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Recommended Host for IIS 6.0
If you're looking for a Windows-only alternative to Apache hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) Server, try Microsoft's Internet Information Services (IIS). IIS is a Microsoft Web server, primarily for use with Windows-only products and organizations. IIS 6.0 was included with Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition operating systems (OS).
Using IIS, you can deploy and manage websites, delegate management and configuration tasks to site owners and enjoy a robust set of administrative tools.
IIS 6.0 included five major components, or services: WWW, IIS Admin, FTP, NNTP and SMTP. Two of these, WWW and IIS Admin, were included in a default installation. The other three were optional installs.
As its name implies, the WWW service acts as a Web server by processing HTTP requests and directing them to content on an IIS server. As with virtually any Web server, the WWW service can be used for both Internet and intranet content. The WWW service includes a number of subcomponents designed to work with Microsoft-specific technologies, such as Active Server Pages (ASP). IIS supports the deployment of both active server pages (ASP.NET) and PHP applications on the same server.
The IIS Admin service manages the metabase, a collection of configuration information stored in an XML text file. While this data can be manually manipulated in a text editor, the IIS Admin service makes the data available to other IIS services, as well as other applications designed to read and use the metabase data.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a protocol designed to provide remote users access to a server. Users with the appropriate permissions may be able to copy files to and from the server, modify and even delete files. IIS 6.0 includes a number of FTP features, such as user isolation, to keep users from modifying or deleting other users' content.
Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) is a protocol used for transmitting and reading Usenet articles. Usenet was designed as a decentralized way for users to post messages, often referred to as articles or posts, across the Internet.
SMTP, or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, is the fifth component of IIS 6.0. SMTP is used to send email messages. It is important to note, however, that the SMTP component in IIS 6.0 is not a full-fledged email system. It is useful for sending out automatic emails in response to events, or to submit emails via a form on a website hosted on the server. For complete email support, Microsoft Exchange should be added.
Security is a top priority in IIS. A major cause of many server breaches is errant services and processes that are on by default, but not in use. To address this concern, IIS 6.0 shipped with everything locked down. Only static webpage handling is turned on by default, with ASP, ASP.NET, FrontPage Server Extensions, CGI and WebDAV turned off.
IIS 6.0 includes a number of additional security features, some of which differ considerably from previous versions. For example, IIS 6.0 only handles a small subset of available Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) filetypes by default. This is to reduce the risk of malicious files being used to compromise the server. If the default list is too restrictive, it can be edited to allow more types.
While IIS 6.0 was, and still is, widely used, there have been significant updates to IIS since version 6.0. The current version is 8.5 and offers a number of advantages over previous incarnations.
Availability and Pricing
Hosting is not usually packaged as IIS-specific hosting. Some hosts do offer hosting plans with specialized features for IIS. One such feature is IIS Manager support with a hosting plan. It is a remote administration tool. With certain hosting plans, you'll be able to view settings and access web.config files from IIS Manage. This is likely the best option for you if you prefer to work with mostly Microsoft programs.
Points to Remember
If your company uses Microsoft FrontPage to build sites or ASP for application creation, IIS might be the best Web server for you. Naturally, IIS integrates well with Microsoft's own products. Many organizations would do well to consider upgrading to IIS 8.5, but 6.0 may continue to be a valid option for those who do not need the additional features.
IIS 6.0 Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
How difficult is it to activate web server extensions that have been turned off?
Extensions can easily be turned on or off using the IIS Manager (a separate install). While you can simply enable all of the web server extensions, it is not recommended, as you may be opening your server up to unnecessary risk. It is a better idea to only enable the features you intend to use and leave the rest turned off.
If IIS 6.0 was released with Windows 2003, will it still be supported after support for 2003 officially ends?
Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 is considered a component of Windows Server 2003; therefore, it has the same Support Lifecycle as Windows 2003. Support for both ends on July 15, 2015.
What does it mean that support will end?
The end of support means Microsoft will no longer release updates or patches for Windows 2003 or its components, including IIS 6.0. If you are currently using IIS 6.0, it will continue to function just as it does now; however, it will be at an increased risk of attack since patches will no longer be released for identified vulnerabilities.
Can I update an older server to a newer version?
In order to update to a new version of IIS, you will first need to update to a new version of Windows Server (at least Windows 2008). Before you do that, you should probably consider whether your current hardware is the best for a newer OS, or if it would be better to purchase an entirely new server with a newer version of Windows preinstalled. If you purchase a new server, Microsoft provides migration tools to help you transfer the IIS data from your old server to the new server running a newer version of IIS.
If I upgrade to a newer version of Windows Server, will it automatically update my version of IIS too?
Any version of Windows Server post-2003 will support a newer version of IIS. You may need to install these separately, or they may already be installed. Either way, Microsoft provides migration tools to help you transfer the IIS information from your old server to your new one.
What versions of Windows does IIS 6.0 support?
IIS 6.0 was built to run on Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. It is also possible to install IIS 6.0 on Windows 7, but no later versions of Windows are supported, including Windows Server 2008. Some features of IIS 6.0, such as the FTP engine, can still run on later versions of Windows; however, they may have to be run using Classic Mode.
Are there any add-ons to expand the functionality of IIS 6.0?
Yes. Microsoft maintains an extensive library of community contributed and Microsoft supported extensions that can be used for a range of tasks such as exporting your IIS setup to another server, dynamically resizing images, analyzing logs from your desktop and more. Most of the Microsoft supported extensions are now only available for IIS 7.0 and above, but many of the community contributed extensions are still available for older versions.
Can I manage IIS 6.0 remotely?
Yes. IIS 6.0 can be managed remotely in three ways. Microsoft’s IIS 6.0 Manager provides a simple, GUI interface to configure features, add and remove sites, backup and restore configurations, and more. You can also connect to and manage IIS 6.0 using terminal services. Or you can use the web-based Remote Administration tool to manage your IIS services.
Is there any training available for IIS 6.0?
Microsoft offers a number of support documents for installing and administering IIS 6.0. In addition, several companies offer training in IIS, either online or in person. In-person training will almost always focus on newer versions of IIS though many of the lessons will still be applicable to older versions. Online training, either pre-recorded or text-based, are still available specifically for IIS 6.0.
How do I create a website once I install IIS 6.0?
As soon as you install IIS 6.0, a website is automatically created. Of course, it won’t be a personalized website. It will simply be a placeholder for you to create your own, custom site. To add personal content, or create a fully customized site, you’ll need a website creator like Dreamweaver, a CMS like WordPress, or at the very least a working knowledge of HTML.
Does IIS 6.0 support SSL certification?
Yes. Once you have purchased SSL, you can attach the certification to your server or check on an existing certification using the IIS Manager.
What type of file systems does IIS 6.0 support?
IIS 6.0 support FAT, FAT32, and NTSF file systems. Microsoft recommends using the more secure NTSF format. If you have a drive or partition formatted in FAT or FAT32 format, you can easily convert it to NTSF using a command prompt.