The topic recently came up of the best way to convert a folder to an application on remote shared hosting server. Some hosts may have this built-in to their control panel. I know many (like Cytanium) have options in the control panel to create Virtual Directories, but sometimes an application specifically needs its folder to be marked as a literal “application” within IIS.
Since I’m most familiar with Cytanium’s shared hosting I’ll use their service as a base in this example.
Within the Cytanium control panel first make sure that you have enabled Remote Management. This feature will allow you to directly connect from IIS Manager running on a remote server to the IIS service running on the hosting server.
From your Website Properties page in the control panel, click on the Management tab (red box above), fill in the information for the new account you want to create for managing the site (blue boxes above), then click Enable (green box above). After a moment or two you will have Remote Management enabled for your shared site.
Next you set up the connection from your local IIS Manager service. If you don’t already have this installed, grab a copy here.
Open your IIS Manager and choose the option to Connect to Site. Do *not* choose Connect to Server (it won’t work) unless you have full administrative access to the server, which won’t be the case with shared web site hosting.
Specify the connection information. This should be the name of the server in which to connect (your host can clarify this for you) and the *exact* name of the site within IIS – the host can also clarify this for you if you don’t already know. The name should not have http:// and it may or may not match the domain name of the site, so if you can’t connect, the first thing I’d do it confirm these two settings.
Assuming the IIS Remote Management service is running and enabled for the site, the next dialog box you see will be asking you for your username and password information (which, in this example, we set in the Cytanium control panel above).
You might get a certificate warning (you will at Cytanium). As long as you trust the source (and I sure hope you trust your host if they’re supporting your site for you :>) you can click Connect and move to the next screen.
On this last screen it is going to ask you to name the connection. You can leave it as the name of the site or give it a name that has more meaning to you – it doesn’t matter technically and is only a reference that will be displayed in your IIS Manager.
Viola! Your connected now!
Here is what it will now look like in the IIS Manager GUI. Note also that I’ve drawn a red box around the folder that we’re going to convert to an application.
Right click on the folder and choose Deploy -> Convert to Application.
You’ll now see that the icon next to the folder has changed to denote that it is an active “application” within IIS.
That’s it – your done! That folder is now an application and should work exactly as-if you had made the changes locally on the server.
By the way, you might want to poke around with the other features you can manage from the Remote IIS Manager tool. Depending on what your web host has enabled, this is a nice way to make configuration changes to your IIS hosted site.