Where is my IIS change going to be applied?

When you make a change to a website in Internet Information Services (IIS) 6, it is straightforward where your change was going to be applied.  All information is stored in the Metabase.

Starting with IIS 7, information is stored in a variety of places.  Sometimes the site or server change that you make is stored in a web.config file at the server level.  Other times the change is stored in the main IIS configuration file, aplicationHost.config.  To complicate it further, sometimes the change is stored in the website’s web.config file. 

There is solid reasoning that dictates where the change will be made and the information is readily available through an Internet search.  Rather than memorizing this information, taking into account the configuration of your server, there is an easier way to determine where your change is going to be made.


When you are in IIS Manager and have a feature open, look at the lower left corner of the window.  You should see something like the screen snippet I have above.  You can see for the feature I have selected on my server, any change that I make will be stored in applicationHost.config.


Another common place where changes are made is shown above.  In this case, the website I’m working on is the Default Web Site and any change I make to that feature will be stored in the web.config file for that site.  Not to worry, if your site doesn’t have a web.config file yet, IIS will create one for you and add the necessary information.

I hope this helps you next time you are wondering where your change will be made.

Rick is a Senior Support Lead at OrcsWeb, a hosted server company providing managed hosting solutions.