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Recommended Host for IIS 7.0
What is IIS 7.0?
Internet Information Services (IIS) is the Microsoft ASP.NET web server technology, and is the cornerstone of nearly all web applications running in the .NET enviroment. IIS version 7 was the release which modernized the platform for newer operating systems.
About IIS 7
The acronym IIS stands for "Internet Information Services," but formerly stood for "Internet Information Server." The current version of IIS is 8.5, however Microsoft is preparing IIS 10 to be included in Windows 10 and Windows server 2016. The version IIS 7.0 was released in 2008 as part of a massive overhaul from version 6.
IIS 7.0 at the time of release in 2008 was called by many one of the most important Microsoft developments for their web architecture. The vision behind the overhaul was to take the proven speed, reliability and security of the existing IIS 6.0 codebase, but to in turn, transform it into a highly extensible and manageable platform. This overhaul was the largest in the history of the product, making an IIS deployment easy to customize for individual project needs.
Prior to version 7, small changes had been made since the initial release, but with Windows Web server 2008, a full stack integration of database and FTP server was created. Additionally, IIS7 came out with a graphical tool called IIS Manager, which allows for local and remote administration and could run on all available Microsoft operating systems. For OS versions newer than Windows 7 or Server 2008, reverse compatibility mode might be needed for some IIS modules.
Features of IIS7
IIS7, and the newer versions, offer a host of application functions, and serves to direct website users based on the site navigation through page routing. IIS7 allows for both static and MVC controlled applications, and can be integrated into Visual Studio for fast deployment of application templates for websites. At a high level, IIS7 and later versions bring unparalleled full stack support, creating a controlled but comfortable environment for developers to author secure applications.
- IIS has simple text-based configuration which can be import and and exported.
- The "IIS Manager" tool allows for administration of the web server local or remote.
- Developers and IT-Professionals can access command-line controls, WMI and .NET framework APIs.
- IIS7 administators can delegate configuration tasks to lower privileged site owners or developers.
- Shared configuration mode allows for global control of features across an entire server farm.
- Diagnostic and Trouble-shooting tools make debugging and fault-detection easy and clean.
- The modular, extensible architecture of IIS7 modernizes it from version 6, and makes .NET feature addition easy through an API.
- IIS7 runs a fully integrated HTTP Processing pipeline, which lets more powerful applications run and deliver content quickly.
- Additional support for FastCGI frameworks like PHP and other independent web languages.
It should be noted that with the "module" based system engineered into IIS 7.0 - a variety of deeply configurable features are possible. Security models can beef up systematic checks for the request handling pipeline, URL authorization and authentication. Compression modules increase the ability to process requests for static files, and makes it easier to list contents of a site directory.
Version 7.5 - extends version 7 and is included in both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. It also comes with improved support for the file transfer modules using either FTP or WebDAV. It also allows for command-line control from Windows PowerShell, and introduces security support with TLS 1.1 and 1.2. This allows for increased client certificate mapping, IP security, and request filtering.
Overall, IIS 7.0 and 7.5 created the modern .NET framework, version 8 and 8.5 exist with additional support for SSL and newer versions of Windows operating systems (Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows 8.1) Version 7.0 laid out the foundations of a more modular platform with tighter security and increased support for the ASP.NET ecosystem. While using version 7.5 for projects with older Server OS systems is not recommended, sometimes the cost of upgrading servers can mean avoiding those upgrades. For that reason, many web applications still use these older versions of IIS, which are proven to be dependable and deeply secure.
Installation and Hosting
While most versions of Windows can run a variety of web servers, only IIS and NodeJS have strong built-in support for the Entity Framework and ASP.NET environment. IIS7 Support is automatic in the .NET ecosystem, but NodeJS and any IIS applications can be acquired through Visual Basic's use of the "NuGet" package manager.
Installation can be done from a downloadable location, or depending on the version of your operating system, IIS Express can b turned on directly through control panel settings. IIS itself is free, but the server which it runs on costs money to license the operating system. For this reason, hosting on a dedicated can be more costly, but depending on the host, the licensing costs might be covered.
Many major hosting providers and resellers exist who can run Shared Windows hosting (with IIS servers) - which typically cost very little, but may suffer performance issues when compared against a dedicated machine. The same is true of any other operating system though, a shared hosting environment in linux also is cheaper but has less control on performance. Really, what needs to be taken into consideration is the size of the project, number of potential users, and the level of security needed.
Why should I use IIS 7.0 or 7.5 instead of a newer version?
IIS 7 still has support from Microsoft, many commercial clients across the globe still rely on older versions of Windows for running enterprise scale websites. Upgrading costs money, and technology migration can be extremely troublesome.
IIS 10 and beyond will open up greater security measures, but will take a few years to be become stable. IIS 7 websites might well be supported for many years to come. Routinely checking the "life-cycle" can be done through this link.
What considerations should be taken when finding a host for an IIS 7 or 7.5 application?
The biggest technical consideration should be whether or not the provider has Windows Server 2008 R2 or newer. Nearly all Microsoft OS hosts should have this qualification.
Beyond that, understanding the security protocols used by your host will be vitally important, and selecting a host which specializes directly in Microsoft hosting versus using multiple platforms - could mean having better troubleshooting support. Be sure to compare host reviews for support and select a host with great technology awareness.