Internet Information Services (IIS)
Windows XP includes a stripped down version
of Internet Information Services (IIS), which allows
you to publish web pages and other web content to any operating
system with a compliant browser. IIS on Windows XP is not
designed to host public websites, but instead is meant for
sharing resources with a small group of users. The version
of IIS on Windows XP is limited to only 1 website and 10 simultaneous
client connections, and has less advanced features compared
to IIS on a Windows Server. To serve a larger number of websites
to a larger number of users, you will need to use IIS on Windows
2000/2003 Server instead.
You can install IIS by using the Add/Remove
Windows Components option in the Add or Remove Programs
wizard. The Internet Information Services (IIS) component
has several subcomponents including a WWW service,
FTP service, SMTP service, FrontPage
2000 extensions, and the IIS snap-in. The latter
is used for managing the IIS services in the Microsoft
Management Console (MMC). You can start the IIS snap-in
by running the inetmgr command from the Run
Following are some of the common configuration
and management tasks and relevant considerations.
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The version of IIS on Windows XP allows for
only one website, which is the Default Web Site in
the IIS management console. By default, its home directory
is c:\inetpub\wwwroot\ but you can change this path
in the Default Web Site Properties. A website can
have several subdirectories, i.e. www.techexams.net/forums.
These subdirectories, as they appear in the URL, do not necessarily
need to be a subfolder of the home directory. They can be
located outside the c:\inetpub\wwwroot\ folder or on a shared
folder in your local network. This is referred to as a virtual
directory. To create a virtual directory, right-click the
default website, or a subdirectory of the default website,
and select Virtual Directory from the New
submenu to start the Virtual Directory Creation Wizard.
You will need to provide an alias, the name as it
appears in the URL, and browse for the local directory you
want the alias to point to. If you want to use a folder on
another local computer, you must provide the full UNC path
You can also create a virtual directory by
right-clicking a folder in Windows Explorer/My
Computer (only on NTFS), select Properties and
create one or more aliases on the Web Sharing tab.
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Another important basic configuration task
for IIS is configuring authentication and file and folder
permissions. When IIS is installed, a new user account for
anonymous access is created automatically. It is named IUSR_ComputerName
and needs appropriate NTFS permissions for the files and folders
anonymous users should be able to access. You can disable
anonymous access on the Authentication Methods dialog
(click the Edit button on the Directory Security
tab of the Default Web Site Properties) or change
the account or password.
As you can read in the screenshot above,
there are two ways to force username and password authentication.
You can disable anonymous access for the entire website, or
you can restrict access based on NTFS permissions. The latter
would allow you to grant anonymous access to the website and
public resources, while requiring username and password authentication
for particular files and folders.
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With the IIS snap-in you can restart the
Default Web Site, the Default FTP Site, or the
Default SMTP Virtual Server independently by selecting
it and clicking the stop, and start button. You can also restart
all the IIS services by right-clicking the local computer
component in the IIS snap-in and choosing Restart IIS
from the All Tasks menu.
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Besides permissions issues and other incorrect
IIS configuration settings, the most common problems with
connecting to an IIS service such as the WWW service are caused
by incorrect or incomplete TCP/IP settings and services. A
common issue is the lack of a DNS service. Without DNS, users
will not be able to access the website by using a friendly
URL, but would have to use the IP address instead. In small
networks you can use HOSTS files instead of a DNS server.
thing that might prevent access to IIS services is the Internet
Connection Firewall (ICF). If enabled, ICF will block
inbound traffic for all IIS services. To allow access, you
should either disable ICF or configure ICF to allow traffic
for particular IIS services. For more information check out
our ICS and ICF TechNotes.