Configuring IIS To Host an FTP Site (Part 2)

by [Published on 9 April 2009 / Last Updated on 9 April 2009]

Some differences in the two versions of the FTP services that can be run on Windows Server 2008.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Introduction

In my previous article in this series, I showed you how to install the FTP role services, and I began talking about SSL encryption for FTP. Although SSL encryption is certainly not a requirement for using FTP, it is a good idea to at least give your users the option of encrypting their FTP sessions, because you never know when they will need to transfer a sensitive document. Over the next two articles, I will show you how to add SSL security to your FTP server.

The New Version

If you look at your server’s Administrative Tools menu, you will notice that it contains a link for the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager, and another link for the Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 Manager, as shown in Figure A. There is actually a really good reason for this.


Figure A: Windows Server 2008 includes two separate IIS management tools

When Microsoft created Windows Server 2008, one of their goals was to completely revamp the FTP server in an effort to modernize it. However, the new code was not completed in time for the Windows Server 2008 release. Since Microsoft did not want to release Windows Server 2008 with no FTP support, they ended up porting the IIS 6.0 version of the FTP services from Windows Server 2003 into Windows Server 2008.

If you choose the Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 option from the Administrative Tools menu, you will see the console shown in Figure B. This is essentially just a watered down version of the IIS Management Console that was included for the sole purpose of managing the FTP services. If you right click on the Default FTP Site, and choose the Properties command from the resulting shortcut menu, Windows will display the FTP site’s properties sheet. A quick look at the properties sheet’s various tabs will show you that there simply isn’t an option for encrypting FTP sessions.


Figure B: The Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 manager is a leftover from Windows Server 2003

The good news is that you are not stuck using the legacy FTP server. Microsoft went on to complete their new FTP server, and released it as an out of band add-on. This means that it is not technically a part of the operating system, but is an add-on that is designed to work with the operating system.

I once asked someone in Redmond if the new version of the FTP server would be integrated into Windows Server 2008 when the next service pack was released. I was told that the FTP server was going to remain an out of band add-on, because doing so allowed the IIS team to modify it whenever they wanted without having to deal with all of the politics associated with modifying an operating system component.

Since the new FTP server is far superior to the one that ships with the operating system, let us go ahead and uninstall the IIS 6.0 version, and then we will download and install the new version.

Removing the IIS 6.0 FTP Server

Even though we just installed the IIS 6.0 version of the FTP services, let us go ahead and remove it. I only wanted to install it as a way of showing you the difference between what was included in Windows Server 2008, and what you got with the out of band release.

To remove the previous version of the FTP services, open the Server Manager, and select the Roles container from the console tree. Scroll down until the console lists all of the role services that are installed, and click the Remove Role Services link. When you do, Windows will open the Remove Role Services Wizard. Deselect the FTP Publishing Service check box, and click Next, followed by Remove and Close.

Installing the IIS 7 FTP Server

The first thing that you will have to do is to download the Microsoft FTP Services for IIS 7.0. The actual download link that you will use varies depending on whether you are running the 32-bit or the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008. If you are running the 32-bit version, you can download the FTP services here. If you are running the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008, then you will want to download the FTP services here

Save the file that you have downloaded to an empty folder on your server’s hard drive. Next, double click on the file that you have downloaded, and click the Run button when prompted by Windows. Windows will now launch the Microsoft FTP Services for IIS 7.0 installation wizard.

Click Next to bypass the wizard’s Welcome screen. The wizard will now display the End User License Agreement. Accept the license agreement, and click Next. At this point, you will see a screen that is similar to the one shown in Figure C, asking you which of the individual FTP services components you would like to install. For our purposes, make sure that all of the components are set to be installed, and click Next.


Figure C: Make sure that all of the FTP components are going to be installed

You should now see a message telling you that Windows is ready to install the FTP services. Click the Install button to initiate the installation process. When the installation process completes, click Finish.

Accessing the FTP Server

Now that our quick and painless installation process is complete, let us open the IIS 7.0 management console. To do so, select the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager option from the Administrative Tools menu. When the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager console opens, select the container from the console tree that bears the name of your server. As you can see in Figure D, some FTP management tools have been added to the server.


Figure D: The Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager console now supports FTP

Now scroll through the console tree to <your server> | Sites. Right click on the Default Web Site container, and choose the Add FTP Site option from the shortcut menu. You will now be prompted to enter a name for the FTP site, and a physical path that you want to link the site to. Go ahead and do that, as shown in Figure E, and then click Next.


Figure E: Enter the name of the site and the site’s physical path

On the following screen, select the Allow SSL option, and click Next. Click Finish, and IIS will create a bare bones FTP site. We will configure and secure this site in Part 3.

Conclusion

As you can see, the IIS 7.0 version of the FTP services offers a lot more options than the IIS 6.0 version does. In the next article in the series, I will show you how to apply SSL encryption to an FTP server. In the mean time though, I would strongly recommend that you take the time to check for any updates to the FTP services that might have been released since the time that Microsoft first made the services available.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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