Saturday, 28 February 2009

IIS 7 and Shared Hosting - I

In conjunction with the current project I'm working on (has to do with virtualization, which I'll touch on in later posts) I'm planning to set up a Web shared hosting environment using Windows Server 2008 and IIS7. I'm figuring out what I need to know and how to go about this, and ran across a couple of IIS7 features that are great for all of you Web hosters out there.

  • Feature delegation. I've seen a few other names for this on the Internet, including the IIS 7 site, the most common being configuration delegation. Regardless, the basic concept is that IIS 7 configuration system is designed so that the server administrator (you, the hoster), can designate specific IIS 7 features that your customers can configure on their own, without having to get in touch with you to do it. You can only delegate features at the server level, essentially telling the IIS7 configuration system which configuration settings are available for your customers to configure in their Web sites and applications.
  • Remote administration. Microsoft included a Web Management Service in IIS7 that, after you install and enable it, provides functionality that enables your customers to manipulate the configuration settings for their Web sites and applications from their own computers. They can do this using a remote instance of IIS Manager.

These two features go hand-in-hand. You set up remote administration on your servers to enable your customers to configure their sites or applications from their desktop or laptop and use feature delegation to designate which features your customers can configure.

To get up to speed on feature delegation, see the articles in Delegating Administration and the videos in Using Shared Hosting Environments.

To fully understand how feature delegation works, I suggest you read up on the IIS7 configuration system itself, too. See Getting Started with IIS 7.0 Configuration for details.

To learn more about remote administration, see the articles in Managing IIS 7.0 Remotely.
For a great overview on the benefits of using IIS 7 on Windows Server 2008 to host Web sites, see MIX08: Bringing Hosters and Developers Together with IIS7.

My next post will take a closer look at feature delegation and how to choose which IIS7 features to delegate.

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