Select Page

ASP.NET Core Hosting on IIS on Windows

This article will provide details about how to deploy ASP.NET Core web application or Web API on IIS. .NET Core 2.2 onwards there were significant changes in the hosting model to IIS. Prior to .NET Core 2.2 only option available was to use IIS as a reverse proxy to ASP.NET Core Kestrel web server.

With .NET Core 2.2 option was added for direct in-process hosting to IIS which can improve the performance significantly. The old approach with IIS as a reverse proxy is also available as an out-of-process hosting model. ASP.NET Core hosting on IIS supports two models for hosting on the IIS i.e. In-process hosting model & out-of-process hosting model.

ASP.NET Core Hosting on IIS is different as compared to ASP.NET Webforms or ASP.NET MVC.

Supported operating systems

  • Windows 7 or later
  • Windows server 2012 R2 or later

Apps published for 32 bit (x86) and 64 bit (x64) are supported. Application pools under should be configured accordingly for 32-bit & 64-bit apps.

Type of Hosting Models

ASP.NET Core Hosting on IIS
In-process hosting model

As the name suggests ASP.NET Core application runs in the same process as IIS (w3wp.exe) and it does not use the Kestrel web server. This hosting model uses IISHttpServer that is hosted directly inside the application pool. This hosting model provides a significant performance improvement over the other out-of-process model as it does not have to forward requests to Kestrel for processing. IIS handles process management in the traditional way with the help of windows process activation service (WAS).

Request flow details:

  • Request arrives from web at HTTP.sys
  • HTTP.sys routes the request to IIS
  • ASP.NET Core module receives the request and passes it to IIS HTTP Server.
  • IISHTTPServer passes the request to ASP.NET Core middleware pipeline.
  • ASP.NET Core application handles the request and returns response
Out-of-process hosting model

Again as the name suggests here ASP.NET Core application runs in a separate process from the IIS worker process. This is similar to what was available in ASP.NET Core versions prior to 2.2. ASP.NET Core module handles process management, this module is responsible for starting the ASP.NET Core App when the first request arrives & also restarts if it shuts down or crashes.

Here IIS acts as a reverse proxy to Kestrel web server where ASP.NET Core application is running. For application to be configured as an out-of-process model it needs to specify UseIISIntegration as part of WebHostBuilder code in the program.cs file. ASP.NET Core module doesn’t support HTTPS forwarding.

Steps for ASP.NET Core hosting on IIS

  • Publish your application
  • Install/Enable IIS Server on windows
  • Install the .NET Core Hosting Bundle
  • Create a new application pool & website for your application
Publish your Application

Right click on project in Solution Explorer and select Publish option. This should being up the screen to publish your code. Select Folder option to publish all the files to a folder. This folder will be configured in IIS as website folder.

IIS Configuration

Use the Add Roles & Features wizard to Enable IIS on Windows server operating system.

IIS Installation

Select following services under web server on Select role services screen

IIS Installation Select Services

For windows desktop operating system select Control Panel ==> Program ==> Program & Features ==> Turn windows features on or off and select following features for installations

IIS Installation on Windows Desktop

Newsletter Subscription

Stay updated! Instantly get notified about my new articles in your mailbox by subscribing via email

Install .NET Hosting Bundle

You can download the required version of the hosting bundle from here. The hosting bundle installs the .NET Core Runtime, .NET Core Library, and the ASP.NET Core Module.

If the Hosting Bundle is installed before IIS, the bundle installation must be repaired. Run the Hosting Bundle installer again after installing IIS.

Create IIS Site

Open IIS Manager & expand server node in connections panel on left hand side. Right click site folder and select “Add Website…” from the context menu. Provide Site name, Physical path (where code was published), binding configuration details & click on ok.

IIS Create Website

Finally browse and check your website.

Summary

ASP.NET Core hosting on IIS supports two models for hosting on the IIS i.e. In-process hosting model & out-of-process hosting model. .NET Core 2.2 onward there were significant changes in the hosting model to IIS.

In-process hosting model provides a significant performance improvement over the other out-of-process model as it does not have to forward requests to Kestrel for processing

References: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/aspnet/core/host-and-deploy/iis/?view=aspnetcore-3.1

You can also check my other Article on Configuring multiple ASP.NET Core hosting environment: https://procodeguide.com/programming/asp-net-core-hosting-environment/

IIS Logs

Internet Information Server (IIS) is a web server from Microsoft that gets shipped with Windows Operating System. All the requests made to Web Serves are recorded in IIS Logs.

