Putting your Business Web Site on Your SBS Server

Posted: May 28, 2011 in Hosting, IIS, SBS 2008, SBS 2011, Web site
Tags: , , , , ,

Many SBS users have web sites that are hosted on subscriber (for fee) hosting environments.  Either they created their site before they got their server, or a third party created the site and used his or her favorite hosting site; perhaps it was from a domain registrar, like GoDaddy or others.

If the web site is primarily for delivering content, as opposed to highly transactional like an online store, you may wish to use your SBS server to host the web site.  Doing so is very easy, but you need to get it right.  Here’s how.

First, you need to get the site files onto your server.  There are different ways to do this depending on where the site is currently being hosted and what you have access to.  Following are several scenarios you might follow.

  • You have a copy of the site files.  In that case, create a folder on the server and copy the files into that folder.  A good place for them is c:\inetpub\wwwroot.  Create a folder in that directory and copy the files into it.
  • You can access the current hosting site via FTP.  Use an FTP client program to copy the files from the current hosting environment, then store them as in the previous step.
  • You can use a program like Microsoft Expression Web or its predecessor SharePoint Designer 2007. The former is a product you can purchase and is an excellent tool to management web content, but you can still download 2007 for free.  Use the site import wizard (under File menu in 2007 and under Site menu in Expression).  Access to the existing site is supported for FTP, Front Page Extensions, File System, WebDAV, and HTTP.  The last is great when you don’t have other access to your web site.

Once you have created the folder with your site files, you now need to create a site in IIS Manager.  Expand the server name and right click on Sites choosing Add a Web Site.  You will see this dialogue box

Change the values shown in this example as follows:

  • Site Name -the name of the site as it will appear in IIS.
  • IIS will create the corresponding Application Pool name and you can leave this as is.
  • Physical Path – browse to the folder where you stored the files.
  • Binding Type – leave as http
  • IP Address – leave as all unassigned unless you want traffic only for a specific adapter
  • Port – leave as 80 unless you have a good reason to use another port; browsers are defaulting to 80
  • Host name – enter the name that will be used to access the site.  More information follows.

Now you may be asking, how can I use port 80 on this new site when it is already being used on the Default Web Site that SBS sets up and uses for Exchange and other things?  The answer is simple: in this new web site, the header values will use what is in the URL from the browser to pick which site to return.

Not that in the above example, http://www.staging.com would be accessed as http://www.staging.com from the browser.  But in order to do that, there is one more thing to be done – make DNS changes.  Before you do, however, test your site thoroughly to make sure it is displaying as you want.  Once you create the site, you can click on the site name in IIS Manager and browse it by clicking on the right hand Actions pane to browse the site.

You need to add records to the public DNS and also to the local zone.  In the public DNS, modify the www record to now point to your server.  If the www record is a host record, change the IP address.  If it is a cname record, have it point to something that points to your server; the REMOTE host record is a safe and easy choice.  In the DNS located on the SBS server, change the www record to point to the server, or add a host record if one doesn’t exist.

That should almost do it, but you might want to make one more change.  Sometimes the URL in the browser will be entered as http://<domain&gt;.com instead of http://www.<domain&gt;.com.  If you want that to be resolved to the web site as well, you will need to add another binding.

In IIS Manager, click on the site name.  In the Actions pane, click on Edit Site Bindings…. At the edit dialogue, you should already see type as http, host name as http://www.<domain>.com, port as 80, and ip address as *.  Click the Add button.  In the add dialogue, enter <domain>.com as the host name and leave everything else as is, then click ok.

Now your web site will resolve browser requests from http://www.<domain>.com or <domain>.com.

Does it go without saying that you should substitute <domain>.com with your own domain name and domain type?

  1. Justin says:

    Thanks for the posting. It’s very helpful! I’m wondering if you can help people like me – who are not familiar with DNS – by creating a similarly detailed instruction on how to change the DNS located on the SBS server. I’ve done some reading, but is still confused as to host record, name record, record name, and where to add these records (under the forward zone? reverse zone? etc.). Many thanks!


  2. You’ll need to add dns records in two places: at the domain registrar level and in your domain records on sbs. At the registrar level, add a host record for www and point it to the ip address of the server or use a cname record to do the same thing. At the sbs level. add a host or cname record with the internal ipp address.


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