Three IIS Tuning Tips to Speed Up Your Web Server
Internet Information Services (IIS) is the heart of Windows web hosting. If you run a Windows environment, you probably use IIS for hosting services. Forty percent of users bounce from a website that takes more than three seconds to load, so performance is imperative for good sales conversions. Here are three ways to quickly speed up a web server for better performance.
Bandwidth is a necessity for fast web pages, and compression uses your bandwidth more efficiently. Compression reduces the size of files stored on the server and transmitted to the user’s browser.
Open IIS and find the “Compression” icon in the list of website features. Click “Enable dynamic content compression.” Click “Apply” and that’s it. Compression is enabled for your pages. For more advanced users, you can specify file sizes, filter applications and choose a cache directory. For basic compression, allow IIS to manage these settings.
Alternatively, for those people who prefer the command console, dynamic compression can be enabled by typing “appcmd set config /section:urlCompression /doDynamicCompression:True” in the console command line.
Enable Output Caching
Similar to a browser’s cache, IIS also hosts its own cache system. Each time a user requests a page on the server, IIS processes the page, the database is called, and then the page content is sent to the user. Caching keeps a copy of pages in memory, which greatly increases performance. Caching should only be used for pages that don’t change often.
In IIS, click “Output Caching” to view a list of current rules. Click “Add” to create your own rule. Type the file extension for pages you want to cache. For instance, if you have a storefront with pages that rarely change, you want to choose these file extensions. Typically, dynamic file extensions are PHP or ASPX.
Click “Advanced” to choose how long you want to store these cached pages, and to choose any query string variables. Choosing query string variables will limit cached dynamic content, so you can filter specific pages. Expiration dates determine the next time the server will execute dynamic data and re-query for new page content.
Turn Off Logging
IIS logs each page request in a text file, but flat-file systems are slower than the internal Windows Event Viewer. Event Viewer is standard with all Windows servers, and it’s a convenient way to find page errors. Flat files grow into gigabytes of data for high-traffic sites. Logging is useful in development and testing environments, but logging should be turned off in production environments.
Open IIS and click “Logging” in the website features. Click “Disable.” In the logging section, IIS displays the directory in which files are stored. Delete these files to free up some hard disk space.
These three configurations speed up an IIS server, but they also don’t circumvent good coding, fast hosts and bandwidth availability. If you think the site needs improvement for any of these factors, tuning IIS will only place a small band-aid on a larger performance bleed. Tuning IIS helps improve speed, but a full audit is needed for sites with severe performance issues.