Configure IIS Logs

You can configure IIS logs to capture details of all the HTTP requests along with status that is processed by the sites hosted on that IIS. IIS logs can help you troubleshoot your site.

IIS logs can be configured at the Server or Site level. I personally prefer configuring logging at the Server level as this sets a default logging configuration for all the new sites.

IIS Manager can be used to configure logging. Note that HTTP Logging feature should be installed (refer image below) for logging to be available

Enable HTTP Log on Windows

Configure or change setting using IIS Manager as shown below

Configure IIS Logs

Based on your requirements you can configure the following fields:

  • One log file per Site or Server, the default value is site & I personally prefer site.
  • Log File Format – IIS, NCSA, W3C, or Custom. W3C is a customizable option with different fields so you can log important properties and limiting the log size if required.
  • Select Fields to be Logged (Only available for file format W3C). The detailed list of Fields is covered in the next section.
  • Directory where logs will be saved
  • Log Event Destination
  • Logfile rollover settings

List of IIS W3C Log Fields

Here is the complete list of fields that are available for logging in the IIS logging module under log file format W3C.

  • Date (date): date of request.
  • Time (time): time of the request in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
  • Client IP Address (c-ip): the client IP address that made the request.
  • User Name (cs-username): the name of the authenticated user who made the request. A hyphen indicates an anonymous user.
  • Service Name (s-sitename): the site service name and instance number that handled the request.
  • Server Name (s-computername): the name of the server on which request was made.
  • Server IP Address (s-ip): the IP address of the server on which request was made.
  • Server Port (s-port): the server port number that is configured for the service.
  • Method (cs-method): the requested action, for example, a GET method.
  • URI Stem (cs-uri-stem): the URI, or target, of the action.
  • URI Query (cs-uri-query): the query, if any, that the client was trying to perform. A URI query is necessary only for dynamic pages.
  • Protocol Status (sc-status): the HTTP request status code.
  • Protocol Substatus (sc-substatus): the HTTP request substatus error code.
  • Win32 Status (sc-win32-status): the Windows status code.
  • Bytes Sent (sc-bytes): the number of bytes that the server sent to the client.
  • Bytes Received (cs-bytes): the number of bytes that the server received from the client.
  • Time Taken (time-taken): the time that the request took to complete (in milliseconds).
  • Protocol Version (cs-version): the HTTP protocol version that the client used.
  • Host (cs-host): the hostname, if any.
  • User Agent (cs(UserAgent)): the browser type that client used for request.
  • Cookie (cs(Cookie)): the content of the cookie sent or received.
  • Referrer (cs(Referrer)): the site that the user last visited. This site provided a link to the current site.

Newsletter Subscription

Stay updated! Instantly get notified about my new articles in your mailbox by subscribing via email

IIS Logs Location

Normally default location for IIS Log files is %SystemDrive%\inetpub\logs\LogFiles. But one can even change this location and log to a different directory.

To verify or change IIS logs file directory follow below steps

1. Start IIS Manager (Version 8.5) by either from Start=>run “intetmgr” or from Control Panel=>Administrative Tools=>Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager

Start IIS Manager
Start IIS Manager

2. In IIS Manager from Connections Tree on the left Panel select the site for which Logs directory needs to be configured. From Feature View in center double click on Icon Logging

IIS Logs Location

On the Logging screen under Log File=>Directory you can find the configured location for IIS Log Files. Alternatively, you can click on action “View Log Files” to navigate directly to the logs folder in Windows Explorer.

IIS Logs Location

Analyze IIS Logs

You can use one of the various available tools to analyze IIS logs. One of the tools is WebLog Expert which provides a complete analysis report from IIS Logs.

You can also manually analyze IIS Logs using the free tool provided by Microsoft i.e. Log Parser. Log Parser is a command-line tool used to query IIS Logs. In fact, as per Microsoft, Log Parser is universal query access to text-based data such as log files, XML, CSV & Windows Event Logs. Log Parser supports a variety of output formats.

Log parser can be downloaded from this link. Installation is pretty easy. Alternatively, Log Parser Studio that is built on top of the log parser can also be used. Log Parser Studio is a graphical user interface based tool that comes with many predefined queries that can be used for analysis.

Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/iis/manage/provisioning-and-managing-iis/configure-logging-in-iis

You can also check my another Article explaining how to analyze ASP.NET application issues – https://procodeguide.com/programming/analyze-aspnet-application-issues/