PowerShell Snap-in: Making Configuration Changes to Websites and App Pools

by Thomas Deml

In this walkthrough you will learn how to change simple properties of IIS namespace containers like Web-Sites, Web Applications, Virtual Directories and Application Pools by using built-in PowerShell cmdlets. The next walkthrough will cover how to change configuration properties on system.webServer sections and custom sections.


The task of the PowerShell Snap-ins is to offer namespaces that can be managed with a common, built-in PowerShell cmdlets like New-Item, Get-Item, Get-ChildItems, Set-Item, Set-ItemProperty etc.. The built-in cmdlets work against all PowerShell-provided namespaces. New-Item c:\testdir for example allows you to create a new file system directory, but you can also to create a new IIS object like a Web-Site or an Application Pool, for example New-Item IIS:\AppPools\NewAppPool.

In the previous walkthrough we started using the New-item and Get-Item cmdlets. This walkthrough will explore more of the built-in cmdlets.

Often times you might have to change settings on these items after you created them. To do this we are using the built-in cmdlets New-ItemProperty and Set-ItemProperty. We will also have a look how to use Get-Item and Set-Item.

This walkthrough relies on the Web-Site 'Demosite' and its Web Applications and Virtual Directories that we created in the last walkthrough.

Looking at Configuration Settings

Before we start changing settings we want to look at them first. Here is a command to look at the configuration settings of 'DemoSite'.

PS IIS:\> get-item IIS:\Sites\DemoSite
Name             ID   State      Physical Path                  Bindings
----             --   -----      -------------                  --------
DemoSite         2    Started    c:\demosite                    http :8080:

This gives you a view of the most important properties of the site. There are more settings you might be interested though.

Here is a command that gives you more details:

(Get-ItemProperty IIS:\Sites\DemoSite -Name bindings).Collection

In the example above we are using parenthesis because the Get-ItemProperty call has to be evaluated first before we can print the collection entries. In this case kind of the same thing as in math: (5 + 4) * 3 will evaluate the 5 + 4 first, then multiply by 3. In this case, the results of Get-ItemProperty command will be evaluated and the resulting IIS configuration object contains a collection that we output to the screen.

You can use the same strategy with other properties or collections like the AppPools processModel section. The following command for example returns a nice DateTime object for the startupTimeLimit of our DemoAppPool:

PS IIS:\> (Get-ItemProperty IIS:\AppPools\DemoAppPool -name processModel).startupTimeLimit

Days              : 0
Hours             : 0
Minutes           : 1
Seconds           : 30
Milliseconds      : 0
Ticks             : 900000000
TotalDays         : 0.00104166666666667
TotalHours        : 0.025
TotalMinutes      : 1.5
TotalSeconds      : 90
TotalMilliseconds : 90000

Changing Site and AppPool Settings

There are two basic ways to make changes.

  1. If you are changing a simple property you use Set-ItemProperty.
  2. If you are dealing with a collection and you want to add a new collection entry you use New-ItemProperty. In an IIS default install the bindings collection is the only collection used in the IIS namespace.

Set-ItemProperty and New-ItemProperty

Let's begin by adding an additional binding to our DemoSite:

PS IIS:\> New-ItemProperty IIS:\sites\DemoSite -name bindings -value @{protocol="http";bindingInform

PS IIS:\> dir IIS:\Sites
Name             ID   State      Physical Path                  Bindings
----             --   -----      -------------                  --------
Default Web Site 1    Started    f:\inetpub\wwwroot             http *:80:
DemoSite         2    Started    c:\demosite                    http :8080:
                                                                http :8081:

As you can see DemoSite is now also listening on port 8081.

Use the Set-ItemProperty if you want to modify an existing property. Changing the name of the site for example:

PS IIS:\> Set-ItemProperty IIS:\Sites\DemoSite -name name -value NewDemoSite
PS IIS:\> dir iis:\Sites
Name             ID   State      Physical Path                  Bindings
----             --   -----      -------------                  --------
Default Web Site 1    Started    f:\inetpub\wwwroot             http *:80:
NewDemoSite      2    Started    c:\demosite                    http :8080:
                                                                http :8081:

Let's change it back to the old name:

PS IIS:\> Set-ItemProperty IIS:\Sites\NewDemoSite -name name -value DemoSite

We also want to change the identity our Application Pool runs as. First we have to create a user however. Let's use ADSI to do that

$computer = [ADSI]"WinNT://."
$user = $computer.Create("user", "DemoAppPoolUser")

Now we are ready to configure the DemoAppPool to run as this user:

Set-ItemProperty iis:\apppools\DemoAppPool -name processModel -value @{userName="DemoAppPoolUser";password="Secret!!Pw3009";identitytype=3}

To be extensible we are using a good old hash table for property names and their values. If you forgot how to use it, here is a link.

Set-Item and Get-Item

Let's do the same, i.e. assigning a user to an Application Pool, with the set-item/get-item combo. You might like this variant a little better because it allows you to take advantage of command-line completion. To see how this works don't copy and paste the following commands. Enter a couple of characters and use the TAB key to enjoy the advantages of command-line completion:

PS IIS:\AppPools> $demoPool = Get-Item IIS:\AppPools\DemoAppPool
PS IIS:\AppPools> $demoPool.processModel.userName = "DemoAppPoolUser"
PS IIS:\AppPools> $demoPool.processModel.password = "Secret!!Pw3009"
PS IIS:\AppPools> $demoPool.processModel.identityType = 3
PS IIS:\AppPools> $demoPool | Set-Item


In this walkthrough you learned how to use PowerShell-provided cmdlets to manage IIS namespace containers like Sites and Application Pools. You learned how to use hash tables and how to take advantage of command-line completion. In the next walkthrough you will learn how to use IIS Snap-in cmdlets to make configuration changes to IIS configuration settings that are not exposed via the IIS Snap-in namespace.