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Internet Information Server, basic setting

LAMP is No.1 on Internet, but inside company is space for MS IIS. For using IIS as intranet server speaks one ability and this is Single Sign On. Practically it means, that intranet log in forms totally fall away and the only one log in form is that one we use at start up system. This capability I regard as totally fundamental and therefore I dedicate separate article to this method.

If you want to experiment with intranet and you do not have yet installed IIS on your station, you can try that. Installation is straight: select menu Start / Setting / Add Remove Programs / Windows Components / Service IIS. I strongly recommend leave out installation of component Front Page Extensions. Some days ago at installation of .NET framework, Front Page Extensions were installed without asking and problems started. In fact, that was the only problems with security and problems at all, which I ever had with IIS.

On Windows2003 server after IIS instalation ASP scripts are disabled by default. Here is article how to enable ASP pages.

Intranet applications are started from address line of browser. In case that you are developing application on your own station:


in case of intranet server, application is started with address:


where server-name is domain name of your intranet server. That is the name you see in neighbourhood computers. Further aplication-name is name of application (directory) in wwwroot tree. Repeat for sure: do not use classical Internet address (, use only domain name of intranet server and application name. According to these names browser recognizes, that it is running on intranet and in case of IE sets corresponding security zone, permits JavaScript and Activex. default.asp is your script name.

screenshot of IIS console, directory structure

For new application some place have to be prepared at first. In root directory of web server (physical address C:\Inetpub\wwwroot) create directory named as new application. It proved to me to create another two subdirectories. The first subdirectory is for scripts which are supposed to actively work with database, it means data editing or creating new records (Edit). We set security for this directory later, so as we could prove identity of user and make possible to use Single Sign On. The second subdirectory will be used for pictures (Img).

Application setting is done in console for IIS management. Click by right mouse button on This Computer, from context menu, select item Manage and console Computer Management opens. Other way how to open console is over menu: Start / Setting / Control Panel / Tools for repair / Manage This Computer. In console open item Services and Applications, here select item Internet Information Services, further Default Web Site. Here you can see your application directory. Click at this with right button of mouse and select Properties.

screenshot of IIS console, application setting

In window, which appeares, select card Directory, in line Application name click on button Create (application). In the picture application is already created, so that you see button Remove. Application name retain according to directory name. In application you will be able to use global variables (e.g. path to database), or variables stored into session. You can distinguish bettwen standard directory and application directory by icon in IIS console. Application icon looks like open box. Other card items have such a setting, that proved to me by ages. Log visits may be useful temporarily, as far as your log files does not allocate all the rest of disk and IIS hangs up.

On card Documents check correct setting of default pages. These pages will start if in address line is only server name and application name and no script is specified. There you would find at least following list: default.htm for static pages, default.asp for dynamic pages.

Card Directory Security is described in detail in article Single Sign On. I remind here that home directory of application is set to anonymous access usually.

On card Custom Errors will you can replace standard error messages of web server with your own.

screenshot of IIS console, content expiration

Last card is HTTP headers, where we can set expiration time of your pages. Most of intranet applications work with database, or with data from real time process, therefore we would force scripts to Expire Immediately. Then at each page request, the HTML response is assembled over again.

Application directory setting is inherited to the subdirectories, therefore at first set up home directory of application, only then set up subdirectories.

While for scripts we have set up immediate expiration, this is not optimal for subdirectory Img, where pictures are stored (icons, backgrounds, buttons). Pictures have long life and there is no need always download them from server and they can stay in cashe at client. I recommend to set expiration time to e.g. after 7 days here.

updated 07.11.2006