How To Create a Virtual Directory in Internet Information Services (IIS)

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Article ID: 172138 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q172138
We strongly recommend that all users upgrade to Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) version 7.0 running on Microsoft Windows Server 2008. IIS 7.0 significantly increases Web infrastructure security. For more information about IIS security-related topics, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/prodtech/IIS.mspx
For more information about IIS 7.0, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.iis.net/default.aspx?tabid=1
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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to create a virtual directory in Internet Information Server (IIS) versions 3.0 and 4.0 and in Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.0 and 5.1.

Introduction

Each of the Internet services can publish from multiple directories. Each directory can be located on a local drive or across the network by specifying the directory with a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) name and a user name and password to use for access permission. A virtual server can have one home directory and any number of other publishing directories. These other publishing directories are referred to as virtual directories.

To simplify client URL addresses, the services present the whole set of publishing directories to clients as a single directory tree. The home directory is the root of this virtual directory tree, and each virtual directory is addressed as if it was a subdirectory of the home directory. Actual subdirectories of the virtual directories are available to clients also. The World Wide Web (WWW) service alone supports virtual servers; therefore, the FTP and gopher services can have only one home directory.

When a virtual directory is defined in Internet Service Manager, an alias is associated with the virtual directory. The alias is the name that will be used by clients to access information in the virtual directory. If alias names for virtual directories are not specified by the administrator, an alias name is generated automatically by Internet Service Manager.

For example, an administrator may define two virtual directories for the WWW service as follows:
   C:\WWWRoot

   D:\Webdata      Alias = data
				

If the site is named MyWeb, clients access these virtual directories as follows:
   http://MyWeb/WWWRoot

   http://MyWeb/data
				

Create Virtual Directories in IIS 3.0

  1. In Internet Service Manager, double-click the service for which you want to add a virtual directory to display its property sheets.
  2. Click the Directories tab.
  3. Click Add.
  4. Click Browse to select a directory in the Directory box.
  5. Click Virtual Directory, then type the name of the virtual directory in the Alias box.
  6. Set the access permissions.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click Apply, and then click OK.
For more information, see the Internet Information Server online documentation and the Microsoft Windows NT Server Resource Kit.

Create Virtual Directories in IIS 4.0

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, click to select Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack, point to Microsoft Internet Information Server, and then click Internet Service Manager.

    NOTE: For these steps, do not click Internet Service Manager (HTML).
  2. Expand Internet Information Server.
  3. Expand the server name.
  4. In the left pane, right-click Default Web Site, point to New, and then click Virtual Directory.
  5. In the first screen of the New Virtual Directory Wizard, type an alias, or name, for the virtual directory (such as MyWebData), and then click Next.
  6. In the second screen, click Browse. Locate the content folder that you created to hold the Web content. Click Next.
  7. In the third screen, click to select Read and Run scripts (such as ASP). Make sure that the other check boxes are cleared. Click Finish to complete the wizard.
  8. For ASP content, you may want to confirm that an application was created. To do this, right-click the new virtual directory, and then click Properties.
  9. Click Virtual Directory and make sure that the virtual directory name is listed in the Application Name box under Application Settings. If it is not, click Create.
  10. Close the Properties dialog box, and then close IIS.

Create Virtual Directories in IIS 5.0

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, click to select Administrative Tools, and then click Internet Services Manager.
  2. Expand the server name.
  3. In the left pane, right-click Default Web Site, point to New, and then click Virtual Directory.
  4. In the first screen of the Virtual Directory Creation Wizard, type an alias, or name, for the virtual directory (such as MyWebData), and then click Next.
  5. In the second screen, click Browse. Locate the content folder that you created to hold the content. Click Next.
  6. In the third screen, click to select Read and Run scripts (such as ASP). Make sure that the other check boxes are cleared. Click Finish to complete the wizard.
  7. For ASP content, you may want to confirm that an application was created. To do this, right-click the new virtual directory, and then click Properties.
  8. On the Virtual Directory tab, make sure that the virtual directory name is listed in the Application Name box under Application Settings. If it is not, click Create. Note that the application name does not have to match the virtual directory alias.
  9. Close the Properties dialog box.

Create Virtual Directories in IIS 5.1

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, click to select Administrative Tools, and then click Internet Services Manager.
  2. Expand the server name.
  3. In the left pane, right-click Default Web Site, point to New, and then click Virtual Directory.
  4. In the first screen of the Virtual Directory Creation Wizard, type an alias, or name, for the virtual directory (such as MyWebData), and then click Next.
  5. In the second screen, click Browse. Locate the content folder that you created to hold the content. Click Next.
  6. In the third screen, select Read and Run scripts (such as ASP). Make sure that the other check boxes are cleared. Click Finish to complete the wizard.
  7. For ASP content, you may want to confirm that an application was created. To do this, right-click the new virtual directory, and then click Properties.
  8. On the Virtual Directory tab, make sure that the virtual directory name is listed in the Application Name box under Application Settings. If it is not, click Create. Note that the application name does not have to match the virtual directory alias.
  9. Close the Properties dialog box.

Additional Considerations

  • You can create an almost unlimited number of virtual directories for your service, although performance may suffer if you create too many of them.
  • To locate virtual directories, the URL for the virtual directory must be specified. You can do this by either clicking a hypertext link that contains the URL or by typing the URL in the browser. For the gopher service, you can create explicit links in tag files so that users can access virtual directories. For the FTP service, you can list virtual directories by using directory annotations or by creating a subfolder with the same name as the virtual directory.For additional information about using FTP directory annotations, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    141705 How to Set Up Directory Annotation for Internet Server FTP
  • If you are using the NTFS file system, you can also create a virtual directory as follows:
    1. Right-click a directory in Windows Explorer.
    2. Click Sharing.
    3. Click to select the Web Sharing property sheet.
  • In IIS 3.0, any virtual directory that is not associated with a specific IP address is accessible from all Web sites that are hosted on the server. In IIS 4.0 and later, this behavior is changed to make a virtual directory accessible from multiple Web sites that use multiple IP addresses. To make a virtual directory accessible from multiple Web sites that use multiple IP addresses, you must now add the virtual directory to each site.
  • Deleting a virtual directory does not delete the corresponding physical directory or files.

REFERENCES

For additional information about creating and deleting virtual directories programmatically, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
188954 Create and Delete Virtual Directories in IIS 4.0 (Programmatically)
For more information about creating virtual directories in IIS versions 4.0, 5.0, and 5.1, see the IIS Help topics. If these are installed, you can access them by typing http://servername/iisHelp/ in the Web server (where servername is the name of the server that is running IIS). The documentation files are located at %SystemRoot%\Help.

Properties

Article ID: 172138 - Last Review: July 7, 2008 - Revision: 5.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Internet Information Server 3.0
  • Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services 5.0
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services version 5.1
Keywords: 
kbhowtomaster kbusage KB172138

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