Managing and monitoring an IIS server can be a challenge for any sized business. Keeping up with security updates, certificates, and services are all critical parts of running your web services. To make life easier, we’ve compiled nine of the best IIS server tools you can start using today.
Here’s our list of the best IIS server tools:
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (FREE TRIAL) The best tool for IIS server monitoring and configuration. Ideal for MSPs and development teams who are looking to save time and practice proactive management.
- Paessler PRTG IIS Monitoring (FREE TRIAL) Fast installation and sleek customizable dashboard.
- SolarWinds Server Performance & Configuration Bundle (FREE TRIAL) Provides monitoring as well as user satisfaction Apdex scoring
- AppDynamics Ideal if you’re looking to monitor more than IIS.
- ManageEngine Allows for performance management and user satisfaction analysis.
- Dynatrace Can monitor up to 100,000 hosts per cluster.
- IIS Crypto A free tool that makes IIS configuration changes simple and scalable.
- Orca A good fit for small dev teams who make frequency changes.
- OpsView Monitor Uses agentless probing to monitor IIS and web server metrics.
The best IIS server tools:
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) is capable of proactively monitoring IIS server processes and alerting you to potential problems that could cause a web server outage or impact the service of end-users.
SAM provides deep insights into your IIS server’s resource utilization, network traffic, and incoming sessions. Through the monitoring dashboard, you’ll have all of your web servers’ critical traffic and hardware data at your disposal. You’ll see both historical and real-time resource usage so you can plan for hardware upgrades, or better understand high traffic times and trends.
From a security perspective, SAM has a suite of tools to keep your online assets secure. My personal favorite security feature is the SSL certificate monitoring that SAM uses. You can quickly get an overview of all of your SSL certificates and their expirations in one simple report. This is great for MSPs or sysadmins who actively manage large environments or host multiple forward facing services.
Lastly, SAM gives you the ability to view configuration changes across all of your IIS servers and web files. This holistic look at your infrastructure helps you correlate performance changes to events or actions taken on the server-side. This ability alone can save you countless hours of troubleshooting, especially if you have a team of technicians who are making frequent changes to the IIS backend.
If you’re looking to get better control of your IIS server and shift to a more proactive and scalable approach with your IIS management, it’s tough to beat SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor. SAM is compatible with all modern Windows servers and is available as a free trial for a full 30 days.
When someone says Paessler PRTG, you might just think of network monitoring. Paessler PRTG in fact has a built-in monitoring sensor that encompasses all of IIS. PRTG monitors the IIS server by utilizing the Windows Management Instrumentation. In addition to the server itself, PRTG can also monitor applications that use IIS, such as Microsoft Reporting Services or SharePoint.
On the Overview tab, you’ll get a visual representation of your IIS server metrics that are shown through a performance gauge. Here you’ll be able to monitor over eight different performance indicators such as uptime, requests per second, users per second, and the number of files sent or received.
Like any other of PRTG’s sensors, you can configure alerts based on a number of customized or preconfigured settings. While PRTG can monitor a lot of different systems, it does a solid job of monitoring IIS and is definitely worth at least testing out.
You can download PRTG for your IIS server and test all of its premium features free for 30 days.
If you’re looking for a tool that can monitor IIS as well as offer other in-depth application monitoring, then SolarWinds Server Performance & Configuration Bundle (SPCB) might be a good fit for your organization.
SPCB approaches applications monitoring on a holistic level using deployed agents to map out a topological map for your network, applications, and services. This automatic probing not only builds a map of your services but highlights the connecting systems that are dependent upon them. This feature alone will help you plan for outages, failovers, and other contingencies.
In addition to IIS, SPCB can monitor over 1200 other applications making this a powerful tool for MSPs or larger enterprises. Managing these alerts from the dashboard is simple: green or red icons will alert you to problems and a dropdown menu will give you further detail as to what was responsible.
Alerts can be configured based on predefined or custom thresholds when the performance or availability of any of your applications change. On the backend, you can configure automated responses to specific conditions all from within the dashboard. You can reboot services, servers, or execute scripts based on thresholds you define.
You can test-drive SolarWinds Server Performance & Configuration Bundle on your network free for a full 30 days.
Another tool you may be familiar with is AppDynamics. AppDynamics is known for its application performance management and that includes monitoring IIS servers as well. AppDynamics makes IIS management easy, through a simple .NET Machine Agent the IIS server is added to the management inventory and begins reporting back data to the controller. The agent utilizes Microsoft Windows Performance Counters to gather all of the IIS metrics.
By default, the agent monitors IIS for shutdowns and restarts and can report back if the restart was graceful or not. On the application level, AppDynamics can pull all of the IIS related metrics you’d need to monitor. Stats such as requests queued, wait time, and requests rejected are all displayed both in real-time and as a historical view.
The monitoring dashboard shows your network and servers on a topographical level by default. Below the network map you can set three custom graphs to monitor real-time applications or processes. If IIS monitoring is critical for your environment, AppDynamics does a great job at bringing all of your critical alerts to a single dashboard for monitoring.
Accurate pricing for AppDynamics is available through request. You can start a free trial of AppDynamics on its official website.
