How to monitor IIS effectively

Applications Manager | September 11, 2020 | 3 min read

IIS monitoring

Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) is a popular web server for hosting web applications and is widely used in many sectors, such as healthcare, banking, e-commerce, logistics, etc. The IIS web server is the backbone of many IT infrastructures. But if the IIS web server encounters problems, it can lead to websites and applications experiencing higher response times, and timeouts resulting in end-users either leaving your website or complaining about the performance.

Since web servers play a crucial role in the IT infrastructure of organizations, it’s critical to monitor both IIS servers, its applications, and other servers to guarantee optimal IIS performance. This will also help in maintaining mission-critical applications like Microsoft Dynamics, SharePoint, and Outlook.

IIS application monitoring 

In an IIS web server, worker processes handle web requests and provide responses. A single server runs several processes simultaneously. Every worker process belongs to an application pool, and the pool resources are not shared by worker processes affiliated with different pools. Even though the IIS server and applications are two separate entities, a few metrics are affiliated with both. Metrics related to worker processes, like application pools and response times, are critical for maintaining the health of both the IIS server and the applications.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor in IIS applications:

  • Website stats
    • Availability
    • Response times
    • Connection stats
    • Byte transfer stats
  • Application pool stats
  • Application performance metrics
    • Database transactions
    • Response times
    • Errors and exceptions

IIS server monitoring

To avoid IIS server downtime, keeping track of server metrics, like application pool stats, resource consumption, and response times, is vital. The importance of IIS server and IIS application monitoring are almost synonymous, as discussed previously.

Server Response Time as shown on ManageEngine Applications Manager - IIS monitoring software

Server Response Time as shown on ManageEngine Applications Manager

Best practices in IIS monitoring:

Confirm that your applications are available.

By using a simple HTTP monitor, you can check whether your applications are running, and also keep an eye on the time it takes to respond. The usual causes behind lagging responses include high memory consumption, inadequate system resources, application pool recycling causing a recompile, issues with the web application, and issues with a third-party service. Any basic application monitor will be able to give you the availability and health status of applications, although only advanced IIS application monitoring tools may help you identify the root cause. Monitoring IIS via an HTTP checker is also a good way to ensure adherence to your service-level agreement (SLA).

Website statistics as shown on ManageEngine Applications Manager - IIS monitor

Website statistics as shown on ManageEngine Applications Manager

Ensure the availability of application pools.

If your IIS application pool crashes due to fatal application errors, bad configurations, or other problems, the application stops working. It’s always a good practice to monitor the resource—CPU and memory—used by the application pools, along with its health status and availability, to keep it within admissible limits and avoid unnecessary shortages. By identifying application pools that consume a great deal of CPU and memory, you can optimize the performance by allotting supplementary resources if the pool is running, and deleting the pools which aren’t running.

Application Pool stats as shown on Applications Manager's dashboard - IIS application pool monitor

Application Pool stats as shown on the Applications Manager’s dashboard

Monitor the performance of the applications running on the .NET server.

Response time is the most important factor in deciding the success of a web application. If the web applications take longer to load, it impacts your business negatively because customers might become dissatisfied. There are numerous variables that decide the loading time of your application.

Application Performance Monitoring (APM) is an advanced monitoring technique that dives deep into the performance by providing code-level visibility into your applications. Performing SQL query profiling helps you identify queries that increase latency. Any software with APM capabilities will help you identify and optimize time-intensive elements and transactions.

Applications Manager's APM dashboard - Monitor IIS applications

Applications Manager’s APM dashboard

ManageEngine Applications Manager’s IIS monitoring tool performs all the operations above to ensure holistic monitoring of your .NET and IIS applications. In addition to APM, you can also experience the user’s journey through your web applications with synthetic transaction monitoring.

Performance counters for IIS and .NET. 

Performance counters help you analyze and are the primary indicators of the performance data that applications, services, and drivers provide. Since the standard OS for IIS is Microsoft Windows, all of the metrics are available via Windows performance counters. Applications Manager’s IIS monitor from ManageEngine can be configured to collect these metrics, and thresholds of permissible range can be associated with them to receive notifications about violations and perform corrective actions automatically.

The performance counters that are vital to IIS monitoring are:

System: CPU and memory
Web Service: Byte transfer and connection stats
.NET applications: Errors and exceptions

A simple HTTP checking service and Windows Management Instrumentation should be enough to check the health and availability of your web applications. But with a perceptive APM tool like Applications Manager, you can achieve more by optimizing performance and preventing unnecessary downtime. It also comes with advanced analytic reports that enable you to perform historic analysis and anticipate future usage trends, which is all the more reason to implement Applications Manager for your APM solution. If you’re new to Applications Manager, learn more and explore on your own with a 30-day free trial that enables you to start monitoring in less than 10 minutes. Or, take a guided tour by scheduling a personalized demo.