Windows Server 2008 : Installing and Configuring Websites (part 2) - Configuring IIS 7.5 Website Properties

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Configuring IIS 7.5 Website Properties

In the not-so-distant past, right-clicking a website or default website in IIS Manager and then selecting Properties gave you options for modifying the default settings and properties for a website. This is no longer the case as the property pages and tabs have been overhauled in IIS 7.5. In their place are feature icons in the central pane and tasks in the Actions pane. For simplicity, this section describes only the feature icons–associated properties pages in IIS 7.5.

The Features View tab is located in the Central Details pane. Some of the feature icons are connected to this tab for the purpose of configuring properties associated with a website. From here, you can control everything associated with application development, HTTP features, health, diagnostics, performance, and security. These options are as follows:

  • IIS 7.5 Features Associated with ASP.NET

  • IIS 7.5 Features Associated with IIS

  • Management Features

IIS 7.5 Features Associated with ASP.NET

The following bullets highlight the feature icons and respective configuration pages associated with an ASP.NET configuration:

  • .NET Authorization Rules feature page— Use this page to control access to a website and application by configuring Allow and Deny rules and specifying users, roles, and user groups.

  • .NET Compilation feature page— Use this page to configure ASP.NET configuration settings. Settings are configured based on the following high-level elements: Batch, Behavior, General, and Assemblies.

  • .NET Error Pages feature page— This page is used to configure HTTP error responses for when an error occurs on a website or application.

  • .NET Globalization feature page— This page controls international settings tailored toward local language and cultural environments. As the world converges and the global climate is getting smaller, this is a great feature to leverage to translate and format content by reutilizing the existing code and automatically presenting it to different geographical locations.

  • .NET Profile feature page— A list of profile properties is used to track custom data about an application with this feature page.

  • .NET Roles feature page— This page is used to create predefined roles for managing groups of users’ authorization access. This concept is also known as role-based security. To leverage this feature, a default provider must be configured. The two options available are AspNetWindowsTokenRoleProvider and AspNetSqlRoleProvider.

  • .NET Trust Levels feature page— This page is used to specify the trust level for managed objects, such as modules, handlers, and applications in the Web.config file.

  • .NET Users feature page— This feature page identifies and manages the identities of users for an application. The feature controls the identity management behavior for users defined for an application. When a user is created, the page displays name, email addresses, data created, and last logon.

  • .NET Application Settings feature page— To manage the variables associated with key/value pairs stored in the website’s .config file, this feature page is recommended. The application setting variables and value elements are created by selecting Add Task from the Actions pane. These settings can be accessed from anywhere within the application.

  • Connections Strings feature page— This page is dedicated to creating and managing connections strings for managed web applications. By selecting Add Task in the Actions pane, you can create connections strings to SQL Server for database access. Typically, the credentials used to access the database are Windows Integrated; however, it is possible to specify a SQL Server account as well.

  • Machine Key feature page— Because IIS 7.5 is tightly integrated with .NET web services and there is a major push for security, this page is used to manage encryption. You can enter encryption and decryption methods, including key generations to secure forms-based authentication, cookie, and page-level view state data.

  • Pages and Controls feature page— This page manages how the setting of ASP.NET pages and controls are compiled on the web server. New controls can be registered by selecting the task from the Actions pane. Additional elements can be configured, such as the behavior, user interface, view state, compilation, general, and services.

  • Providers feature page— When you want to manage and administer a list of providers the web server can take advantage of, use this features page. Default examples include AspNetSqlRoleProvider and AspNetWindowsTokenRoleProvider. Additionally, providers can be added by users by selecting Add from the Actions pane.

  • Session State feature page— This page, as displayed in Figure 3, is leveraged when it is necessary to control the behavior of information across browser sessions. It is possible to enable or disable a session state or store a session state in the web browser or in a SQL Server database. Additional elements include defining how cookies are processed when managing session states. Options include Auto Detect, Use Cookies, Use Device Profile, or Use URI.

    Figure 3. Viewing the Session State feature page.
  • SMTP E-Mail feature page— The final ASP.NET feature is SMTP E-Mail that uses the System.Net.Mail API. The feature page, as illustrated in Figure 4, includes properties that need to be specified, such as email address, SMTP server name, and port to control message sending functionality from the web server.

    Figure 4. Viewing the SMTP E-Mail feature page.
IIS 7.5 Features Associated with IIS

The following bullets highlight the feature icons and respective configuration pages associated with IIS configurations:

  • ASP feature page— The first IIS feature page in the list is ASP. This page is meant for managing classic ASP settings, such as the following elements: Behavior, Compilation, Services, Caching Properties, Com Plus Properties, and Sessions Properties.

