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Version: 2023

Configuring IIS

Quick reference guide to configuring IIS

Follow these steps to configure IIS (Microsoft's Internet Information Services):
1. Check - Before you start, check if your systems meet the prerequisites.
2. Application Pool - Create an Application Pool in IIS.
3. Application Pool Identity - Create an Application Pool Identity in IIS.
4. If necessary: Restart the application - Do this every time the application directory has been changed.
5. Security - Take the necessary measures in IIS to protect your application and organization.
6. Performance - Optimize your application's performance with IIS.
If necessary: Troubleshooting

Prerequisites IIS

A number of prerequisites needs to be met before IIS can be configured for use in the Thinkwise Platform:

RequiredMore information
IISSee the Lifecycle policy for the supported versions.
An IIS version is included with the standard installation of Windows on a server or PC. Different versions of IIS are released with the different versions of Windows. Checking the installed IIS version can be done by typing http://localhost in the web browser, the IIS version screen will then be displayed.
IIS 8 welcome page
IIS 8 welcome page
.NET Framework 4.7See the Lifecycle policy for the supported versions for running an ASP .NET application.
To check which version has been installed: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dotnet/framework/migration-guide/how-to-determine-which-versions-are-installed. If the web server has no .NET Framework or a lower version than supported, then use the following link to install the latest version: https://www.microsoft.com/net/download/thank-you/net472.
Windows Server 2012R2
Windows Server 2012R2

Configuration

Application Pool

IIS uses Application Pools to run applications and to make configurations for these applications. By using different Application Pools, it is ensured that web applications can function separately from each other. It also ensures that they are not in the way of each other if an error arises with one of the web applications due to a crash or memory problems. Thinkwise therefore advises that a new pool is made in IIS for each Thinkwise Web GUI or Indicium (used by Universal GUI).

Application Pool Application Pools

  • Name: give the Application Pool a suitable name, related to the corresponding application to which it is going to be connected.
  • .NET CLR:
  • Managed pipeline mode: set this to 'Integrated'.

Add Application Pool Add Application Pool

Press OK to create the Application Pool.

Application Pool Identity

The Application Pool Identity is also used to access files in the network. This could include, for example, images and icons that the application uses or report files. To do this:

Advanced Settings > Process Model > Identity

  1. Specify a domain user that has rights to the locations of the used files. If access to the network is not needed, then the default identity suffices.

Application Pool Identity Assign Application Pool Identity

(Re)starting the application

Restarting is necessary after the contents of the Application Directory have been changed or if there are problems with the application. After a restart, the application will start up again with a clean slate, but users will lose the session in which they were working and will need to log in again. Therefore Thinkwise recommends preventing this as much as possible in production environments while users work with the application.

Restarting the application can be done via the Application Pool overview:

  1. Select a pool and click Recycle... in the Actions bar on the right.

Restarting the Application Pool Restarting the Application Pool

Security

After deploying a web application, it is essential to secure the web environment against hackers and malicious intentions. Users' credentials and available data must be safely sent to the client or back to the web server. Furthermore, the application must not be able to be abused by people who have not been granted access to it. This section will describe which options are available to set up the web environment safely and what Thinkwise does in the application to enable users to work safely with the web application.

HTTPS

HTTPS or SSL encryption ensures that all information sent via the internet between the web server and the client is sent encrypted. Therefore, it is not possible to see the sent information during the transport. The information may contain user credentials or data from the database.

More information about HTTPS is available via this link: http://en.WIKIpedia.org/WIKI/HTTP_Secure

Thinkwise strongly recommends to always use HTTPS. An URL Rewrite rule can redirect users from HTTP to HTTPS automatically.

Certificates

HTTPS works with a certificate that is installed on the web server. An HTTPS certificate is connected to the URL with which the application is going to be accessed. If the URL is not yet available, it should first be requested. For external access to the application, a domain name is needed, for example, \<www.thinkwisesoftware.com\>.

There are various providers of SSL certificates with various options and prices. There is a choice of:

  • Type of validation:
    1. Domain name validation
    2. Organization validation
    3. Comprehensive validation
  • Type of certificate:
    1. Single domain name certificate
    2. Multiple domain names certificate
    3. Wild card certificate
  • Lifespan in years
note

Please note that the certificate is extended in good time in order to prevent cancellation.

