IIS (Internet Information Server) is a group of Internet servers including web, HTTP and FTP integrated with MS Windows NT and Windows 2000 Server operating system. IIS offers different ways to record web activities on FTP sites, NNTP services, and SMTP services through log files. Furthermore, it provides the option to choose the log file format.
IIS logging is far more detailed and informative than Windows Event Log Viewer and aids in effective performance monitoring. The type of information present in IIS log file include users who visited the site, attempts made to access the site, the site content that was viewed, the last time site information was viewed. Apart from these, IIS log files also offer information about the virtual folders, virtual files and the attempts made to read and write those files or folders.
IIS Centralized Binary Logging
Through centralized binary logging, IIS creates a single log file containing binary and unformatted log data for all web sites hosted on a server. This logging method provides organizations a way to record information about all their web sites in detail without utilizing many resources. Centralized log files use a specialized parser in order to interpret the log files.
IIS Log File formats
There are six log file formats available in IIS that can be used to track and analyze the IIS based web sites and services. Apart from the six available formats, it is also possible to create custom log file formats using the Custom Logging Modules.
Following are the log file formats available in IIS centralized logging:
A log file directory created at C:\LogFiles for HTTP.sys-generated logging (W3C Extended log file format, NCSA Common log file format, IIS log file format, centralized binary logging, or HTTP.sys error logging), generates the following subdirectories as log file locations:
The IIS log analyzers are tools to access and view the IIS log files in any of the above mentioned file formats so as to analyze the web servers. By using these analyzers, server managers are able to gain statistical data about the sites’ usage. Analysts can generate detailed reports in HTML, CSV and PDF formats with information about site visitor activity, referring pages, visitors’ geographical location and IP addresses, etc. along with details of sites’ properties.