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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


HOW TO use IIS 7.5 on Windows XP, Vista with Visual Studio 2010

The free download IIS Express brings the IIS 7.x feature-set to Windows XP SP2+ (which comes with IIS 5) & Windows Vista (which hosts IIS 7). With the upcoming Visual Studio 2010 SP1 (a beta is now available), enabling integration with IIS Express will be easy. IIS Express will bring the best of both existing web server options in Visual Studio - ASP.NET Development Server & the native IIS.

The advantages of IIS Express paraphrased from Scott Guthrie's post -
  • IIS Express will work with VS 2010 and Visual Web Developer 2010 Express, will run on Windows XP and higher systems, does not require an administrator account, and does not require any code changes to use. 
  • It’s lightweight and easy to install (less than 10Mb download and a super quick install)
  • It does not require an administrator account to run/debug applications from Visual Studio
  • It enables a full web-server feature set – including SSL, URL Rewrite, Media Support, and all other IIS 7.x modules
  • It supports and enables the same extensibility model and web.config file settings that IIS 7.x support
  • It can be installed side-by-side with the full IIS web server as well as the ASP.NET Development Server (they do not conflict at all)
  • It works on Windows XP and higher operating systems – giving you a full IIS 7.x developer feature-set on all OS platforms
  • It does not require any registration/configuration steps.
  • In addition to supporting ASP.NET, IIS Express also supports Classic ASP and other file-types and extensions supported by IIS.
IIS Express FAQ lists more of its features:
  •  IIS Express is the Web server that is included with WebMatrix. You can also install IIS Express all by itself 
  • You can also manually launch IIS Express from the command line and use it with Visual Studio 2008, using the custom web server option. 
  • Versions 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 of ASP.NET framework are supported.
  • IIS 7.5 Express supports 64-bit architectures using the WoW64 subsystem. Full 64-bit support will be considered for future releases.
  • The IIS 7.5 Express license allows the MSI to be redistributed. You can include the MSI in your product or chain your installer to it. You can't distribute IIS Express in any other manner at the moment.
  •  IIS Express supports both the “Integrated” and “Classic” managed pipeline modes from IIS 7.
  • The core IIS Express runtime is xcopy-deployable. However, as of this time, xcopy deployment is not an officially supported feature.
  •  By default, only requests over localhost are serviced; however, you can modify the bindings to enable external traffic. For security reasons, you should have Administrator user rights on the machine to set this up.
  •  IIS Express does not include an FTP service. 
  • Similar to IIS, IIS Express supports multiple applications under the same site running in the same process.
  •  IIS Express support WCF applications. As noted above, WCF is only supported over HTTP or HTTPS. WCF over MSMQ and net.tcp is not supported.
  • SharePoint won’t run on IIS Express because it uses IIS features that aren’t supported.
  • IIS Express can run side-by-side with other Web servers as long as there are no conflicting bindings. 

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