The certificate is linked to the URL with which the user can access the web application. Usually, port 443 of the web environment is used to access the web application through HTTPS.

Connecting the certificate to the URL is done in IIS by right-clicking on the website in which the web application has been placed and choosing Edit Bindings… .

Edit bindings Edit bindings…

Normally, one binding has already been specified for a website. This refers to the HTTP type with the IP Address *. This is meant to test the application locally on the web server without HTTPS after deployment.

If a binding is changed or added, the dialogue below will appear. In this dialog, the properties of the web application can be specified in order to access this application externally via the internet. At the bottom of this pop-up, the SSL certificate that has just been installed is chosen. Now, the certificate is connected to the web application's URL and the application can be accessed via HTTPS.

Edit site bindings Edit site bindings

Session timeout

When the session timeout has expired which, by default, is at 20 minutes, the user is automatically logged out. The timeout takes effect from the moment that the user stops clicking within the application. The session timeout can be set up in the IIS manager. This is done as follows:

  1. Choose the correct website where the timeout has to be changed.
  2. After selecting the website, click on the Session State option.
  3. After adjusting the time, click on Apply on to implement the new timeout.

Session timeout

Session timeout Setting up the session timeout

Performance and tuning

Compression

In order to limit the data traffic and, by extension, improve the performance, we strongly advise that Dynamic Content Compression is turned on in IIS. Less data traffic means that the end user will be able to see the result of the executed action more quickly. This functionality must first be installed before it can be used. This can be done by enabling it in Windows Features.

Dynamic Content Compression enabled Dynamic Content Compression enabled

After installing the Dynamic Content Compression, the functionality in IIS can be turned on for specific applications.

Compression button

Ensure that both dynamic and static compression are on. Then restart the Application Pool.

Compression Compression

For Static compression, it can be further specified wat and how much may be compressed. The default settings are sufficient for Thinkwise applications.

Idle time of the Application Pool

By default, IIS stops an Application Pool if it is not used for more than 20 minutes. This Idle time setting can be set on 0 to turn this off. This is especially important for mobile devices with offline data. If the service layer can go off, then the application has lost its memory and thus also its caches.

Thinkwise advises that the Idle time is set on 0 because the first user who accesses the application after this will always have to wait for the application to start up. Depending on the size of the application, this extra waiting time can vary from half a minute to two minutes.

This can be set up on the Application Pool in IIS via Advanced settings > Process model > Idle Time-out.

Automatic recycling of the Application Pool

By default, IIS recycles an application every 1740 minutes (29 hours) in order to prevent potential problems in the application or server. This means that logged-in users will lose their session and have to log in again. Thinkwise advises that recycling be done at a fixed time, for example, daily or weekly at 03:00.

info

Why 29 hours? Wade suggested 29 hours for the simple reason that it is the smallest prime number over 24. He wanted a staggered and non-repeating pattern that does not occur more frequently than once per day. In Wade's words:'you don't get a resonate pattern'. The default has been 1740 minutes (29 hours) ever since! (Source: https://weblogs.asp.net/owscott/why-is-the-iis-default-app-pool-recycle-set-to-1740-minutes)

This setting can be configured by clicking on the Application Pool in IIS and then right-clicking on the Recycling button.

Recycling settings Recycling settings

Application initialization

After a manual or automatic recycle of the Application Pool, IIS provides various Application Initialization options to prepare and "warm up" the application before the first user sends a request. This way, the first request is just as fast as all other requests. You can enable the Application Initialization feature through Windows Features.

https://weblog.west-wind.com/images/2013Windows-Live-Writer/Use-IIS-Application-Initi.NET-Apps-alive_14732/WindowsFeatures_2.png Enable Application Initialization

See http://www.iis.net/learn/get-started/whats-new-in-iis-8/iis-80-application-initialization for more information. Recycle the Application Pool in order to use the changes.

Start mode

On the Application Pool, the Start Mode can be set up on AlwaysRunning instead of OnDemand.

Preload

On the application in IIS, Preload enabled can be set up on True instead of False.

When enabled, a new Application Pool is started after a recycle and, when this is done, the old pool is stopped. In this way, active users do not need to wait for very long before they can continue. Via Windows' Task manager, what happens to the Application Pools during a restart process can be seen by keeping an eye on the w3wp.exe processes.

Troubleshooting IIS deployment

Errors that have occurred can be found in the Windows Event Viewer in Windows Logs > Application.