Windows Web Server
If you have IIS 6.0 installed on your Windows Server 2003 server, but haven’t configured it yourself then you could be missing out on the opportunity to optimize it to run faster as well as getting to grips with how windows web server works.
You might find that certain parts of your website that you are serving to the world wide web with IIS aren’t working properly due to interfering settings which have been set as default by IIS. For example some classic ASP applications require the use of parent paths which are disabled by default on installation of IIS 6.0; permissions is another factor which might require manual setting in order for a website to be able to function correctly under IIS 6.0
To start configuring IIS 6.0, you will first need to open the IIS Manager by navigate to ‘Start > Administrative Tools > Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager’.
The first thing that you will want to configure in IIS is the setup of your web server; if you are only hosting one website on your Windows Web Server 2003 server then you might just want to change the properties of the existing default website. However, if you plan on hosting more than one website on your web server, you will want to setup multiple websites with different file roots to ensure that they are able to run under unique domains – something that would not be possible with one single website.
To create a new website, you will first need click on ‘Web Sites’ in the left pane then select ‘Action > New > Website’ from the top menu. The website creation wizard should then launch.
The first option that you will need to set is the Name/Description of the website that you want to create on your web server. The text that you enter now is what will appear in the left hand pane under ‘Web Sites’ once you have created your website.
Next, you will have to enter the following three details in relation to your new website on your web server:
• IP Address – it is suggested that you choose the IP address you want this and other websites to be hosted on, otherwise they will appear on all IPs that your web server uses
• TCP Port – use this option if you want to run your website off another port besides the default port 80; it is recommended that you don’t change this unless you now what you are doing
• Host Header – if you plan on hosting more than one website on one IP address, then you should enter the domain name related to your new website (i.e. eukhost.com) in this box.
The next step is to select the root/home directory of your new website. This can be any folder physically accessible on your web server, whether it be a local folder or a network accessible folder.
Ensure that the check box labeled ‘Allow anonymous access to this Web site’ is ticked otherwise external visitors won’t be able to gain access to your website at all.
After that you will need to set the appropriate read/write settings for your new website – in most cases you will only need to set read permissions. If you then click the ‘Next’ button near the bottom of the window to move to the next step. Upon creation of your website, click the ‘Finish’ button near the bottom of the window to exit setup.
You will also want to configure the FTP service correctly to allow you to connect to your web server and upload files to it from any remotely located internet connected computer.
By default, there is already an FTP site setup for you – this is called ‘Default FTP Site’; this means that you won’t need to setup another FTP site for your needs. The only things you will need to configure are the required permissions to ensure that no malicious attackers will be able to compromise your web server’s security.
The first thing you will need to do is select ‘Default FTP Site’ from the left hand pane, and then navigate to ‘Action > Properties’ from the top menu.
The first setting that you will want to configure is the ‘Security Accounts’ tab, since this is where you will set the required permissions for your FTP space, as well as setting who will be allowed access and who won’t be allowed to access your private web server.
You will first want to uncheck the first checkbox labeled ‘Allow Anonymous Connections’; you should do this since leaving your FTP space open to anonymous users could mean that it your web server’s security could be easily compromised.
Next, you will want to specify the directory in which you want to be directed to when you connect to your web server via FTP. By default you will be directed to ‘C:\inetpub\ftproot’ when you connect to your private server via FTP. We want to set this to ‘C:\inetpub\wwwroot’ so that any files we do upload via FTP go straight into our website directory so that they can be served by IIS Web Server.
We also want to select the checkbox labeled ‘Write’ since by default the ‘Default FTP Site’ only allows people that connect to it to browse through any accessible directories, rather than allowing them to upload any content on your windows web server.
By enabling the ‘Write’ option, you will be allowed to upload any content to any FTP accessible directories, instead of only being able to browse them on your windows web server.
The last option that you should set, especially in the case that you have a static IP address and will be the only one accessing your windows web server via FTP, is to block any other IP addresses from connecting to your windows web server via FTP apart from yours.
If you select ‘Denied Access’, then click on the ‘Add’ button and enter your IP address, your computer will be the only one able to access your windows web server via FTP server.
Once you have saved all your settings, the last thing to do will be to create yourself an FTP user account on the windows web server which can be done by creating a regular user account and assigning it to the appropriate group.
That’s it! You have now configured IIS Web Server to allow you to upload files into your web space and to serve pages from your website to the general internet!