IIS is the web server developed by Microsoft, that lets you host a website or application. IIS comes with any Windows OS, whether it is a Client or Server version. The Graphical User Interface of IIS is similar to all Windows environments.
People love it because they are familiar to Windows OS and it is relatively easy to install and use.
In this article, we will take a closer look into IIS, its components, why its important to monitor it, and the top monitoring tools:
What is IIS?
IIS stands for Internet Information Services and is a set of services for web servers using MS Windows.
IIS is mainly used in web servers and is as popular as other web servers like NGINX and Apache.
The IIS web server is created by Microsoft only for the family of Windows NT operating systems.
By default, the IIS web server supports only HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, and SMTP but you can enable other protocols like TCP, PIPE, HTTP/2 in newer versions or with added features.
IIS is very secure, stable, and flexible.
Almost all IIS versions were released alongside a version of MS Windows.
The latest version is the IIS10.0, but the most popular is the IIS8.0.
Essential IIS Components
At the most basic level, IIS is composed of the following components:
- Web Server
IIS is commonly used to host static HTTP websites and ASP.NET web applications.
Although it is not so common, IIS can also be configured as an FTP server or to host web applications built on PHP (and other platforms).
IIS also provides robust security through Basic or Windows authentication, and it is also capable of filtering requests.
It also comes with other essential security features such as management of TLS certificates, so that you can enable HTTPS or SFTP on your web server.
An essential component of the IIS is its management functionality which can be done through its Console, CLI, or using scripts (PowerShell) and other tools.
A great feature of IIS is that is can be operated remotely.
Importance of Monitoring IIS Services
As with any critical business service, running IIS without any monitoring system is risky.
Many businesses depend on their IIS website or web applications and should not allow any downtime.
Monitoring IIS services should be an everyday task in order to ensure reliability, uptime, and security. A single failure in an IIS service can indirectly affect other applications.
On the basic level, it is vital to keep track of services, such as the Application Host Helper Service, Application Host Helper Service, and World Wide Web Publishing Service.
The performance of the IIS web server can also be monitored through specific counters, such as Processor Time, Bytes in Memory, Requests and transactions in Active Server Pages, and more.
Best IIS Monitoring Tools & Software
Thankfully there are some IIS Monitoring tools and software that can keep track of your IIS server.
They can monitor the entire server, websites, and pool of applications, while others only monitor certain services and counters.
1. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor
Server & Application Monitor (SAM) from SolarWinds is a comprehensive server and applications monitoring software.
With SAM, you can monitor the health, performance, and configuration of your IIS servers.
You can also keep track of the IIS websites and application pools.
The software also helps you monitor key server metrics so you can avoid downtime.
Keep track and manage metrics like your server load, usage, memory, CPU, disk utilization, incoming sessions, response time, etc.
SAM displays the real-time performance metrics on its dashboard or sends you proactive notifications that alert you when a server or service is down.
You can even configure SAM to automatically restart certain services, kill a process, reboot a server, or recycle an entire application pool when there is an issue.
- Customizable server monitoring.
- Mapping of Infrastructure dependency.
- Visualize application dependencies.
- Monitor SSL certifications.
- Monitor changes to the IIS server files or configurations.
30 Day Free Trial! Download below and Get started Immediately!
With the 30-day free trial of SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor, you can start monitoring your IIS web server today.
2. PRTG Network Monitor
PRTG Network Monitor is a comprehensive monitoring solution developed by Paessler.
It can keep track of and classify different system parameters and collect statistics from various network devices, servers, and applications.
PRTG works with sensors, which are the basic monitoring elements.
One sensor can keep track of a measured value in the entire network such as traffic or a metric in a single device, such as CPU utilization or a specific service.
PRTG offers out-of-the-box IIS monitoring.
The software comes with a Windows IIS Application sensor which is capable of monitoring web server parameters like:
- # of sent and received bytes per second.
- # of sent and received files per second
- # of users per second.
- # of CGI requests per second.
- # of GET and POST requests per second.
The Price for PRTG Network Monitor depends on the number of monitoring sensors. The basic license starts at $1,330 for PRTG500, which allows up to 500 sensors.
PRTG offers a fully-functionally PRTG that you can test for an unlimited amount of time.
3. ManageEngine Applications Manager
Applications Manager from ManageEngine is a server and applications monitoring software.
