Edinburgh Web Development

Web design with multiple sites and IIS

by Iain Wilson

5 October 2006

As a web design company, we often have multiple web site developments in various states of development. The easiest way to manage this is to have a web server on our individual PCs and have multiple web sites running on the web server.

We use Microsoft's Internet Information Services as the web server. It comes as standard with XP Professional. To add a site is pretty straightforward, but with SP2 things got a little more complicated with the security, so these steps are how we got it all working (there may be other ways).

  1. Make sure your web site is in a Windows folder just like it would be when uploaded to a remote web site
  2. Go to Control Panel and choose Administrative Tools then choose Internet Information Systems
  3. Right-click on Default Web Site and choose New > Virtual Directory... then choose a name for your site and point to the Windows folder where the HTML lives
  4. Right-click the new virtual directory and make sure Directory Security is set to Anonymous access. This will automatically set the Guest Internet Account user for access to the site.
  5. At this point if you're not running Windows XP SP2, everthing will probably work ok. Just go to your browser and type in an address of localhost/virtual_directory_name
  6. SP2 though, is a bit fussier. You need to set the security on the directory where the HTML lives.
  7. To do this, start up Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder that holds the site. Right-click on the folder then choose Properties then click on the Security tab.
  8. You now need to add a user to the Group or user names box. This is the special user called Internet Guest Account and is typed as IUSR_computer where computer is the name of your computer.
  9. You may want to modify the permissions for this user but the default will usually work
  10. Click OK to save the settings and you should have a web site!
  11. Note. If you have any files/directories outsite the root (e.g. for database connections), you will have to adjust the security for these too.

That's it. Remember if you try it, it is on the understanding that we have absolutely no liability for any problems you might encounter!

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