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How to: Find the Web Application Root

Last modified: October 07, 2009

Applies to: SharePoint Foundation 2010

A Web application is a core structure of Internet Information Services (IIS). It represents an available URL namespace (for example, http://example). The Web application root is the folder on your hard disk that corresponds to this URL namespace. For example, placing a file called file.htm in the Web application root folder results in an available URL at http://example/file.htm.

A site created with Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 builds on top of these Web applications. In most cases, the files that show up in the namespace for a SharePoint Foundation 2010 site are stored in the database and do not physically reside in the Web application root. However, the Web application root does contain some files that are used by the SharePoint site or by Web Parts built with Microsoft ASP.NET, as follows:

  • The web.config file, which stores ASP.NET configuration options

  • Any Microsoft.NET Framework assemblies that have controls or parts that the SharePoint site uses, which are stored in the bin folder

  • Any Web Part definitions (.dwp or .webpart files) used throughout the Web application, which are stored in the wpcatalog folder

  • Any resources for Web Parts specific to the Web application, which are stored in the wpresources folder

Typically, the default Web application root for port 80 is stored at c:\inetpub\wwwroot. A Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 installation normally took over the default Web application; therefore, the default Web application root for a SharePoint site created with Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 was located there.

An installation of SharePoint Foundation typically provisions a new Web application, most often called SharePoint (80). The physical location of this path is c:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\<guid>.

There usually are at least two <guid> directories in VirtualDirectories—one for the central administration application, and one for the default content application. To find out which application is which, use the following procedure to determine the root directory of your Web application. This procedure applies to Windows Server 2003 that is running Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0.

Tip Tip

To work with the files in your Web application, right-click the root directory of your application and select Explore. Doing so changes the right pane of IIS Manager into an Explorer window, in which you can right-click files to open or edit them, or view their properties.

To determine the Web application root directory

  1. Click the Start menu on the Windows desktop, click Control Panel, and double-click Administrative Tools.

  2. In the Administrative Tools window, double-click Internet Information Services.

  3. In the Internet Information Services window, expand the node that corresponds to your computer, and then expand the Web Sites node.

  4. Right-click the Web application you want more information about, such as SharePoint (80), and then click Properties.

  5. In the Default Web Site Properties window, click the Home Directory tab.

    The Local Path field in this tab shows the Web application root folder.

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