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Administering IIS in Windows Server 2003 Remotely

There are three different options available in Windows Server 2003 to manage Web services provided by Internet Information Services remotely: using the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager, using Terminal Services, and using the Remote Administration (HTML) tool. Choosing the correct option depends on the type of administration necessary, the network connection, and the type of client machine from which the administrator is working. This section describes the different remote administration options for Web server administrators and defines the scenarios in which each method is appropriate.

Using Internet Information Services Manager (IIS)

Internet Information Services Manager is the default tool by which Web services are administered on a Web server. In addition to managing the Web services on a local server, this administrative tool can be configured to connect to other servers running IIS. It is important to keep in mind that the IIS Manager should be used to remotely connect to Web servers available on the intranet, not on the Internet.

Windows Server 2003 provides a completely reworked version of IIS: version 6. Although there are many new features available in IIS 6.0, the manager tool installed with the Web service supports the management of down-level versions of IIS. So, in addition to providing remote administrative functionality to servers running IIS 6.0, the IIS Manager also can remotely connect to and manage Web servers running IIS 5.1 and 5.0.

To use the Internet Information Services Manager to manage a Web server remotely, follow these steps:

  1. On the IIS 6.0-based server, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Internet Information Services Manager.

  2. Click on the Action menu, and choose Connect.

  3. In the Computer Name box, type the computer name of the remote Web server, and then click OK. It is also possible to enter the IP address of the Web server, as shown in Figure 8.8.

  4. The remote computer is displayed under Internet Information Services (IIS) in the tree pane.

It Might Not Be Possible to Connect to an IIS Computer

If TCP/IP and a name resolution server such as Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) are not available, it might not be possible to connect to an IIS computer by using the computer name.

Figure 8.8Figure 8.8 Remotely managing an IIS server.

Using Terminal Services

If Remote Desktop for Administration is enabled on the Web server, you can connect to and administer IIS using the RDP client. Just as the previous method of connecting to a Web server with IIS Manager provided down-level support to Web servers that are not running IIS 6.0, the terminal service method of remote administration provides an up-level mode of administration. So, the client workstation from which the remote connection is made can administer IIS 6.0 from any operating system that supports the terminal service client. In addition to using Windows Server 2003, the client machine can be Windows 98, NT 4.0, XP, or 2000.

To remotely administer an IIS server with terminal services, simply follow these steps:

  1. On a computer on which the Terminal Services client is installed, start the Terminal Services client.

  2. Connect to the remote IIS-based computer.

  3. From the Terminal Services Client window, administer IIS as if logged on to the computer locally. For example, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Internet Information Services Manager to start the Internet Information Services Manager.

Using the Remote Administration (HTML) Tool

To manage Web servers through a Web browser, you can configure and use the Remote Administration (HTML) tool. Though this tool does not offer the full feature set of the Internet Information Services Manager, you can perform most Web and FTP site management tasks with the added flexibility of accessing your servers from the Web.

The Remote Administration (HTML) Tool provided with Windows Server 2003 IIS is not backwards compatible. In other words, it cannot be used to manage IIS 5.0 or 5.1; it will only work with IIS 6.0.

The HTML tool is not enabled by default when IIS 6.0 is installed. Also, depending on how IIS was installed on the server, the HTML tool might need to be added before it can be used. To add the HTML tool to an existing IIS server, perform the following steps:

  1. From the Control Panel, run Add or Remove Programs.

  2. Choose Add/Remove Windows Components.

  3. Navigate to Application Server\Internet Information Services\World Wide Web Services and then choose Remote HTML Administration. Click the OK button three times for dialog prompts and then click Next.

  4. Insert the Windows Server 2003 installation media when prompted.

  5. When the installation completes, click Finish.

After the HTML tool is installed, the remote administration functionality must be enabled in Internet Information Services Manager. To maintain a high level of security for the Web server, it is important to restrict remote access to the server to a select IP address or group of IP addresses from which the server can be remotely administered. In the following example, a Web server will be enabled for remote administration, but will be configured so that only a computer with an IP address of will be able to remotely administer IIS for that server. To enable the HTML remote administration tool, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Internet Information Services Manager.

  2. Expand ServerName, where ServerName is the name of the Web server, and then expand Web Sites.

  3. Right-click Administration and then click Properties.

  4. Under Web Site Identification, record the numbers that are displayed in the TCP Port box and SSL Port boxes. The defaults are 8099 and 8098.

  5. Click the Directory Security tab, and then click the Edit button under IP address and domain name restrictions.

  6. In the IP Address and Domain Name Restriction dialog box that appears, click Denied Access, and then click Add.

  7. The Grant Access On dialog box appears. Under Type, click Single computer.

  8. Type the IP address, in this example, as shown in Figure 8.9, and then click OK.

  9. Click OK again to complete the configuration, and close Internet Information Services Manager.

Opening Remote Administration

Although it is possible to open remote administration of Web servers and Web sites to all computers, it is advisable for security purposes to grant access to only a select group of computers.

Figure 8.9Figure 8.9 Securing Remote Administration of IIS.

After the Remote Tool is installed, and the Web server is enabled for remote administration, perform the following steps to remotely administer the Web server:

  1. Start Microsoft Internet Explorer, and then type the host name of the Web server, followed by the port number that was recorded earlier in the SSL Port box, and then click Go.

  2. For example, if the Web server is on an intranet, and the SSL port number is 8098, type the following URL: https://ServerName:8098 (where ServerName is the name of the Web server).

  3. At the prompt, enter a username and password for the Web server. The Remote Administration Tool is then displayed in the browser window.

  4. From this point, there are several links and options to choose from in administering the Web server. Choose one that is appropriate for the task at hand and continue to remotely manage the server.

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