Windows Azure Pack Websites – Where are my sites?

Another quick post, this time to look at some of the insides of Windows Azure Pack websites feature, and to answer a question that I get asked occasionally – where is has my website gone?

If you’re a typical IT Pro and have been working with IIS for a few years your natural instinct when you want to troubleshoot anything going wrong on Windows Azure Pack websites will be to dive into IIS Manager.  However, if you open this up on a worker, you’ll be in for a nasty surprise:

AzurePackWebsitesIIS

No running websites at all? What about Application Pools?

AzurePackWebsitesAppPools

Nothing?  So where is my website?

The thing to understand about Windows Azure Pack websites is that the websites run as part of the Windows Process Activation Service (WAS) and are created dynamically on a worker and simply don’t appear in IIS Manager.  So your sites are there, but just not part of IIS.  So how do you find them?

There are two ways that I’ve found.  The first is to look in process monitor on a particular worker, and go to the details view.  Look for a username that corresponds to your website name and you can find out if an instance of your site is running on that worker.

WAPWebsitesRunning

The other way to find the site (and this can be slightly more useful) is to use Windows Explorer, and navigate to <system root>:\inetpub\temp\DWASFiles\sites.  Under here you will find directories corresponding to each website

WAPFiles

The reason this can be more useful is that if you drill into that directory, you’ll see a lot more of the bits and pieces of that website – like config files (under “Config”), and a link to the website content (usually “VirtualDirectory0”) so you can compare what you think your website should be serving against what what the worker is delivering.  You can also see if strange things are happening – I had a website that was never able to display content and we were able to observe large numbers of files being compiled in the “Temporary ASP.NET files” directory.

You’ll also find other interesting stuff in the <system root>:\inetpub\temp\DWASFiles directory, most interesting usually being the “log” directory which allows you to see the logs for the sites running on the worker.

I needed this information when I first started with Azure Pack and needed to do some troubleshooting, so hopefully someone else will find it useful.

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One thought on “Windows Azure Pack Websites – Where are my sites?

  1. […] the identity of the application pool to “ApplicationPoolIdentity”.  As we saw in the “where are my websites?” post, you don’t get to see an Azure Pack website in IIS, but if you look in the […]

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