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IIS Express for VSCode

This extension gives you the power to run a folder open in Visual Studio Code as a website using an IIS Express web server.

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This is a free extension I have made for VSCode, if you find it useful to yourself or your business then I would love you to consider sponsoring me on Github please


  • Auto opens folder in browser
  • Super simple way from the command pallete to start & stop the website
  • See ouput from the IIS Express command line directly in Visual Studio
  • Support for PHP via ApplicationHost.config common changes for all sites running with IIS Express


  • Windows Machine (Sorry not for Linux, OSX or Web)

How do I Install IIS Express for VSCode?

Open the command pallete in VSCode & type ext install then search for IIS Express alternatively you can download the IIS Express for VSCode extension on the marketplace

Installing IIS Express for VSCode

Settings for IIS Express

IIS Express for VSCode automatically generates a default config file for you & stores it at .vscode/iisexpress.json You can modify this file on disk inside VSCode to get intellisens/autocompletion for the available properties for you to set

Setting Alias Description Required
Port Number port The port number you wish to use for IIS Express
Folder Path of Site path This property is optional & allows you to set an absolute path to the folder or subfolder as the root of your site/project for IIS Express to run. Additionally this support relative paths to the workspace folder such as ./my-sub-folder
CLR clr This property is optional & allows you to set AppPool CLR version, 2.0 vs 4.0
Protocol protocol This property is optional & allows you to set http or https
Url Suffix url This property is optional & allows you to set the page URL you wish to open eg: '/about/the-team'

Default Settings

By default with the file not generated it will create the following file for you on disk and setting a random port number.

  "port": 18420,
  "path": "./",
  "clr": "v4.0",
  "protocol": "http"

Global Settings for IIS Express for VSCode

Below is a table of settings that can be used to configure IIS Express for VSCode. You can easily get to these settings by using the settings (cog) icon in the IIS Express pane found by default under the file explorer.

Setting Alias Description Default Value
Path to IISExpress.exe iisexpress.iisExpressPath An absolute path to IISExpress.exe such as C:\Program Files\IIS Express\iisexpress.exe null - We try to use default program path location
Path to AppCmd.exe iisexpress.appcmdPath An absolute path to appcmd.exe such as C:\Program Files\IIS Express\appcmd.exe null - We try to use default program path location
Auto launch browser iisexpress.autoLaunchBrowser An option to disable or enable the browser from launching the site when IIS Express starts. By default this is true true
Open in browser iisexpress.autoLaunchBrowser Decide which browser to auto launch the site with when iisexpress.autoLaunchBrowser is set to true default (default, chrome, msedge, firefox, opera)

Available commands

  • Start Website - Start the current folder run as a website
  • Stop Website - Stop the current folder run as a website
  • Restart Website - Restart (Stop & Start) the current folder run as a website
  • Become a supporter - Opens a webpage to my GitHub Sponsor page if you wish to donate & become a sponsor
  • Open Settings - This directly opens VSCode settings for IIS Express

How do I use the extension?

The VSCode command pallete is your friend. Press F1 on the keyboard and start typing IISExpress to see the list of commands to use. Alternatively is version 1.2.0 and newer there is a new panel view that by default lives under the list of files in the file explorer, in newer versions of VSCode you are able to drag and drop this pane around to a new location if you prefer to put it elsewhere.

How do I use HTTPS for my site?

To enable HTTPS for your site use the settings file .vscode/iisexpress.json set the property protocol to https and ensure the port property is in the range between 44300 - 44399

How do I run site on a specific port number?

If you need to run your application on a specific port number, you can edit the port property in the .vscode/iisexpress.json. The next time the application runs it will use the new & updated port number.

How do I change keymappings for IIS Express for VSCode

By default IIS Express for VSCode binds to the following keyboard shortcuts, you may prefer to change these keybindings if you find them conflicting in your workflows. The best way to do this is to read the official documentation from VSCode.

Keyboard Shortcut Command
ctrl+f5 Start Site
shift+f5 Stop Site
ctrl+shift+f5 Restart Site

Customize Icon Colors

With version 1.4.0 and newer it is now possible to change the colors of the icons displayed in the tree view, if you wish to customise them you can do so by using the documentation from VSCode

Alias Default Color
iisexpress.startIcon debugIcon.startForeground
iisexpress.stopIcon debugIcon.stopForeground
iisexpress.restartIcon debugIcon.pauseForeground
iisexpress.supporterIcon terminal.ansiBrightMagenta


This is an extension for Visual Studio Code that the current folder opened in VS Code can be run as a website using IIS Express



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