Internet Server Manager

IIS is primarily administered with the ISM (Internet Server Manager). ISM is implemented as a snap-in "faceplate" to the MMC (Microsoft Management Console). MMC is Microsoft's primary way of interfacing with nearly all of its BackOffice products.

IIS has built in Web-based administration with an HTML version of its ISM. This enables remote administration.

IIS also supports IISAOs (IIS Administration Objects) that enable programmatic control of IIS.

IIS also includes a FSA (FrontPage Server Administrator) to perform the administration of some FrontPage extensions to IIS.


If you look at the screen shot of the IIS ISM below, you will see that there are four levels of objects managed by IIS.

Properties of upper level objects are inherited by the lower levels.

This is a screen shot of the default set up of the IIS ISM:

SCREENSHOT: Internet Server Manager (ISM) of IIS

Service Masters

This is for IIS service on that server. There are separate Web and FTP Service Master property pages. EG: In the figure, the Service Master property page may be accessed by right-clicking the computer icon for the server, i.e. * webserver01.


The icon for an FTP site is a hand holding an open file folder. The icon for a Web site is a hand holding a globe. EG: In the figure, the web site installed by default by IIS is Default Web Site (highlighted).

IIS is used to manage sites. When IIS is installed, it comes with three sites:

Site Name Default Location URL from IIS browser
Default FTP Site C:\InetPub\Wwwroot ftp://localhost
Default Web Site C:\InetPub\Ftproot http://localhost
Administration Web Site C:\WINNT\System32\inetsrv\IISadmin http://localhost:9390

The Administration Web Site shouldn't be removed because it is the HTML version of the IIS ISM. IIS administrators can change the other two sites to suit their needs, or eliminate them altogether. Additional sites can be added at any time.

The site name that is listed in ISM is only for descriptive viewing within IIS. Sites (home directories) are accessed by browsers in one of three ways:

  • Internet sites use domain name. EG:
  • Intranet sites use server names. EG: http://MyServer. (If the browser is on the same machine as IIS, then the default site can be accessed by substituting "localhost" for the server name.)

Sites on IIS are distinguished from each other by three units:

  • IP address
  • TCP port
  • host header

Originally, a single web server represented a single web site. Newer web servers, that support HTTP 1.1, can represent, with a single IP address, multiple web or FTP sites. Thus sites on a multi-site server are called virtual servers.(The browser would also need to support HTTP 1.1. This Netscape and IE browsers of version 3 and greater.) EG: A server can have:

  • Multiple names pointing to one IP:port and one site
  • Multiple names, each with its own IP:port, pointing to different sites.
  • Multiple names, sharing one IP, pointing to different sites. If host headers are used to share a single IP, then its IP must be unassigned and the port usually set to 80.

A site can correspond to other domains (host header names) by setting the Advanced button on the site tab of the site's property page. Select the identity and add a host header. Add additional host headers as needed.

A host header will be probably be a domain name but may be a NetBIOS name (only for intranets). In either case the host header name must be properly registered with the appropriate name resolution server, respectively either a DNS or WINS.

Each root web site must have one home directory, aka webs or sites. Home directories may have sub-webs or sub-sites. A sub-web is a sub-directories of the root directory and has the FrontPage Server Extensions administered on it.


Each directory will have a tab on its property page called one of the following:

  • Virtual Directory. This indicates that the directory is not located within the home directory but appears to browsers as if it were. The directory may be located with a full path for directories on the same machine, or with a UNC path (Universal Naming Convention) for directories on another machine across the network. Virtual directories have aliases.
  • Directory. This indicates that the directory is located within the home directory. This type of directory is aka a physical directory. Physical directories do not have aliases.

Instead of Virtual Directory or Directory, home directories will have a tab on their property pages called Home Directory.

The directory tab on the property page also set permissions, i.e. read, write, script, and execute.

There are different icons for different types of directory (explained further down):

  • Physical directories have an icon of a plain folder. EG: In the figure, images is a physical directory.
  • Virtual directories have an icon of a folder with a globe in the bottom right icon. EG: In the figure, MSADC is a virtual directory.

A directory, whether it is physical or virtual, may have a different icon if it is a special kind of directory. EG:

  • A home directory for a site is the same as its site icon. EG: In the figure, Default Web Site is both the site icon and the home directory for that site.
  • An application starting point has an icon of an opened package. EG: In the figure, SCRIPTS is an application starting points.

IIS in some sense supports a third type of directory via browser redirect. The directory points to an URL (Universal Resource Locator). Browser redirect can even be used to point to a program and pass along parameter as well.

This table has a few examples illustrating directories.

Resource Type Physical Location Alias URL used by user
Home Directory,
C:\InetPub\pets NA http://pets
C:\InetPub\pets\dogs NA http://pets/dogs
D:\felines cats http://pets/cats
Browser Redirect
http:\\\hogz hogs http://pets/hogs
Home Directory,
D:\InetPub\hurts ow http://ow
D:\InetPub\hurts\sticks NA http://ow/sticks
\\BServer\stones stones http://ow/stones
Browser Redirect
http:\\\stings stings http://ow/stings


  • Each file will have a tab on its property page called File.
  • The file tab on the property page also set permissions, ie read and write.
  • Files cannot be virtual, but they can be found in virtual directories.
  • Files are subject to browser redirect.

This table has a few examples illustrating files.

Resource Type Physical Location Alias URL used by user
C:\InetPub\mine\scrap.htm NA http://mine/scrap.htm
Browser Redirect
http:\\\test.htm test http://mine/test.htm

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