  • Authentication feature page— The Authentication page is synonymous to the legacy Security tab in IIS. This page is used to configure security authentication. Security can be administered for a web server, website, or a specific page. Authentication such as Anonymous, ASP.NET Impersonation, Basic Authentication, Digest Authentication, Forms Authentication, and Windows Authentication can be configured. Take note as Anonymous authentication is enabled by default and might have to be disabled before a different authentication method can be used. In the past, these authentication types existed out of the box. However, with the modularized installation approach, each element now needs to be selected separately during the installation process.

  • Authentication Rules feature page— Use this page to enforce control of web content access by utilizing Allow or Deny rules. Other IIS features such as Users and Roles are associated with this feature as you can specify Allow and Deny rules to already created users and roles.

  • CGI feature page— IIS 7.5 supports CGI applications. This page is used to configure CGI properties, which allows these applications to run on an IIS 7.5 web server. Additional elements on this page control other aspects of CGI applications, including CGI timeout values, whether or not a CGI application runs in its own console, and, finally, the security context the application will utilize.

  • Compression feature page— There are two options available on this page that enhance transmission times between the server and browsers. The compression elements that can be configured consist of compressing static content and compressing dynamic content.


    For clients to leverage this feature, they must use a web browser that supports compression, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0. In addition, the use of dynamic compression can increase processor utilization.

  • Default Document feature page— Similar to the concept in earlier versions of IIS, the Default Document page is used to select the default web page that appears when a user connects to a site. An example is default.htm. This feature can be enabled or disabled via the Actions pane.

  • Directory Browsing feature page— This feature is disabled out of the box. By selecting the Enable task in the Actions pane, this page can be used to configure directory browsing functionality. The elements that can be selected include Time, Size, Extension, Date, and Long Date.

  • Errors feature page— The Errors feature page is similar to the Cluster Errors tab on earlier versions of IIS. An administrator can use this page to create custom error messages for web server clients. It is possible to edit a default error or create a new error page.

  • Failed Request Tracing Rules feature page— This setting is used to manage a list of tracing rules for failed requests. The Failed Request Tracing Rules Wizard is invoked by clicking Add in the Actions pane. The wizard walks you through the creation of the trace by first requesting information on what will be traced. The options include All Content, ASP.NET, ASP, and Custom Creation. Trace Conditions are defined on the next page. Conditions include Event Severity, Status Codes, or Time Taken in Seconds. The final page is utilized to select the trace providers.


    When configuring Failed Request Tracing Rules for a site, logging of failed requests must be enabled for the site at the server scope. If it is not, Failed Request Tracing Rules will not be available for a site.

  • Handler Mappings feature page— Use this page to specify resources that will handle responses for specific request types. Actions include Add Managed Handler, Add Script Map, and Add Module Mapping.

  • HTTP Redirect feature page— There will be times when there is a need to redirect incoming requests to an alternate uniform resource locator (URL) or website file. To achieve this goal, the HTTP Redirect page can be used to redirect requests to a specific destination.

  • HTTP Response Headers feature page— This feature should be used to configure HTTP headers based on entering name and values to responses from the web server.

  • IP Address and Domain Restrictions feature page— This page is used to create and manage rules that allow computer networks and IP addresses the opportunity to either gain access or be denied to specific web content. The rules available consist of Allow or Deny and it is possible to enter a single IP address, range of IP addresses, or domain name. Finally, rules can be added to a page, site, or inherited from the parent.

  • ISAPI Filters feature page— ISAPI filters are programs that respond to certain events during HTTP request processing. You can add, enable, and disable filters for a website on this page.

  • Logging feature page— The Logging feature page configures how IIS log requests will be handled for the web server. 

  • MIME Types feature page— The MIME Types feature page is utilized for managing a list of Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) types for the web server or website. When creating or managing MIME types, the following elements need to be entered: Extension, MIME Type, and Entry Type.

  • Modules feature page— This feature should be used when managing or adding managed modules and adding native modules to a web server or website. Authentication and compression are examples of native code modules.

  • Output Caching feature page— The Output Caching features page is leveraged when defining a set of rules associated with caching content. Some of the cache settings include defining file extensions, maximum cache response sizes, and cache size limit in MB.

  • Request Filtering feature page— The page is used to configure filtering rules for a website or application.

  • SSL Settings feature page— This page helps an administrator create, manage, and assign certificates for the web server. 

  • WebDav Authoring Rules feature page— This feature page is used for managing a list of authoring rules that control access to content.

IIS 7.5 Features Associated with Management

The following bullets highlight the feature icons and respective configuration pages associated with Management configurations:

  • Configuration Editor feature page— This new page allows an administrator to access and manage configuration files affiliated with sections such as server, site, or application within IIS Manager.

  • IIS Manager Permissions feature page— This feature page is used for managing and provisioning IIS Manager users, Windows users, and members of Windows groups that require access to a website or application.

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