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Remote IIS Web Site Projects

A remote Internet Information Services (IIS) Web site project is like a local IIS Web site project except that it is associated with a copy of IIS that is running on another computer. Visual Studio communicates with the Web site project by using the HTTP protocol and FrontPage Server Extensions from Microsoft.

Creating or opening a remote IIS Web site project is useful when you want to do the following:

  • You do not want to install IIS on your development computer, but you have access to IIS running on another computer.

  • You want to test your Web site project using IIS, which closely emulates how the Web site project will run on a production server. This can have advantages over working with file-system Web site projects that run using the Visual Studio Development Server because paths are resolved as they will be on a production server and the security context is the same as on the production server.

For more information about how to create or open remote IIS Web site projects, see the following documents on the Microsoft TechNet site:

Alternatively, if you have IIS running on your computer, you can create a local IIS Web site project. For more information, see Local IIS Web Site Projects.

To create or open a remote IIS Web site requires the following:

  • The remote computer must have at least IIS version 5.0 installed and running.

  • The remote computer must be running the .NET Framework version that the Web site you are creating targets. This must be version 2.0 or a later version. For more information about targeting Web sites for specific versions of the .NET Framework, see .NET Framework Multi-Targeting for ASP.NET Web Projects.

  • ASP.NET must be enabled in IIS on the remote computer.

To open an existing site on the remote computer, the following must also be true:

  • The site must be configured to use ASP.NET 2.0 or a later version. It is possible to have ASP.NET 2.0 or later installed on the remote computer but have the site to be opened still mapped to use an earlier version of ASP.NET.

When you create a remote IIS Web site project, Visual Studio performs all of the tasks on the remote computer that are required in order to make the Web site function as an IIS application. Visual Studio creates the folder or folders for your Web site project in the path you specified when creating the site, and then creates the files for the Web site project template that you selected.

When Visual Studio creates the Web site on the remote server, it sets permissions that allow you to create and edit pages and components in the Web site based on your FrontPage Server Extensions administration or author permissions. However, Visual Studio cannot set certain permissions on folders that might be required by ASP.NET at run time.

At run time, your Web site runs in the context of the ASP.NET user account, either ASPNET (for Windows XP Professional) or NETWORK SERVICES (for Windows Server 2003 or later). If the application updates files, the process that it runs under must have Modify and Write permissions for those files and the folders in which they are located. A typical example is if your Web site has an App_Data folder for XML files or a local database. Without the appropriate permissions, the application cannot update the data in this folder.

Therefore, if your application must update files, you must grant Write and Modify permissions to the ASP.NET user account for the folders to be updated. If you cannot set these permissions yourself, you must have an administrator on the remote computer perform this task for you.

When you create or open a remote IIS Web site, Visual Studio creates a project to manage the files. The project stores a small amount of information such as your choices for how to run the application and what debuggers are available. Project information is stored on your local computer on a per-user basis. For more information, see ASP.NET Web Projects.

By default, when you run a remote IIS Web site project to test it, Visual Studio launches a browser and runs the Web site project using the server name of the remote site. For example, if you have created the Web site ExampleSite on the server TestServer, when you test it in Visual Studio, the browser will request the test page from this URL:

http://TestServer/ExampleSite/page

For more information, see Testing Web Pages in Visual Web Developer.

If the remote IIS Web site project that you are working with is not already on the production server, you have to deploy the site to a production server. For more information about how to deploy Web site projects, see ASP.NET Deployment Content Map.

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