IIS vs a Windows Service: some important considerations

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Can’t decide whether to host your WCF service in IIS or a Windows Service? Consider the additional steps you’ll need to perform, explain, troubleshoot, and write documentation for if you follow the IIS route:

  • Ensure IIS is installed.
  • Run aspnet_regiis -i to install .NET ISAPI module.
  • Run ServiceModelReg –i to install handlers for *.svc file types.
  • Creating, starting a new App Pool running as a domain account.
  • Set your Application to use the new App Pool instead of DefaultAppPool.

Plus, EITHER: (II6/Server 2003)

  • Ensure the .NET 2.0 Web Service Extension is enabled.
  • Add the domain account to local IIS_WPG group.
  • (If required) cscript.exe adsutil.vbs set W3SVC/AppPools/Enable32BitAppOnWin64 “true”

OR: (IIS7/Server 2008)

  • Ensure IIS6 Compatibility components are installed so *.vdproj installers can run.
  • Add the domain account to local IIS_IUSRS group.
  • (If required) set Enable 32-Bit Applications = true

If you are working in an environment like ours with developers in London, servers in Germany, and the ops team in India, where getting server access is harder than getting an appointment with the pope, I’d recommend sticking with Windows Services unless you really need IIS.