It can help you identify and fix performance issues in your IIS web server and critical web services.
When there is a problem, the Applications Manager will send you instant notifications to your email or phone.
The Applications Manager measures statistics in real-time.
The software can help you find the root cause of a problem from a simple URL to a specific line of code.
Then, it enables you to restore the service before it affects the users.
Other Key Features:
- The tool offers monitoring support for over 100 servers and applications.
- Keep track of +100 server counters like CPU/memory utilization, resource availability, response time, etc.
- Manage SLAs by keeping track of performance and availability of important servers and applications.
- Detect anomalies in the performance and manage faults with root cause analysis.
- Powerful reporting helps admins troubleshoot and plan for capacity.
Applications Manager from ManageEngine comes in two different packages, Professional/Enterprise, and Free. For more information on the enterprise edition, request a quote.
Download the Free Applications Manager edition and start monitoring your IIS server with limited capabilities.
You can also download a fully-featured 30-day free trial of the Professional/Enterprise edition.
DatadogHQ is an advanced monitoring service for applications, servers, databases, and services.
It keeps track of your infrastructure through a SaaS-based analytics platform.
DataDog can collect data from distributed systems and convert them into important insights.
DataDog comes with more than 350 built-in integrations to monitor all kinds of systems, servers, apps, services, etc.
Among their integrations is IIS monitoring, which collects metrics across all your servers.
To monitor your IIS servers and services with DataDogHQ, you have to install the Agent Check which gets all the metrics from the servers and lets you know when a service is down.
- Out-of-the-box dashboards.
- Automatic alerts.
- Custom visualizations and reports.
- Log processing, analytics, and monitoring.
The price for Datadog Infrastructure starts at $15 per host /per month (Billed annually or for $18 monthly).
5. PowerAdmin Server Monitor
Power Admin “PA” develops simple but powerful monitoring software.
Among their products, the PA Server Monitor software is a robust, agentless server and network monitoring tool.
It is capable of monitoring the performance of Windows, Linux, and other network devices.
PA Server Monitor allows you to keep track of more than 1000+ servers/devices, including certain critical IIS services and Windows Performance Counters.
When the software encounters a failure in a specific service, it can send you a notification via email, or SMS.
You can also configure PA Server Monitor to restart services, or run scripts.
- Automatic failover. Swap failed active server to standby.
- Powerful reporting capabilities.
- Intelligent alerting system.
PA Server Monitor is available through four different licenses, Lite, Pro, Ultra, and Corporate Ultra.
The price starts at $99 for 1-9 licenses of the Pro Edition. The price includes a one year support and maintenance.
*It is a one-time payment.
Download 30-day fully-featured free trial of PA Server Admin here.
6. OpsView Monitor 6
OpsView is a systems monitoring tool for IT infrastructure located on-premises, virtual, or in the cloud.
Opsview Monitor helps you keep track of your infrastructure thanks to its support of over +3500 plugins and service checks.
The software allows integration out-of-the-box with applications like VMWare, vSphere, AWS, Azure, Cisco, Docker, Office 365, Apache, IIS, and much more.
The Microsoft IIS OpsPack helps you monitor different parameters in your IIS server with the help of WMI, such as:
- The status of your IIS web server.
- User and transfer statistics.
- Web server connections.
- Web server errors and requests.
OpsView Monitor 6 comes with three different pricing plans, the Free, SMB, and Enterprise. You can monitor up to 25 hosts with the Free plan. The SMB allows you to monitor up to 50 hosts for $95.00 or 150 hosts for $290.00. The Enterprise plan allows you to monitor over 300 hosts.
Download the Free Opsview Monitor for unlimited time and start monitoring your IIS server.
Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS) is currently serving a bit less than a third of all websites on the entire Internet.
It is no wonder why so many web page builders and developers choose IIS. The web server is secure, reliable, provides high performance, comes with a rich set of features, and runs under Microsoft Windows.
Although IIS is very reliable, running it without any monitoring system, is an invitation to failure.
Like other critical business applications and services, IIS must be constantly monitored.
Some of the IIS monitoring tools and software showed on this article, can help you keep track of essential IIS services and counters.
Some tools, like SolarWinds SAM, can even monitor the health, performance, and configuration on your servers, and also keep track of the websites and application pools.
The good thing is that all of the tools shown here come with a free version, so there is no excuse to start monitoring your IIS server today.