between two locations and make only the necessary changes to synchronize servers. Using this tool is more efficient because it identifies which data needs to be synchronized rather than attempting to do everything from scratch.
Another use case where Web Deploy 3.6 is very valuable when deploying web applications. The user doesn’t need any user administrative privileges to deploy updates. However, the server administrator still has the control to delegate tasks to lower-ranked users without administrative privileges. In other words, deploying web applications is much easier and less restrictive than it is in the default version of IIS.
For enterprises looking to synchronize IIS sites and deploy web applications, Web Deploy 3.6 is a must have. Web Deploy 3.6 is available for IIS 7, IIS 7.5, IIS 8, IIS 8.5, and IIS 10. You can download Web Deploy 3.6 for free here.
IIS Resources You Should Know
There are many different sources of valuable IIS information. We have listed some of the best below so that you can learn more about IIS works:
If you’re looking for information on IIS then this site should be at the top of your list. This is the official Microsoft IIS site that provides downloads news, updates, and guides on how to use Microsoft IIS.
There are almost 30 different Microsoft-supported downloads from the site. These include IIS Compression, Web Platform Installer, IIS CORS Module, HttpPlatformHandler v1.2, IIS Manager for Remote Administration 1.2, WinCache Extension for PHP, Administration Pack, Advanced Logging, and Application Initialization Module for IIS 7.5.
Blog posts on this website include IIS PowerShell Cmdlets, Getting Started with the IIS CORS Module, and Using Azure Activity Log to Check the Progress of Deployment Slots Swap Operation.
Another excellent resource for IIS downloads is the Microsoft website itself. The Microsoft website has a range of IIS downloads and an IIS-specific course for you to incorporate to improve your IIS experience. Some of the most helpful downloads are listed below:
- IIS Database Manager – Allows you to manage local and remote databases through IIS Server Manager
- IIS PowerShell Snap-in – Allows you to automate the administration of website creation and configurations
- Administration Pack for IIS 7.0 – Provides a range of tools and extensions with additional administrative capabilities
- IIS Advanced Logging – Adds real-time logging on the client and server side as well as more data collection capabilities
Unfortunately, we could only find one course relating to IIS, but it is still a valuable resource for when you’re starting out with IIS. The course title is 10972B Administering the Web Server (IIS) Role of Windows Server. The course is available over five days in a classroom or provides you with three-months worth of online access if you choose to do it online
Channel 9 is a Microsoft-driven website that is led by a group by a group of developers who discuss various technologies. There is a substantial amount of video content on this site relating to IIS, including the IIS show. However, the site also features tutorial-driven content such as the Extending IIS Configuration video. This site is recommended if you want to get a feel for IIS and older versions of IIS (IIS content hasn’t been updated for some time so this is not suitable for later versions of IIS).
When it comes to technical content on IIS you’ll be hard-pressed to beat Stackify. Stackify is a company that specializes in providing tailor-made tools and content for developers and other IT professionals. There are currently over 100 articles and tutorials on IIS. Live articles include:
- What is IIS Express: How it Works, Tutorials and More
- How to Read and Customize IIS Log Files
- How to Monitor IIS Performance: From the Basics to Advanced IIS Performance Monitoring
Techadmin is a tech blog that was started in 2013 by Rahul Kumar. The site has been designed specifically to help Windows and Linux Network Administrators to get the most out of their tools. There are many different IIS articles on the site that offer some of the most accessible guides you’ll find online. Past articles on IIS include:
- How to Install IIS on Windows 8 and Windows 10
- How to Set Default Document in IIS
- How to Create Website in IIS On Windows
- How to Restart IIS via Command Line
Another excellent resource is Accelebrate IIS training. The Accelebrate website has several IIS courses with an average rating of 4.66 out of 5. These courses are based on 60% labs and 40% lectures so that you get the right balance of building your theoretical and practical knowledge. These are paid courses so you’ll need to contact the company directly to request a price. Accelebrate’s IIS courses are as follows:
In the IIS 10 Administration course students will learn how to plan for and install an IIS installation, as well as building their knowledge of the overall architecture of IIS. You’ll also learn how to perform day-to-day administration tasks by using IIS Manager, PowerShell, and AppCmd.
While this is technically part of the IIS site the forum deserves its own section based on how useful it is in its own right. Here you can find a vast range of information on IIS and various features. The forum provides information on general IIS issues, extensions, security, configurations, web farms, performance, and troubleshooting. So if you have a question that you need an answer to, taking a trip to the IIS forums will likely include what you need.
IIS is a Windows Web Server at the Top of the Game
That concludes our guide to using IIS. IIS software can be needlessly complicated sometimes, but once you get the basics down like how to configure your website, then you’re well on your way to nailing the learning curve. The key is to keep at it, as learning to use the second-largest Windows web server in the world is more than worth the initial struggle you face when new to the utility.
Remember that an IIS server can be considerably different depending upon the operating system you’re using. If you don’t see the version of IIS you’re using supported in this article then there are plenty of other online resources covering all facets that you can think of. You’ll have to mix and match, but you’ll be able to piece together more specific guidance for your system.
IIS Web Server FAQs
What are the characteristics of IIS server?
The main characteristic of IIS is that it manages the hosting of websites. Apart from storing static web pages, the IIS system is able to manage services and web applications such as ASP.NET. Another feature of IIS is its ability to act as an FTP server. Among the characteristics of IIS is the integration of the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) framework that provides support for service-oriented applications. IIS can be extended to include the capability to host PHP sites and web applications built on other platforms.
How do I install IIS management scripts and tools?
Follow these steps to install ISS management scripts and tools.
- Get to the IIS dashboard by selecting Administrative Tools from the Start menu and then click on Server Manager.
- In the Server Manager, expand the Roles node and select Web Server (IIS).
- Click on Add Role Services to get the Select Role Services screen. You will be in the Role Services section of this window.
- In the main panel of the screen click on IIS Management Scripts and Tools. Click the Next button at the bottom of the window.
- Click the Install button at the bottom of the Confirm Installation Selections screen.
- Watch the installation progress until it completes.
- Check the details in the Installation Results screen and press the Close button.
IIS management scripts and tools will now be available in the Server Manager.
Can I run IIS on Windows 10?
Yes. Follow these steps to activate IIS on Windows 10 and run it.
- Click on the settings cog icon in the Start menu.
- Type Turn Windows features on or off in the search field and select this option from the results.
- Scroll through the folder structure in the Windows Features popup. Check the Internet Information Services node box to activate it.
- Press OK to close the popup.
- Open any web browser and type in http://localhost/ to check that IIS is working.
To run IIS on Windows 10 follow these steps.
- Click on the Start button.
- Scroll through the programs list to find Windows Administrative Tools
- Expand that folder to find Internet Information Services (IIS)
You will now see the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager dashboard.
How do I monitor IIS requests?
You first need to activate the Request Monitor. These instructions are for IIS 8 on Windows Server.
- Select Administrative Tools from the Start menu and then click on Server Manager.
- Expand the Roles node and select Web Server (IIS).
- Click on Add Role Services to get the Select Role Services screen.
- Scroll down to the Health and Diagnostics section. Click on Request Monitor.
- Press the Next button at the bottom of the screen.
- Click the Install button at the bottom of the Confirm Installation Selections screen.
- Watch the installation progress until it completes.
- Check the details in the Installation Results screen and press the Close button.
Then monitor IIS requests by following these steps.
- Go to the IIS Manager.
- Select the web server you want to monitor and look at the Home Features view.
- Go to the IIS section and open the Worker Processes view.
- Select the process that you want to monitor.
- In the Actions pane, click on View Current Requests.