ManageEngine Applications Manager provides IIS and web server monitoring through a deployed agent on your IIS server. Applications Manager measures web service availability and response time to assure a positive experience for your end-users. Metrics such as files per second, site health, and anonymous/ non-anonymous users per second are all monitored separately and displayed on a simple yet effective dashboard.
If your environment runs multiple services from application pools, monitoring those pools and their health is critical to keep your sites up, and your users connected. Application Manager automatically detects these pools and sets up alert templates to keep you informed of any outages or availability issues.
Lastly, the Application Manager provides unique insights into your IIS servers’ health through user-satisfaction Apdex Scores. Each transaction is taken into account to give you a better overall look at your services’ health, as well as how individual transactions are being processed.
You can download a free fully functional 30-day trial from ManageEngine’s official site.
Dynatrace provides a power IIS monitoring tool that measures performance on both the server and the end-user level. Dynatrace positions itself as being one of the more scalable options, giving you the flexibility to manage over 100,000 hosts per cluster. Automation features like root cause analysis and auto baselining help make Dynatrace stand out. Not only are these features powerful, but they’re easy to implement. Launching the agent and getting started takes about five minutes.
You can expect all the basic monitoring features from Dynatrace such as uptime monitoring and web traffic insights. Data is all pulled from a single probe that monitors and reports on your entire application stack. Auto-discovery intelligently crawls your network and reports back it’s findings.
One of my favorite parts of Dynatrace is its interface, which is critical to get right for app monitors. At the top, you can toggle between analytics, servers, databases and your reports. The main page pulls a real-time chart of your server’s performance over the past few minutes. Bar graphs on the right give you quick insight into top applications, resources utilized, and transaction volume. Of course, all of these can be customized but the default view worked well during testing.
You can get your hands on a free 15-day trial to test Dynatrace for yourself.
IIS Crypto is truly unique among this list of tools as it solely focuses on IIS server environments, and really nothing else. If you’re running a small operation and just need an easy way to administer your IIS server, IIS Crypto might be what you’re looking for.
In just a single click you can implement best IIS server practices through the IIS Crypto interface. This means you’ll be able to immediately benefit from protection against logjam, FREAK, or POODLE attacks, and have weak protocols like MD5 and 3DES turned off right away.
In addition to all the changes you can make, you can also configure templates. Customize the settings how you want, and easily deploy them on all on another IIS server through the templates feature. If you’re getting started from scratch you can utilize any of the ready to deploy templates. This includes PCI 3.2, Strict, and FIPS 140-2 compliant preconfigured settings.
In addition to cipher and security settings you’ll have full access to change advanced registry settings, backup registry, and revert all of your changes back to default settings if needed. CLI lovers will appreciate the command line version that comes with the standard version of IIS Crypto as well.
Finally, IIS Crypto comes with a site scanner that lets you test your sites and web assets to ensure your changes and configurations are functioning as intended. IIS Crypto is completely free and compatible with Windows Server 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2019.
Orca focuses on making configurations to IIS servers simple through automation as well as providing IIS server monitoring and reporting. Through Orca you’ll have full control of your development environment and have the ability to create or modify virtual directories, application pools, IIS features, and websites.
Creating a new IIS website or environment from an existing service is as easy as clicking copy and paste. Orca does a great job of making administrative workflow simple, while still keeping advanced features and configuration intact.
Under the Job Ecosystem tab you can create an entire workflow for the changes you’re looking to make, or the new servers you need to add. Before applying new settings live you’ll be given an overview of those changes, and what environments will be impacted before pushing out those updates.
Orca is ideal if you find yourself needing to repeat similar workflows in your IIS servers. Out of the box, Ocra provides IIS configuration, monitoring, and remediation solutions that are ready to implement in about five minutes.
You can request an interactive demo of Orca on their official website.
OpsView Monitor uses WMI to agentless monitor your IIS server and applications. Like other application monitors, you can use OpsView to monitor other Microsoft services such as DNS, Terminal Services, and Exchange.
Out of the box, OpsView can query a number of service checks such as transfer stats, user insights, requests, and volume of connections to your IIS applications. OpsView uses a simplified and customizable dashboard that allows you to create tabs for specific metrics or application pools.
WMI can be more resource-intensive when it comes to polling data across large networks or servers, so keep this in mind if you do decide to choose an agentless option that uses WMI. You can test out OpsView Monitor for your IIS server for free with Opsviews free cloud trial.
Choosing an IIS Monitoring Tool
When it comes to managing your IIS server, you’ll want to pick a tool you can rely on that fits your network’s specific needs.
If both IIS monitoring and management are critical to your business, SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor will likely be your best option. During testing, SAM had the best balance between monitoring features and IIS management in one tool. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor would be ideal for medium-sized MSPs or growing development teams.
Paessler PRTG comes in at a close second, providing reliable monitoring that can be incorporated into other servers and applications. PRTG has an intuitive dashboard ideal for keeping teams and NOCs up to date with the latest IIS metrics.
How do you manage your IIS server? Do you have any tools or tricks you use to manage your web services? Let us know in the comments below.