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Servers - Configuring IIS - a Web Server

Configuring IIS to setup your web site, it could be internal to your own network or on the internet...

IIS - Internet Information Service

Before you start configuring IIS  you need to understand why you need a Web Server. A web server requires extended knowledge of security, server side applications, and sometimes data bases.

Why do you need a web server?

  • Maybe you have a static IP for your business and you want to have a domain on the WWW or internet to increase your sales, customer base, or just to promote your business.
  • You want a web server for only your employees to access.
  • Maybe you are a student and need to be configuring IIS for a lab or class.
  • You can have a web server for your internal network or for access by the internet.
  • Suppose you want a web server for your employees only for time accounting, bulletins, or your policies.
  • Or you want your customers to see your products and order directly from the web site.

If you want an internal only web site then the considerations for a domain name and security will be easier to setup.

If you want the web server to be visible on the internet then you will have more strenuous configuring IIS considerations for the domain name and security.

So lets get to configuring IIS!

Before you start your install insure you have the latest version and updates for .Net, this will simplify your web site creation.

Your volume that has the web host can host more than one or two web sites, you can deversify and maybe rent out some space to recoupe your expenditure.You will need the server installation cd to load the web server service, first make sure you have a few items completed before you install the web server.

If you are going to have access from out side of your network from the WWW or internet you need to insure your security is up to speed.

You or your Network Engineer will have to open port 80 on your firewall and router, then write rules for inbound traffic to the port for access to only the web server and no where else. Also on the volume where the IIS service is to be installed remove the groups 'Everyone' and 'Users' if you have not done so already, this is a prime target for hackers.

Next you need to decide what server will get the web server service. Adding the web server service to a server that has a lot of other services will over load the server. I do not recommend you put it on these servers: Domain Controller, File and Print server, Data base server. The additional traffic that a web server (especially a internet web server) will have will impact services for your local network if the server has to support them also.

You may want to consider putting your Web site on a DMZ (Digital Media Zone)

Starting the Configuring IIS

Need a server? You can build your own!

Once you have the security, the domain, and the server tasks complete you are ready for configuring IIS server service. I do not recommend using the default path when you setup you IIS service. By this I mean you should not install the IIS service and web site on the C: or system drive. There is an inherent security risk of doing this: It opens the System or C: drive up to Everyone! This means that if someone whom has the knowledge of hacking can and will hack your server and this could be disastrous to your business.

When you setup your IIS ideally you should have a separate volume (or drive) to install it on. In this example I setup my IIS server service on a small volume labeled the E: drive. Because I was writing an e-book I made allowances for the small volume when I set up the server. You may not have this luxury because you server is already built and you do not have the extra space for a new volume. It doesn't need to be very large 10 or 20 gig is more than sufficient even if you have a lot of graphics. I have a web site on a separate 5 gig volume that has about three gigs of space open, and it is mostly car graphics for my car web site.

This Configuring IIS was extracted from the Build a Server Guide.

Before begin you will need to read these instructions and make an answer file if you are not using the default path for the installation.

To install your web host on a non-default drive you have to create what is called an "answer file" this is a small file that points the installation program to your specific drive for the installation. It looks like this:

The image, table, or PDF was removed because it will not display on your device. Check back on a PC....
[Components]
iis_common = on
iis_inetmgr = on
iis_www = on

[InternetServer]
PathWWWRoot=E:\Inetpub\Wwwroot

The main component of the answer file is the "PathWWWRoot=E:\Inetpub\Wwwroot" this will install the Web host service, directories, and files on the E: drive into the folder (directory) Interpub, with sub directories under it. You create the file call it "iis.txt" and place it on the E:\ drive at the root. (The root of the drive is start of the drive before any folders or directories are created). In this sample the file name is iis.txt and is located on the drive I wish to install the web host on - E: drive.

Note: If you copy the text from this page be sure to put it in a plain text editor, otherwise you will get a lot of the formatting coding from the web page mixed in with the text you want.

Note: This file needs to be created with a 'plain text editor' such as Notepad.exe.

The way you tell the installation program to do this is from the command line and type in:

The image, table, or PDF was removed because it will not display on your device. Check back on a PC....
sysocmgr /i:%windir%\inf\sysoc.inf /u:e:\iis.txt

Where "sysocmagr" is the install program, "/i:%windir%" is the windows directory on the Windows install drive,  "\inf\sysoc.inf" is the file that the install program uses to create the file structure, copy the files, and creates the registry entries. The "/u" tells the install program to use the iis.txt file to create the file structure on the E: drive. Be sure to type in the spaces or copy this the line to a plain text editor then to the command line.

Now you can insert the install cd and begin your installation.

With computers you can also use the smaller condensed "Check list" to accomplish a single repair task.

Once the software has completed your new web host installation you will need to test the default settings, you can do this by opening the IIS Manager (Start/Programs/Administrative Tools/Internet Information Services or IIS) and then expand the tree in the left column out to get to the Default Web Site, in the right hand window right click on 'iistart.htm' and select browse, your browser should open and you should see the 'Under Construction' page. You are ready to build your web site. You may want to look at the browser and note the http://youserver/iistart.htm and go to a work station and see if you can connect to the default web site if you can't then you will need to look at the configuration of the web site itself.

You are done configuring IIS...

Congratulations, now you can begin to build your web site! But before you do I have a word of caution for you:All set? So now you have a web site, get it noticed, submit it to the Search Engines!

Do NOT change the default IUSER_yourservername, some company's believe that changing this to a Domain ID will increase security, IT DOES NOT, in fact it decreases your security because it gives a hacker a path inside your domain. Leave it at the default, if you change the name be sure you understand how to get the security setup so that an anonymous user can access the web site and not your Domain. And of course download and install all of the latest updates for the IIS installation.

When you need it ...

Don't trash your sever with an older ERD! You need to make a custom Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) for yourself! Check this out.



Emergency Repair
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