Internet Information Services

An Internet Information Services server (IIS server) is a Windows Server-based web application that is used to deliver website content over the Internet to an end user.

IIS is a server role that can be installed and is included with all Microsoft Windows Server products. Recently, Microsoft has bundled IIS components with professional versions of its desktop operating system products, such as Windows 10 Pro; however, IIS is typically deployed and centrally managed on one or more Microsoft Windows servers.

Apache vs.
Internet Information Services

There are two commonly used Web server applications: Apache and Internet Information Services. Apache is an open source installable application, commonly used on open system platforms such as Linux, while IIS is a server role configured on top of a licensed copy of Windows Server. Since IIS is a Microsoft product, IIS offers several advantages over Apache; probably the biggest advantage is that the user base will, in most cases, already be familiar with the layout, design, and terminology of the product, simply because most of them are existing Windows operators. This makes the product very easy to learn and use, and allows direct integration of other Microsoft products into IIS, such as SharePoint, PowerShell and Microsoft Office.

Product support

Microsoft also provides product support for all licensed copies of Windows Server, so there is no need to purchase additional support packages as with most open source Web server applications. Because IIS uses C# and .NET web application frameworks such as ASP.NET MVC and Entity Framework; plus it integrates with Visual Studio, making it a popular choice for enterprises. Other key benefits include native .NET, ASPX and PHP support for modules and scripts, allowing web developers to create engaging and seamlessly designed content for their web creations.

Service updates

Since IIS is part of Windows Server, updates are typically released at the same time as each operating system revision or new release. First released in 1995, IIS was originally developed internally by Microsoft as an add-on for Windows NT 3.51. It was first bundled with the OS when Windows NT 4.0 was released in 1996; this inclusion of IIS by default caused many system administrators and web developers to take notice of IIS at first. With the release of Windows Server 2000, its popularity quickly increased, and the demand for the release of Windows Server 2003 grew exponentially. Various versions of IIS have been released with Windows Server 2008, Server 2012, and most recently Windows Server 2016, which was released with IIS version 10.

Who is IIS suitable for?

Today, IIS is found extensively in data centers around the world and powers some of the most popular websites online, including,, and IIS is growing significantly in popularity and usage. It is estimated that nearly 30% of active Web sites on the Internet use IIS as their Web server platform. IIS is probably most commonly used by enterprise IT because it can be centrally managed and scaled to create large web server farms for high-traffic, high-demand websites.

IIS features

Other key features of IIS are the ability for users to delegate control over the administration of a website or web application. This is great for creating access controls for different departments. For example, your web developers may only need access to the frontend of a website, and your IT technical teams may only require access to the configuration (or backend). IIS is easy to integrate with technology APIs. This is not limited to Microsoft APIs, but any cloud APIs as well. IIS also scales very well. The core functionality is web page load balancing as well as dynamic caching and compression. This technology reduces the hardware overhead on the host server(s), which can be used to reduce the server footprint or can allow for extra bandwidth during peak trading or high-demand sales events such as Black Friday.

IIS security

Microsoft has significantly improved IIS security since the release of NT 4.0. Security patches and updates can be easily managed with seamless load balancing capabilities. This allows you to remove servers from the farm, patch them, and then add them back to the farm with zero impact to the production website. Web sites and web applications can be isolated because IIS worker processes have a unique secure identity. This ensures that IIS websites and applications will not be impacted by other network failures or security breaches, making it ideal for solutions such as HIPAA-compliant website hosting.

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