Update IIS bindings programmatically via SharePoint timer job

In some rare edge-cases, it may be necessary to programmatically update IIS settings from SharePoint code. In this example I’m updating the host header bindings in IIS as I’m using (and creating) host header site collections programmatically. I could use a wildcard DNS and the default port 80 but in my scenario we need explicit host header bindings.

To accomplish the update to IIS we need to use a timer job for two reasons. The first is to ensure our updates are run with sufficient privileges to perform the required updates – as timer jobs run under the farm account this is typically elevated enough already. Secondly, using the timer job framework allows us to target which servers (one, some or all) the modifications are run on. This is important  because  if we are using a farm with multiple servers, keeping changes to IIS bindings synchronised  across the farm is clearly a good place to aim for – in every other direction lies madness.

How to create a timer job is not in the scope of this post – here’s some great reference material to get you started: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc427068(v=office.12).aspx – this example is for WSS 3 but the process is just the same in 2010.

The important thing to note is how you install your timer job. One of the parameters of your constructor method for the timer job can be an SPJobLockType :


The SPJobLockType enumeration has three members that control where the timer job is executed:

  • NoneProvides no locks. The timer job runs on every machine in the farm on which the parent service is provisioned, unless the job I associated with a specified server in which case it runs on only that server (and only if the parent service is provisioned on the server).
  • ContentDatabaseLocks the content database. A timer job runs one time for each content database associated with the Web application.
  • JobLocks the timer job so that it runs only on one machine in the farm.
    The None option is potentially the most useful option to us for updating IIS settings as this will cause the timer job to run on every server in the farm that is running the ‘Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application’ service – these are effectively our web front end servers. This approach also relies on the third parameter passed to the constructor being null otherwise the SPServer object that is passed via this parameter is used as the server to host the timer job.

Once we’ve installed our timer job in the appropriate way, the payload is simple. We need to override the Execute method of our timer job with whatever logic we need. Here’s an extract of my code for updating IIS bindings which should now be executed of each SharePoint WFE:


I hope this helps….

Update: 23 December 2012 – A good friend of mine, Gael Fabry, pointed me in the direction of this article that describes the schema of the IIS 7 applicationHost.config file: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa347559(v=VS.90).aspx