Royi Namir Royi Namir - 18 days ago 4
ASP.NET (C#) Question

IIS and Static content?

According to Ultra-Fast ASP.NET: Chapter 3 - Caching:


Files that the browser retrieves from the server should be stored in
the browser’s cache as long as possible to help minimize server
round-trips.



  • But how does IIS know what a static content actually is and is not?

    Is it just images, CSS, JS and not ASPX, ashx...?

    Where can I see in IIS what is already considered to be static and what is not ?

  • What about the scenario where a page has been declared with
    <%@ OutputCache
    header (without
    location
    )? Are the
    images
    ,
    CSS
    and
    JS
    source files inside of it also being output cached with the same properties?

  • As a best practice, I should set one year into the future as the maximum expiration time. I should use that as the default for all static content on the site



So I did this :

Set Common HTTP Response Headers

But later, after pressing
OK
, I can't find any summary menu which shows me: to whom I already put a response header (in this case: the
css
folder).

Currently, in order to see that
css
folder has been applied with response headers - I have to go to the
css
folder again
-->
Http Response Header
-->
Set Common Headers
-->
and then I see it. It isn't written in the web.config.

But if I do it for a file (
Login.aspx
for example): I do see it in web.config:

<configuration>
<location path="Login.aspx">
<system.webServer>
<staticContent>
<clientCache cacheControlMode="UseExpires" cacheControlMaxAge="1.00:00:00" httpExpires="Fri, 15 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT" />
</staticContent>
</system.webServer>
</location>
</configuration>

Answer

I understand your situation. Sometime its confusing how IIS handles a file. Its also different for IIS 6 vs IIS 7 and different for Classic App Pools and Integrated mode app pools. My experience is mostly with Integrated App Pools on IIS 7.5, so thats the environment I can comment on most accurately.

First Question

But how does IIS knows what is actually a static content and what is not?

Is it just images , css , js and not ASPX , ashx...?

Where can I see in the IIS what is already considered to be static and what not ?

You can inspect the list of file handlers in IIS by navigating to your website and then click 'Handler Mappings'. By default these are inherited from the .Net base web.config which is in a different location depending on your .Net framework version.

  • C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\CONFIG\web.config
  • C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\Config\web.config

If a file being requested isn't already explicitly mapped to another handler it falls to a catch all handler (*) as the last option (System.Web.DefaultHttpHandler) which determines if it is a static file or a directory browsing request. So Static files are simply files not bound to another handler already. For example you'll see that *.aspx is already mapped to System.Web.UI.PageHandlerFactory prior to this default handler. So its going to be processed by that handler and not be considered a static file. If you removed that mapping you could technically serve *.aspx as a static file if you really wanted to (just for proof of how it works).

But you can also explicitly list a file type as a static file by adding an entry in your web.config's httpHandlers section mapping the file extensions to System.Web.StaticFileHandler in IIS. For example:

<configuration>
  <system.webServer>
    <handlers>
      <add name="StaticHandler" verb="*" path="*.zip" type="System.Web.StaticFileHandler" preCondition="integratedMode" />
    </handlers>
  </system.webServer>
</configuration>

This example is using the <system.webServer> config section, so its for an App Pool running in Integrated Mode.

Second Question

What about the scenario where a page has been declared with <%@ OutputCache header(without location) . does the images,css,js src files inside of it , are also being output cached with the same properties?

No. Because the page is being server as a separate request (maybe even by a separate handler) it can have totally different cache headers/hints. The host page and the resources it may use are not related from a caching perspective.

In fact you may even want to have a shorter cache period for *.html and a longer cache period for *.jpg or *.png? Something to consider.

Third Question

As a best prcatice , I should set one year into the future as the maximum expiration time.I should use that as the default for all static content on the site

Hmm... I might not go as far as one year. How about one month? I would set a global policy like this:

<configuration>
  <system.webServer>
    <staticContent>
      <!-- Set expire headers to 30 days for static content-->
      <clientCache cacheControlMode="UseMaxAge" cacheControlMaxAge="30.00:00:00" />
    </staticContent>
  </system.webServer>
</configuration>

This is the same as the sample you showed above, but is not inside a <location> element, instead it is right in the root <configuration> element so it is the default policy. Again this is for an App Pool running in Integrated Mode. Sometimes you also need to turn on:

<configuration>
    <system.webServer>
        <modules runAllManagedModulesForAllRequests="true">
            <!-- stuff -->
        </modules>
    </system.webServer>
<system.webServer>

This just makes sure that static files are processed through the managed static file handler which respects the above configuration elements.

Edit to Address Comments

The documentation for the configuration dialog you posted above is located here: Configure the HTTP Expires Response Header (IIS 7)

Apparently these settings are saved in C:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\config\applicationHost.config

I do not have IIS7 and personally develop on IIS 7.5 now. So please post a comment if you can verify this location is accurate!