Internet Information Services (IIS) 8.0 Express is a free, simple and self-contained version of IIS that is optimized for developers. IIS 8.0 Express makes it easy to use the most current version of IIS to develop and test websites in development tools like Visual Studio and WebMatrix. IIS 8.0 Express has all the core capabilities of IIS 8 and above as well as additional features to ease website development including:

  • IIS 8.0 Express doesn’t run as a service or require administrative privileges to perform most tasks
  • IIS 8.0 Express works well with ASP.NET and PHP applications
  • Multiple users of IIS 8.0 Express can work independently on the same computer

Differences between IIS and IIS Express

The full version of IIS is meant to be used for production websites and applications. IIS Express is meant to be used in development environments. IIS Express is a wonderful tool that allows developers to test and work on web based applications because it will behave the same way that IIS should.

Installation

  1. Download IIS Express 8.0
    1. url: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34679
    2. Save the file to disk
  2. Double click the .exe file
  3. Accept the license agreement
  4. Click “Install”
  5. Click “Finish”

Configuration

IIS Express is a lightweight version of IIS and it doesn’t ship with the the admin UI tool like IIS Manager. It is possible to install WebMatrix, but that only allows you to configure a few settings such as binding, default documents, and SSL.

The options you have today:

  • Use the appcmd.exe command line tool that can be found in the installation directory of IIS Express under the “Program Files”. Majority of appcmd snippets from the IIS Configuration Reference located on http://www.iis.net/ConfigReference/ would work
  • Use Visual Studio, then you should be able to open %userprofile%\documents\IISExpress\config\applicationhost.config or your application’s web.config and use intellisense to edit IIS configuration settings

Using IIS Express

To specify IIS Express as the default Web server for Web projects in Visual Studio

  • On the Tools menu, click Options.
  • In the Options dialog box, select Show all settings.
  • Expand Projects and Solutions, and then click Web Projects.
  • Select Use IIS Express for new file-based web sites and projects.

To specify the Web server for a Web application project by using project properties

  1. In Solution Explorer, right-click the name of the Web application project for which you want to specify a Web server, and then click Properties.
  2. In the Properties window, click the Web tab.
  3. To choose the Visual Studio Development Server, under Servers, click Use Visual Studio Development Server.
  4. To use a specific port number with the Visual Studio Development Server, select Specific port and enter the port number. By default, the Auto-assign Port option is selected, and the port number that has been assigned to your application appears.
  5. To choose IIS, under Servers, select Local IIS Web server. This option is not available if IIS is not enabled on your computer. A URL that combines localhost with the name of your Web application will automatically be created for you and appear in the Project URL box (for example, http://localhost/WebApplication1).
  6. To choose IIS Express, under Servers, select Local IIS Web server, and then select Use IIS Express. A URL with a random port number is automatically created for you and appears in the Project URL box (for example, http://localhost:2616/). The IIS Express option is unavailable if you do not have IIS Express installed on your computer, or if you are using a version of Visual Studio earlier than 2010 SP1.
  7. To choose a custom Web server, select Use Custom Web Server. In the Server URL box, type the URL that Visual Studio should start when it runs the current project.