IIS 6.0 Operations Guide

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1

Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 with the Microsoft® Windows Server 2003™ operating system provides integrated, reliable, scalable, secure, and manageable Web server capabilities over an intranet, the Internet, or an extranet. IIS is a tool for creating a strong communications platform of dynamic network applications. Organizations of all sizes use IIS to host and manage Web pages on the Internet or on their intranet, to host and manage FTP sites, and to route news or mail using the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) and the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). IIS 6.0 leverages the latest Web standards like Microsoft ASP.NET, XML, and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) for the development, implementation, and management of Web applications. IIS 6.0 includes new features designed to help organizations, IT professionals, and server administrators achieve their goals of performance, reliability, scalability, and security for potentially thousands of Web sites either on a single IIS server or on multiple servers.


To help minimize the attack surface of the server, IIS 6.0 is not installed on Windows Server 2003 by default. When you first install IIS 6.0, it is locked down — which means that only request handling for static Web pages is enabled, and only the World Wide Web Publishing Service (WWW service) is installed. None of the features that sit on top of IIS are turned on, including ASP, ASP.NET, CGI scripting, FrontPage® 2002 Server Extensions from Microsoft, and WebDAV publishing. If you do not enable these features, IIS returns a 404 error. You can enable these features through the Enabling and Disabling Dynamic Content in IIS 6.0 node in IIS Manager. For more information about how to troubleshoot 404 errors and other issues, see Troubleshooting in IIS 6.0.

This version of IIS was designed to provide the following benefits and features.

IIS 6.0 Feature Description


IIS 6.0 uses a new request-processing architecture and application isolation environment that enables individual Web applications to function within a self-contained worker process. This environment prevents one application or Web site from stopping another, and reduces the amount of time administrators spend restarting services to correct problems related to applications. The new environment also includes proactive Application Pool Health.


IIS 6.0 introduces a new kernel-mode driver for HTTP parsing and caching, specifically tuned to increase Web server throughput and scalability of multiprocessor computers, thereby significantly increasing the following:

  • The number of sites a single IIS 6.0 server can host

  • The number of concurrently-active worker processes

Also, by Configuring Startup and Shutdown Time Limits, IIS allocates resources to active sites, as opposed to wasting resources on idle requests.


IIS 6.0 provides significantly improved security over earlier versions of IIS. To reduce the attack surface of systems, IIS is not installed by default on the operating systems in the Windows Server 2003 family. Administrators must explicitly select and install IIS. IIS installs by default in a locked-down state, capable of serving only static content. Using the Web Service Extensions node, Web site administrators can Configuring IIS For Dynamic Content IIS functionality based on the individual needs of their organization. IIS 6.0 includes a variety of Security in IIS 6.0 features and technologies to help ensure the integrity of your Web and FTP site content, as well as the data transmitted through your sites. IIS security features include the following security-related tasks:


To meet the needs of a diverse set of organizations, IIS provides a variety of manageability and administration tools. Administrators can configure an IIS 6.0 server using IIS Manager, Using Command-Line Administration Scripts, or by directly Enabling Edit-While-Running in IIS 6.0. Administrators can also Administering Servers Remotely in IIS 6.0 IIS servers and sites.

Enhanced Development

Compared to earlier operating systems, the Windows Server 2003 family offers an improved developer experience with About ASP.NET and IIS integration. ASP.NET recognizes most ASP code while providing greater functionality for building enterprise-class Web applications that can work as a part of the Microsoft .NET Framework. Using ASP.NET allows you to take full advantage of the features of the common language runtime, such as type safety, inheritance, language interoperability, and versioning. IIS 6.0 also offers support for the latest Web standards, including XML, SOAP, and Internet Protocol Version 6 Features.

Application Compatibility

IIS  6.0 is compatible with most existing applications, based on feedback from thousands of customers and independent software vendors (ISVs). Also, to ensure maximum compatibility, IIS  6.0 can be configured to run in IIS 5.0 Isolation Mode in IIS 6.0.

The IIS 6.0 Operations Guide includes the following information:

  • Getting Started with IIS 6.0: Describes key features in IIS 6.0, outlines the differences between this and earlier versions of IIS, and introduces basic concepts and tools, such as how to install IIS and how to open IIS Manager.

  • Common Administrative Tasks in IIS 6.0: Includes a series of short procedural topics describing how to complete routine or common IIS 6.0 tasks.

  • Site Setup: Describes how to set up a new Web, FTP, SMTP, or NNTP site.

  • Server Administration Guide: Includes conceptual and procedural information regarding administrative tasks performed on IIS servers and sites.

  • Security in IIS 6.0: Describes how to configure your Web server to strengthen the security of your Web sites and to carry out other essential security functions.

  • Performance Tuning: Describes how to maximize the performance of your IIS 6.0 solution.

  • Logging Site Activity: Describes how to use operating system and IIS logs to collect information about server events, server performance, and user activity.

  • Error Messages in IIS 6.0: Describes how to configure IIS to send default and custom error messages.

  • Web Application Guide: Describes how to develop and manage Web applications by using ASP and ASP.NET.

  • IIS 6.0 Administration Reference: Describes interfaces, objects, and data structures that are available for programming and administering IIS, as well as metabase properties.

  • Troubleshooting in IIS 6.0: Describes processes for resolving issues with your IIS 6.0 installation.