Types of Web Site Projects in Visual Studio
Describes different methods Visual Studio can use to access files for Web site projects.
Visual Studio can access the files of a Web site project directly in a computer's file system, through IIS on the local computer or a remote computer, or through FTP on a remote computer. The names of Web site project types identify the method used: file-system sites, local or remote IIS sites, and File Transfer Protocol (FTP)–deployed sites.
In a file-system Web site project, you can create and edit files in any folder, whether on your local computer or in a folder on another computer that you access over a network. You are not required to run IIS on your computer. Instead, you can test pages by using the Visual Studio Development Server. For details, see Web Servers in Visual Studio for ASP.NET Web Projects.
You can create a file-system Web site project and later create an IIS virtual directory that points to the folder containing your pages. For details, see How to: Create IIS Virtual Directories in Visual Studio.
You test local IIS Web site projects using a copy of IIS that is installed on your computer. When you create a local IIS Web site project, the pages and folders for your site are stored in a folder under the default IIS folder for Web sites, which is located at [drive]:\Inetpub\wwwroot. Visual Studio also creates the appropriate IIS configuration so that the Web site is recognized by IIS as an application.
To create a local IIS Web site project, you need to have administrative privileges on the computer.
Alternatively, you can create an IIS virtual directory in Visual Studio. In that case, the pages and folders for your Web site can be in any folder to which users have access, and a virtual directory in your local copy of IIS must point to the file location. For more information, see ASP.NET Required Access Control Lists (ACLs).
A remote Web site project uses IIS that is on another computer that you can access over a local area network. The remote computer must have IIS installed and be configured with FrontPage Server Extensions from Microsoft. When you create a remote Web site project, the pages and folders for your site are stored under the default IIS folder on the remote computer. By default, this folder is located at [drive]:\Inetpub\wwwroot. When you test pages in the project, they are served using IIS on the remote computer.
Visual Studio allows you to open and edit Web sites that are available on an FTP server. This is a typical scenario if your Web site is located on a hosting site.
You can connect from within Visual Studio to any FTP server on which you have Read/Write permissions. You can then create and edit Web pages on that server. If the FTP server is configured with ASP.NET and an IIS virtual root that points to the FTP directory, you can also run your pages from the server to test them. For more information, see Walkthrough: Editing Web Sites with FTP in Visual Studio.
The following table summarizes the types of Web site projects that you can create in Visual Studio, which you can use when deciding which type of Web site meets your needs.
Web site project type
File-system Web site project
Use a file-system Web site project when you want to create Web pages on your local computer or on a shared drive and you do not have IIS installed. You can create a file-system Web site and later create an IIS virtual directory that points to the folder containing your pages.
Local IIS Web site project
Use when you want to create Web pages on your local computer and you have IIS installed.
Remote IIS Web site project
Use when you want to create a Web site by using IIS running on a remote computer. The remote computer must be configured with FrontPage Server Extensions.
FTP Web site project
Use an FTP Web site project when your site already exists on a remote computer that has been configured as an FTP server. (For example, your Internet service provider (ISP) has provided space on a server.)